Thursday, December 24, 2009

Amazing Picture

Picture taken during the opening ceremony of the Bejing olympics - if you scroll down - it appears as though the same drummer is caught in various positions.

- not my picture.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

MSI X340 - Finally- competition to #Netbooks!

With the costs of the netbooks falling and people "assuming" that they are getting notebook for such cheap rates, the market has flooded with netbooks. Sony, Dell, IBM/Lenovo, HP, Asus and the entire pack being lead by Acer- nice touch by acer there to create such a market.

Was finally reading a review on the MSI X340 Slim- Not a Netbook but between a netbook and Notebook. Using the next generation Intel Low Power consumption processor, provides some more advantages of mobile computing on a netbook type platform.

Read more:

Netbooks have grabbed a big chunk of laptop sales over the past couple years because they are small and inexpensive. Unfortunately, they also have squished keyboards and screens that make them difficult to use.

On the other end of the spectrum are the sleek premium laptops such as the MacBook Air and the Dell Adamo. Like netbooks, these machines are extremely light and portable, but they are much thinner, have attractive designs and have full sized keyboards and big, bright 13″ screens. The problem is that they cost $1500-$2500 and that would break the budget of the average laptop buyer.

However, there’s an alternative that is as thin as the MacBook Air, has nearly all of the features of the Dell Adamo, and has a price tag that is closer to a netbook. It’s the MSI X340 Slim and here is TechRepublic look at it from an IT and business perspective.


  • Cost: $699
  • Model number: MSI X340-021US Slim (Black)
  • Operating system: Windows Vista Home Premium or Windows Vista Business
  • Processor: 1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Solo SU3500
  • RAM: 2GB of 800MHz DDR2 (1 SO-DIMM slot, 4GB maximum)
  • Hard drive: 320GB SATA (5400rpm)
  • Display: 13.4″ WXGA glossy LCD (1366×768 pixels) with LED backlight
  • Graphics: Intel GMA 4500MHD (integrated)
  • Video ports: VGA, HDMI
  • Other ports: 2 USB, Mic, Headphones, RJ45
  • Networking: Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000); 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi; Bluetooth V2.0EDR
  • Webcam: 1.3 megapixels
  • Card reader: SD/SDHC/MMC
  • Dimensions: 13″(w)x8.8″(d)x0.78″(h)
  • Weight: 3.0 lbs (1.4 kg)
  • Battery: 4-cell Lithium-polymer (8-cell optional)

Who is it for?

This will appeal to users who want a slim, highly-portable Windows laptop for under $1000, and don’t like the small keyboards and irregular screens that you find on most netbooks.

What problems does it solve?

Ultra-slim laptops like the MacBook Air and the Dell Adamo are light, powerful, and attractive. However, you have to pay $1500-$2500 to get that combination of features. The MSI X340 delivers around 80% of the features and coolness for about $700.

Standout features

  • Thin and light - The dimensions of the MSI X340 Slim are almost identical to the MacBook Air (12.8″(w)x8.9″(d)x0.76″(h) and 3.0 lbs), which awed the technology industry with its thinness and portability when it launched in January 2008. This notebook is a very light load in your briefcase or shoulder bag.
  • Excellent LCD screen - The display on the MSI X340 is one of the most impressive features. It is clear, sharp, and bright, thanks to the LED backlighting. At 1366×768, it is much larger and much more standard than most of the netbook screens. It’s not as good as the amazing screen on the MacBook Air but it’s close.
  • Comfortable keyboard - With large keys, well-marked function keys, and a decent tactile feel, the keyboard on the X340 is comfortable to use — far better than any netbook. It doesn’t have quite as nice of a feel as the Dell Adamo keyboard but I liked it better than the chiclet keyboard on the MacBook Air.
  • Good battery life - Since the X340 has a low voltage Intel CPU and a power-saving LED backlight, it is a power-efficient system when running under a power-saving mode in Windows. I was able to get 3-4 hours of battery life, which is pretty impressive for a 4 cell battery. That said, since this is pitched as a power-sipping machine, I was actually hoping to get at least 5 hours for those long cross-country flights in the U.S.

What’s wrong?

  • Durability - While the Dell Adamo and the MacBook Air both have solid metal bodies, the MSI X340 is made out of plastic. That definitely gives it a little cheaper look. The silver-painted plastic trim around the expansion ports looks especially cheap. Because it’s made out of plastic, I also don’t expect that this would be a very durable machine, so it if you or the user you’re deploying this machine for are hard on laptops or need a little bit more of a rugged system then the MSI X340 is probably not a good choice.
  • Built-in mouse controls - I typically don’t like any of the trackpads you find on laptops, but as far as trackpads go. the one on the MSI X340 is not that great. It’s not very large, doesn’t have any special coating, and it only has one mouse button - you click on the left side for left click and the right side for right click. It’s not nearly as good as the large trackpad on the MacBook Air that also includes a great set of gestures to improve navigation. The one saving grace for the MSI X340 is that it also comes with a great little retractable USB mouse.
  • Lack of disc player - Like the Adamo and the Air, there’s no disc drive built into the MSI X340. That can make it difficult to install software, play DVDs, or digitize any audio CDs. MSI offers an external DVD drive that you can purchase separately.

Competitive products

Bottom line for business

If you really like the lightweight portability of the MacBook Air and the Dell Adamo but don’t want to pay a huge premium for it, or you like the small form factor of netbooks but don’t like the minimal keyboards and screens, then the MSI X340 Slim might be the product you’re looking for.

However, the X340 is made out of plastic, unlike the metal bodies you find on the Air and the Adamo, and that means it’s not going to be very durable. I wouldn’t recommend it for business users that need an industrial strength laptop and I wouldn’t plan for an X340 to last much more than two years.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A wake up call - health is wealth!

a few days ago, i had this shooting pain in my chest. a part of me felt dread and i was worried sick about what if? a part of me was worried sick about the cost implications of the treatment. i think that is the biggest concern about anything to do with the heart. nonetheless... it is a point that has been reached- as they say a wake up call.

the doctor called me and gave me this news. i know its not like a death sentence - with due respect to those who have more serious diseases, still, knowing that i now have a heart condition is worrying enough.

plan of action going forward, i need to consult with a cardio specialist, and get my act in shape. need to cut down on stress levels and similarly on my levels of tension.

what really sucks is that you think back and wonder- how did i let it get to this stage? can i be so unfit? but most importantly - I ask - why me? :(

Friday, December 04, 2009 stooping really low to get people to register?

so when you see the above advert what do you think?
this was seen on facebook. I clicked on it - because it looked like a picture from someone's album, and it looked quite appalling.

What i discovered later - was even more shocking!

follow the trail -

First hop







So is now advertising - "Get Sexy Screen Saver Free"

Shame on you!

Monday, November 16, 2009

And so it comes to a full circle- #TimeWarner to spin off #AOL

in 2000, when AOL announced that it is buying TimeWarner- personally - i couldnt figure out what was the reason. At 164B AOL might have wanted to bolster its content - from being a pure play ISP to compete with Microsoft's MSN Online. However, AOL was providing a platform - which i could have used to get feeds from multiple wire services thus allowing for aggregation of news rather than a very expnsive news feed.

In December 9th 2009 - TimeWarner will spin off AOL. I believe this comes to a full circle. With the AOL issuing 11 shares for every TimeWarner share to now becoming a separate entity. Personally, i belive this is one of the best things to happen to AOL after the 2003 fiasco of declaring $99B in losses.

With the New AOL - we should see a stronger news feed, and tighter integration with shopping sites and entertainment sites - thus they should push for getting people to spend more time on than any other site.

#Windows7 - #ZeroDay Bug

In a security advisory , Microsoft acknowledged that a bug in SMB (Server Message Block), a Microsoft-made network file- and print-sharing protocol, could be used by attackers to cripple Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 machines.

The zero-day vulnerability was first reported by Canadian researcher Laurent Gaffie last Wednesday, when he revealed the bug and posted proof-of-concept attack code to the Full Disclosure security mailing list and his blog. According to Gaffie, exploiting the flaw crashes Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 systems so thoroughly that the only recourse is to manually power off the computers.

At the time, Microsoft only said it was investigating Gaffie's reports.

Then on Friday, it took the next step and issued the advisory. "Microsoft is aware of public, detailed exploit code that would cause a system to stop functioning or become unreliable," Dave Forstrom, a spokesman for Microsoft security group, said in an e-mail. "The company is not aware of attacks to exploit the reported vulnerability at this time."

Forstrom echoed Gaffie's comments earlier in the week that while an exploit could incapacitate a PC, the vulnerability could not be used by hackers to install malicious code on a Windows 7 system.

Both SMBv1 and its successor, SMBv2, contain the bug. "Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000 are not affected," assured Forstrom.

Attacks could be aimed at any browser, not just Internet Explorer (IE), Microsoft warned. After tricking users into visiting a malicious site or a previously-compromised domain, hackers could feed them specially-crafted URIs (uniform resource identifier), and then crash their PCs with malformed SMB packets.

Microsoft said it may patch the problem, but didn't spell out a timetable or commit to an out-of-cycle update before the next regularly-scheduled Patch Tuesday of Dec. 8. Instead, the company suggested users block TCP ports 139 and 445 at the firewall. Doing so, however, would disable browsers as well as a host of critical services, including network file-sharing and IT group policies.

Gaffie's vulnerability was the first zero-day reported and confirmed by Microsoft in Windows 7 since the new operating system went on sale Oct. 22.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Health in corporate india- Please Read!

I got this as an email forward- thought it to be quite useful. However- i would prefer if this is validated first.

What killed Ranjan Das and Lessons for Corporate India

A month ago, many of us heard about the sad demise of Ranjan Das from Bandra, Mumbai. Ranjan, just 42 years of age, was the CEO of SAP-Indian Subcontinent, the youngest CEO of an MNC in India . He was very active in sports, was a fitness freak and a marathon runner. It was common to see him run on Bandra's Carter Road . Just after Diwali, on 21st Oct, he returned home from his gym after a workout, collapsed with a massive heart attack and died. He is survived by his wife and two very young kids.

It was certainly a wake-up call for corporate India . However, it was even more disastrous for runners amongst us. Since Ranjan was an avid marathoner (in Feb 09, he ran Chennai Marathon at the same time some of us were running Pondicherry Marathon 180 km away), the question came as to why an exceptionally active, athletic person succumb to heart attack at 42 years of age.

Was it the stress?
A couple of you called me asking about the reasons. While Ranjan had mentioned that he faced a lot of stress, that is a common element in most of our lives. We used to think that by being fit, one can conquer the bad effects of stress. So I doubted if the cause was stress.

The Real Reason
However, everyone missed out a small line in the reports that Ranjan used to make do with 4-5 hours of sleep. This is an earlier interview of Ranjan on NDTV in the program 'Boss' Day Out'

Here he himself admits that he would love to get more sleep (and that he was not proud of his ability to manage without sleep, contrary to what others extolled).

The Evidence
Last week, I was working with a well-known cardiologist on the subject of ‘Heart Disease caused by Lack of Sleep’. While I cannot share the video nor the slides because of confidentiality reasons, I have distilled the key points below in the hope it will save some of our lives.

Some Excerpts:
· Short sleep duration (<5> compared to those who slept longer than 6 hours per night. Paper published in 2009.
As you know, high BP kills.
· Young people (25-49 years of age) are twice as likely to get high BP if they sleep less. Paper published in 2006.· Individuals who slept less than 5 hours a night had a 3-fold increased risk of heart attacks. Paper published in 1999.
· Complete and partial lack of sleep increased the blood concentrations of High sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (hs-cRP), the strongest predictor of heart attacks. Even after getting adequate sleep later, the levels stayed high!!
· Just one night of sleep loss increases very toxic substances in body such as Interleukin-6 (IL-6), Tumour Necrosis Factor-Alpha (TNF-alpha) and C-reactive protein (cRP). They increase risks of many medical conditions, including cancer, arthritis and heart disease. Paper published in 2004.· Sleeping for <=5 hours per night leads to 39% increase in heart disease. Sleeping for <=6 hours per night leads to 18% increase in heart disease. Paper published in 2006.

Ideal Sleep
For lack of space, I cannot explain here the ideal sleep architecture. But in brief, sleep is composed of two stages: REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and non-REM. The former helps in mental consolidation while the latter helps in physical repair and rebuilding. During the night, you alternate between REM and non-REM stages 4-5 times.
The earlier part of sleep is mostly non-REM. During that period, your pituitary gland releases growth hormones that repair your body. The latter part of sleep is more and more REM type.

For you to be mentally alert during the day, the latter part of sleep is more important. No wonder when you wake up with an alarm clock
after 5-6 hours of sleep, you are mentally irritable throughout the day (lack of REM sleep). And if you have slept for less than 5 hours, your body is in a complete physical mess (lack of non-REM sleep), you are tired throughout the day, moving like a zombie and your immunity is way down (I’ve been there, done that
Finally, as long-distance runners, you need an hour of extra sleep to repair the running related damage.
If you want to know if you are getting
adequate sleep, take Epworth Sleepiness Test below.

Interpretation: Score of 0-9 is considered normal while 10 and above abnormal. Many a times, I have clocked 21 out the maximum possible 24, the only saving grace being the last situation, since I don’t like to drive (maybe, I should ask my driver to answer that line
In conclusion:

Barring stress control, Ranjan Das did everything right: eating proper food, exercising (marathoning!), maintaining proper weight. But he missed getting proper and adequate sleep, minimum 7 hours. In my opinion, that killed him.
If you are not getting enough sleep (7 hours), you are playing with fire, even if you have low stress.
I always took pride in my ability to work 50 hours at a stretch whenever the situation warranted. But I was so spooked after seeing the scientific evidence last week that since Saturday night, I ensure I do not even set the alarm clock under 7 hours. Now, that is a nice excuse to get some more sleep. :)

Unfortunately, Ranjan Das is not alone when it comes to missing sleep. Many of us are doing exactly the same, perhaps out of ignorance.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

100 things restaurant staffers should never do #1

From an NYTimes article

Herewith is a modest list of dos and don’ts for servers at the seafood restaurant I am building. Veteran waiters, moonlighting actresses, libertarians and baristas will no doubt protest some or most of what follows. They will claim it homogenizes them or stifles their true nature. And yet, if 100 different actors play Hamlet, hitting all the same marks, reciting all the same lines, cannot each one bring something unique to that role?

1. Do not let anyone enter the restaurant without a warm greeting.

2. Do not make a singleton feel bad. Do not say, “Are you waiting for someone?” Ask for a reservation. Ask if he or she would like to sit at the bar.

3. Never refuse to seat three guests because a fourth has not yet arrived.

4. If a table is not ready within a reasonable length of time, offer a free drink and/or amuse-bouche. The guests may be tired and hungry and thirsty, and they did everything right.

5. Tables should be level without anyone asking. Fix it before guests are seated.

6. Do not lead the witness with, “Bottled water or just tap?” Both are fine. Remain neutral.

7. Do not announce your name. No jokes, no flirting, no cuteness.

8. Do not interrupt a conversation. For any reason. Especially not to recite specials. Wait for the right moment.

9. Do not recite the specials too fast or robotically or dramatically. It is not a soliloquy. This is not an audition.

10. Do not inject your personal favorites when explaining the specials.

11. Do not hustle the lobsters. That is, do not say, “We only have two lobsters left.” Even if there are only two lobsters left.

12. Do not touch the rim of a water glass. Or any other glass.

13. Handle wine glasses by their stems and silverware by the handles.

14. When you ask, “How’s everything?” or “How was the meal?” listen to the answer and fix whatever is not right.

15. Never say “I don’t know” to any question without following with, “I’ll find out.”

16. If someone requests more sauce or gravy or cheese, bring a side dish of same. No pouring. Let them help themselves.

17. Do not take an empty plate from one guest while others are still eating the same course. Wait, wait, wait.

18. Know before approaching a table who has ordered what. Do not ask, “Who’s having the shrimp?”

19. Offer guests butter and/or olive oil with their bread.

20. Never refuse to substitute one vegetable for another.

21. Never serve anything that looks creepy or runny or wrong.

22. If someone is unsure about a wine choice, help him. That might mean sending someone else to the table or offering a taste or two.

23. If someone likes a wine, steam the label off the bottle and give it to the guest with the bill. It has the year, the vintner, the importer, etc.

24. Never use the same glass for a second drink.

25. Make sure the glasses are clean. Inspect them before placing them on the table.

26. Never assume people want their white wine in an ice bucket. Inquire.

27. For red wine, ask if the guests want to pour their own or prefer the waiter to pour.

28. Do not put your hands all over the spout of a wine bottle while removing the cork.

29. Do not pop a champagne cork. Remove it quietly, gracefully. The less noise the better.

30. Never let the wine bottle touch the glass into which you are pouring. No one wants to drink the dust or dirt from the bottle.

31. Never remove a plate full of food without asking what went wrong. Obviously, something went wrong.

32. Never touch a customer. No excuses. Do not do it. Do not brush them, move them, wipe them or dust them.

33. Do not bang into chairs or tables when passing by.

34. Do not have a personal conversation with another server within earshot of customers.

35. Do not eat or drink in plain view of guests.

36. Never reek from perfume or cigarettes. People want to smell the food and beverage.

37. Do not drink alcohol on the job, even if invited by the guests. “Not when I’m on duty” will suffice.

38.Do not call a guy a “dude.”

39. Do not call a woman “lady.”

40. Never say, “Good choice,” implying that other choices are bad.

41. Saying, “No problem” is a problem. It has a tone of insincerity or sarcasm. “My pleasure” or “You’re welcome” will do.

42. Do not compliment a guest’s attire or hairdo or makeup. You are insulting someone else.

43. Never mention what your favorite dessert is. It’s irrelevant.

44. Do not discuss your own eating habits, be you vegan or lactose intolerant or diabetic.

45. Do not curse, no matter how young or hip the guests.

46. Never acknowledge any one guest over and above any other. All guests are equal.

47. Do not gossip about co-workers or guests within earshot of guests.

48. Do not ask what someone is eating or drinking when they ask for more; remember or consult the order.

49. Never mention the tip, unless asked.

50. Do not turn on the charm when it’s tip time. Be consistent throughout.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

#Security #Alert #Apple New iPhone malware spotted

Hot on the heels of the ikee worm, a second piece of iPhone-related malware has appeared, which enables hackers to connect to any device that has been jailbroken and still has an unchanged root password.

Jailbreaking is a term used to define iPhones that have been hacked by users to enable software other than that available through the App Store to be installed.

The new malware takes advantage of the same vulnerability in the iPhone as the ikee worm and has been dubbed iPhone/Privacy.A by Mac security software house, Intego, which first discovered its existence.

The company explained on its blog that hackers use the tool by installing it on either their own or compromised third-party Macs, PCs, Unix and Linux-based machines - or even on iPhones themselves. The program scans networks that are accessible to it and, when it finds a jailbroken iPhone, breaks into it, steals data including email, contacts and music files, and copies them.

Unlike the ikee worm, which indicates its presence by changing the iPhone’s wallpaper, there is no obvious sign that Privacy.A has been installed. Standard, non-jailbroken, iPhones are not at risk but estimates suggest that between six and eight per cent of all such devices are jailbroken.

Intego indicated that it was not possible to protect iPhones from exploitation by the tool at this time and therefore advised users to stick to stock configurations or risk exposing themselves to known vulnerabilities being exploited by code circulating in the wild. The supplier has developed VirusBarrier X5 to detect and eradicate the hacker tool on potential host Macs, however.

The release of Privacy.A comes the day after a poll by security software vendor Sophos indicated that a huge three-quarters of respondents believed that the Australian student who wrote the ikee worm was justified because he helped raised awareness of security issues.

But Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at the vendor, was proved right in saying at the time that the move had let the genie out of the bottle, increasing the likelihood of others writing “a far more dangerous version of the worm, which could have a much more dangerous payload”.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Parachute XVI - A must Listen!

This is a friend's band - i heard this piece and just fell in love with it. I think you should also listen to it... Simply AWESOME!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Trojan attack targets #Facebook users

Security experts have warned Facebook users to be on the alert after the discovery of a new password malware scam linked to the Bredolab Trojan.

Email security firm Websense claimed yesterday to have seen 90,000 instances of the attack, calling it a "new wave of malicious spoof email attacks".

The messages purport to come from Facebook and are designed to appear as a simple password reset confirmation. However, a .exe file in the mail contains a hidden virus with a nasty payload.

Websense said in a security alert that the .exe file connects to two servers in order to download additional malicious files. The victim's PC then joins the Bredolab botnet, giving hackers full control.

"This spam email attack is designed to play on the subject at the forefront of users' minds: their password security," said Carl Leonard, Websense security labs manager.

"Falling for this scam could lead to the unsuspecting user becoming part of a botnet. With therecent hack of web email accounts, users would feel more compelled to open an attachment that purports to hold their new password, as they'd be worried who changed it in the first place.

"Our advice for users is to always go directly to the web address you have an account with and reset passwords there."

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, confirmed that the malicious emails have been spammed out widely across the internet.

"The 'from' address has been forged, and the attached file is in fact a piece of malware. Sophos detects the malware as Troj/BredoZp-M or Mal/Bredo-A," he wrote in a blog post.

"Don't make life easy for the hackers hell-bent on infecting your computer, stealing your identity and emptying your bank account. Exercise caution when you receive unsolicited emails, and protect your computer with up-to-date security software."

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Doctors and the Consumer protection act - #India

There was an interesting debate going on on the Radio this mornig - as to should the doctors be brought under the consumer protection act. Personally - my views are mixed. A part of me says yes - yet a part of me says no.

No - When someone looses a person or goes through a loss of some kind or is affected by any way- the first question they ask is "Why me?" a feeling of victimization comes in, and then they want to realize their loss by taking "Revenge" how - by filing a case. If doctors try everything to save, no matter what - would that be seen- or would it be that the outcome is noted?

Its easy to sit back and say - yes, i tried, but i am sorry, and the patient thinks- i have to live with this, and not you. how can this be? I personally believe this will lead to unrelated cases against doctors and putting a lot of pressure on the legal system which is already burgeoning.

In certain cases, due to legal reasons - doctors don't treat accident victims, simply due to the fact if they die - the doctors will be responsible and a whole host of police complications. From a legal reform perspective, doctors who do not treat patients should be taken to task - esp accident cases, in which the first hour is the most critical hour.

With a hospital bed density of 3.9 beds per 1000 - the reach of healthcare in India is abysmal, and thus the need to have victims rush to the nearest hospital is of greater importance than to insist - accident case -go to the Government hospital.

In these cases the doctors should come under the purview of the consumer protection act - which simplifies the process of seeking justice due to reduced paperwork and other legally related issues.

In the recent past, a close family friend lost a relative. The patient was in a coma for nearly 3 weeks in the ICU. With the kidneys shutting down and the liver stopping as well. Now, the doctors and in this case I would blame the hospital - pushed the parents to the point where they are now in debt by about 15L. As a parent, any possible hope that the child would survive, will be a ray of hope- simply because NO parent wants to bury their child. However, to a layman, this case of the hospital scans, xrays and infusing blood into a coma patient who's organs have all but shutdown is a process of opportunistic. The said hospital also told the parents to get two medicines that cost over 2L each "which would help clear the body of toxins" created by the defunct liver.
After three weeks in a coma - the hospital took the patient in for an "operation" to clean up the body.

Would these procedures help or were they excessive in order to extract more from the desperate parents is a question I am not qualified to answer, but should doctors come under the purview of the consumer protection act (which incidentally they are) - is a yes.

The next logical question - should a hospital be a corporate entity?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Simply #Gross!

Pictures taken at a friends House! What did the manufacturers think before they made this? Incase you are wondering - its a scorpion with its tail inside a cobras mouth. I hope as hell that they are breeding these snakes and not killing them from the wild.

Only in thailand!

achievements and yearning!

This morning, like with all mornings this week, I have been dropping my mother at her office. So it is around 9am whn we finally leave the house and i am able to drop her off in about thirty minutes, and get back to my office in about another twenty minutes.
this morning, like other mornings was the same. I reached home, and decided that instead of waiting downstairs, I would go up and say hello. I also wanted to use this excuse to go up and collect my hands free - a small device on my mobile that I hve een missing sorely- so badly that i did not go cycling since I would not have music to listen to from the phone.

After dropping my mother off at her office, I started back. The drive back was un-eventful untill gemini flyover. What was so different today?

I come past gemini, and am on nungumbakkam highroad - or according to the official releases - uttamar gandhi salai. the reasoning behind this - can be asked to any body after handing them a patiala whiskey- which would make any true blooded man, woman and for pretty much any human - sozzled out of their sane minds.

So as i was driving past the Park hotel i see what appear to be busboys, hiding behind a pillar, but if they were attempting to hide it was a rather tactless move as the city in its entirity could see them, much like the ostrich. The guys had on such loose suits as one of them was demonstrating to the other- he pulled up the sleve of the suite, and adjusted the cuff of the shirt. Now that usually is how its done, in theory, but in practice- he yanked up the damn things almost till his elbow. Therefore, in a single, swift motion, he was able to demonstrate to the entire group of people who were stuck in traffic on the main road - that they dont know how to wear, correct fitting suits.

I personally was laughing at him, but what caught my attention was not the two of them, or the other security guards hanging around the hotel, nor the total lack of traffic on my side of the road and something that is more packed than a can of sardines with traffic on the other, but a lone man on a cycle.

I would have guessed his was either a carpenter or a plumber as he was carrying a hacksaw on his bike. He was looking at those two people with a mixture of awe, jealousy and ambition. That one fleeting second - I was thinking - how many times have i gone through that blend of emotions.

the realization came - life is made up of moments, and stringing these events together gives us the experience and a set of experiences is called life.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The beginning ?

Wanted to check something on twitter - so went to the site, and lo behold!

the significance of the image- i have no idea- but its a start.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

the iPod Journey

when the ipod was introduced in 2001, it was disruptive. to the simple fact, it took the personal music world by storm. But then to ensure that there is repeat business, Apple launched the iTunes Store. now that just rocked. With it starting operations in 2003, iTunes store has sold over 6 Billion songs by Jan 2009- thus making it the largest music store in the US.

What caught my attention was this advert on the Apple website- which showed that the iPod can now record videos. This is a brilliant product extension. First as a music player. That means that the entertainment desire is satiated. Next it moved with photos and movies full filling the higher need of visually capturing the owner. Next came the camera- that extended the need to capture moments and save them. Wifi to become the mobile computer- Now finally - the motion capture- in effect, the iPod has replaced the Camera, Walkman, Storage device and any other device that a family might need while going out - the only logical extension they can do to the iPod is inbuilt a GPS system - thus making it complete entertainment center.

Pretty exciting times- next they need to increase the battery life - or embed solar cells onto the back of the iPod that will allow it to charge while in the sun.

This is exciting- the possibilities are endless.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

#Intel heating up the notebook space - Nehlem goes mobile!

Looks like the next big thing after the centrino -

Chip giant Intel has taken the wraps off its latest mobile processor based on its Nehalem architecture.

During his keynote speech at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in San Francisco, Dadi Perlmutter, executive vice president and general manager of the Intel Architecture Group, announced details of the Core i7 Mobile processors.

The new quad-core CPUs are designed for high-performance mobile PCs and, like their desktop counterparts, feature Intel's Hyper-Threading and Turbo Boost technology, which allows the processor clock speed to be ramped up past stock frequency depending on workload.

"With intelligent features like Intel Turbo Boost Technology, Hyper-Threading Technology and a host of others, Intel has revolutionised the laptop PC processor, delivering performance when you need it, energy efficiency when you don’t," said Perlmutter.

"For the first time, mobile users can choose a laptop that delivers internet-server like speed, right in their laps for the most demanding tasks, from intense gaming to digital video editing and social media applications."

There will be three mobile Core i7 processors, the 920XM, 820QM and 720QM, which run at 2GHz, 1.73GHz and 1.6 GHz – with the possibility to boost to 3.2GHz, 3.06GHz and 2.8GHz respectively.

Formerly codenamed Clarksfield, the new units also include two-channel DDR3 1333MHz memory support and full 1 x16 or 2 x8 PCI Express 2.0 graphics.

The Core i7 mobile processors will be available in two flavours, a regular and an Extreme edition, with the latter supporting Extreme Memory Profiles and the Extreme Tuning Utility, allowing users to overclock and fine-tune the laptop.

According to Intel, big names such as Asus, Dell, HP and Toshiba will begin shipping laptops using the Core i7 mobile processors today, with others due to start using them in the coming months.

As you might expect, the new chips are not exactly cheap. When bought in trays of 1,000 units the 920XM will cost $1,054 (£642.31) each, while the 820QM and 720QM are priced at $546 (£332.73) and $364 (£221.82) each when bought in trays of 1,000.

Paper records are still better managed than Data

For many companies, management of electronic data is still worse than that of paper records, according to a recent study.

Information management industry group AIIM cited a recent survey of some 700 companies that indicated that many firms are still not taking management of digital records seriously.

The survey found that 26 per cent of companies have no official management policies for electronic records, while only 56 apply legal hold to electronic documents. Paper documents, by comparison, were retained for legal hold in 71 per cent of companies.

The advocacy group blames the disparity in part to muddled attitudes towards management of electronic data. The company suggested that for many enterprises, data retention and archiving is considered an IT issue rather than a records management issue.

"We found that over a third of organisations, if challenged, would not be confident that their electronic records had not been changed, deleted or inappropriately accessed," said AIIM president John Mancini

"These companies would be at a major disadvantage in any legal action, defending or prosecuting."

Management and retention of digital information has become a hot topic for enterprise IT in the past 10 years. Regulatory acts such as Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPA in the US have forced many companies to apply tighter standards to the way they manage information.

Monday, September 21, 2009

#Thoughts about life

We are all searching for something. What particular thing varies from person to person. It is to satiate a need, a want or a desire. The search is what gives us meaning, meaning to our existence, meaning to our waking up each morning, and saying “today is going to be a good day” or “today is going to be a horrible day”. This search leads us to the far corners of the world, up the highest mountains, down the deepest oceans, and to the extreme of climates.
What is your search comprising of? As you evolve over time, a lot of things are either clearer to you, or make less sense as it already made little sense earlier and it is what makes one sit up and thing about what you are doing and what you are going through.

When you go through life, you tend to think that you have experienced life, be it multi cultural exposure or be it multinational exposure. What we are is forged by what we want to be. What we want to be is forged by our ideals. The search what we undertake is a search that never ends. So does that mean we can never define who we really are?

When you believe that you have found something, nature’s course is that you realize that something else is missing or is incomplete, so you start a search for that iteam or feeling. First it is love, then money, then power, then happiness then health. Imagine it to be like a large shopping cart, and the more we pile up, the more difficult it will be to navigate the aisle of life. When we need to turn through and complete everything before we become old, we end up rushing through a lot of memories, experiences and situations that allow us to look back in life and sya “what if?”

The “what if” scenario is something that haunts us all, and thus it raises another quest – a search for the “what if” equivalent to the past experience.
In our quest to discover, we tend to be overwhelmed with feelings and desires, however, these are all obstacles in our quest. These are placed in our paths for a reason. For experience. As they say, god does not give us what we want, however, god gives us the opportunity to bring out that quality. Similarly, as we go about living life, we tend to gain experience. This experience is what is put together to make us better individuals in life. We need to constantly learn from these expriences to allow us to make better judgements, and take better decisions in life.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

the #JetAirways Drama - #brandImpact?

With the recent pilots strike that was called- and the further 256 odd pilots going on strike for the re-enstatement of the 2 sacked pilots, thus putting the entire jet airways operations on hold - and holding the entire aviation industry to somthing just short of ransom. What was really surprising was that during one of the news articles, I rememberd seeing a sign being held up by other jet airways employees- are " 2 pilots more important than 13000 staff?"
it got me thinking- why did they strike in the first place? that 2 pilots got sacked for "forming a welfare group" and this is what the "welfare group" is capable of?
Whom are they kidding?

a 18 Crore a day loss
281 Flights cancelled

now jet is offering a 50% discount. But the brand image has been hit so bad.

How do you measure the brand impact? Folks are going to take a bug hit at this- there was a news article about the customers lost faith due to last minute cancellations.

the largest percentage of jet is busienss travellers- now gaining the confidence is going to cost a LOT more.

Long term impact- will take a while to calculate!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Sidvin Festival of Speed

just back from the recently concluded sidvin festival of speed. some really awesome racing, and from whre i was watching, some real close calls.

some pictures from the event.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

#LongExposure - Night Shots

We had a nice power outage, which appeared to have knocked out power in lots of places. We were sitting in our balacony and took a few shots!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

#India Independence Day 1947 Pictures- Awesome!

I just got this via email - i dont know the source or the copyright information - so if someone believes this is copyrighted material and want me to take it down - i will happily comply!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Crimson Chakra - A review

I chanced apon a visit to Crimson Chakra over the weekend, and out of disdain i decided to pen down everything i thought was simply terrrible at the place.

This might be long.. uh oh! :)

firstly, the restaurant claims to be a fine dining restaurant, however, there was hardly any fine in the dining. the place was crowded, noisy and the waiters were sweaty and flustred. Now, when you come to a restaurant where you shell out so much money from your pocket, one would expect that there would be decent linen on the table, and a white pristine table cloth, well arranged napkins and adequate cuttlery. However, this was far from that. Ther was tissue paper and two table spoons on the table. There was a general mat which can be bought at LifeStyle and the glasses were very ordinary. there was no soup spoon and we had to use a table spoon. They removed all our cuttlery with the starters and did not give us alternatives for the rest of the meal.

There were no table cloths and it was this runner that ran across the table. the runner was dirty and the toilet had piping exposed and no paper/ towels.

Either there was something wrong with the water supply or it was not being filtered enough, with every dish and drink smelling of stale water, it put me off to no extent.

The drinks had no substance in them. I tried a ginger and jagery based drink which is not the best drink to have on an empty stomach considering it was quite sweet.

the soup was nxt - the first thought that comes to mind with their soup is broth. Spicy broth. there was no chicken or even a hint of it when we went through it. It was spicy rasam. very spicy rasam.

The next came the starters - the variety in meat was wide- Prawns, Fish, Chicken and Mutton, however, they were pretty similar in their taste and there were almost no accompanyments. Yes, they did provide a set of dips - but there were a 3 dips and 2 powders. Dunno what they expected people to use the spicy powders with spicy chutney and spicier starters.

The Appam - it was an insult to any true bred malayali to eat such abysmial apams. Cold, flat and thick. Appams need to be hot, crisp and cannot be brought one at a time for a large group. What are they thinking?

there ware two dishes to be had with the appam and roti, and then the biryani was brought. That was just OK. nothing great.

The sweet dishes that we got were just terrible. there was WAY too much ghee in the goosberry halwa and the other had some goo (called cotton seed souffle) coming out. finally stuck to ice cream - and had the most sour cherry on it.

All these combined, makes me think - what are people doing putting such expensive restaurants together. At 425 per head for lunch + Taxes - this si no wWAY a cheap place, and the place was in no way "fine dining"

so, they need to pull their socks up togther with some hard work - elese - i hope they see the light of six months!

Friday, July 31, 2009

#Airtel - you are bad!

I just received an SMS from Airtel -

Kindly note- All Local SMS sent on 2nd August (Friendship day) will be charged @50p/SMS. Dial 171152 (Toll Free) For more details.

On dialing the number- you get the same pre recorded message. how can they do this? if they are doing it for "friendship day" what stops them from doing the same on all other holidays.

So even though I have paid Rs 99 for unlimited SMS (9999 sms actually) per month, I pay for the sms on that day. Doesnt this correlate to extortion?

Airtel - you suck! im being open about it. You are a very bad person. The minute the number portability comes out- im outa airtel. hate you more and more!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

outstanding! #quotes

The object of our Constitution makers was free movement and exchange of goods throughout India. It is essential for the economy of India and for sustaining improving living standards of its people. It should ultimately lead to one-country-one-people concept and economic benefit of the development should reach every citizen wherever he lives. The people of the state must sink and swim together. The long-run prosperity and salvation lies in union and not division. Economic unity is the main force for achieving cultural and political unity and stability and progress can be achieved only by demolishing artificial boundaries and barricades and should be sidelined.

Of luck and #entrepreneurship ! #startups

I was thinking the other day, as an entrepreneur, do i rely on luck or chance or both? well, as they say, you get lucky if you are at the right place at tht right time, but does luck play an integral part?

if you have a good day, you will think back and say - yes, i heard this song in the morning, shampooed my hair and used this soap, then there becomes a favorite soap, then it becomes the only soap you use. I think as an entrepreneur, you tend to become a lot more superstitious- so to say.

i remember during the 12th board exams - more than a decade ago, ( i like that phrase) i used to get dropped in the morning, on the way, i used to listen to music, and the days i could not listen to music in the car, i used to panic, and go and mess up the exam. then i started carrying a walkman, listening to a cassette even if the car music system did not work. So how is that relevant now?

My case exactly, if i listen to something nice in the morning, start feeling happy, then use my favouritest shampoo and soap, eat my favorite serial, and then wear my favorite dress, there is a high probability that i will hav a nice day.

now that brings me to the second point and infact, a point which i believe is quite important- positive thinking.

i believe that we should go to our day with a cheer and excitement, not or dispair... yes, there are bound to be stressful events, however, allowing those events to bog you down is not the best thing to have around.

so as an entrepreneur, i think luck plays a pivotal role, and possitive thinking paves the way for luck!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

abysmal Customer service @ shopper stop?

Quite a horrifying tale of pathetic customer service at Shopper stop. considering its proximity to my place, i think i would have easily spent over 30,000 there atleast.

Its even more pathetic when it hits so close to him. My wife had visited and was talked to such...

I had visited Shopper’s on Thursday, July 23rd ’09 at about 8.00 PM. Having selected a shoe, I was waiting my turn at the billing counter. Once I got to the front, there seemed to be some trouble with the billing machine/system. Meanwhile there was an executive counting out cash (of someone else’s purchase) at the same counter.

Having waited for over 20 minutes at the counter without any billing having taken place– I happened to ask the person behind the counter if he could please let me know when the billing for my item could be done.

To which he responded in the most condescending manner “Can’t you see I’m counting out money?! If you’re so impatient – why don’t take this and count!”, and he extended the cash towards me!!
I was OUTRAGED at being responded to in such as manner – to a very polite question to which he could have given a simple answer!!!
I told him so – to which he responded again in arrogance “Don’t be so impatient the systems are also down – if you can’t wait, just leave!”. I told him I would like to meet the manager and not have him responding to a customer in SUCH A RUDE MANNER! He then billed my item in 2 minutes time and shoved it across the counter, all the while muttering to himself!

When i read this email - i was quite aghast! this is very sad! Where are we heading in this world? Does shoppers stop believe that they can get away with such a crime?

Bad doggy shoppers stop! I know for one - im going to stop going there. please do the same!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Flyby Chennai!

Whilst making our final approach to chennai domestic airport, we were flying quite low - given the fact this was an ATR. I took the liberty of trying to take a few picture, however, due to the total spaz nature of the phone, it brought the flash on even though i turned it off. The airhostess then decided to give us a tip "take a video" which was one of the most brilliant ideas i heard.

anyways, took a short clip of the approach and flgith over chennai at night. Need to go again, and shoot a better video... :)

Friday, July 10, 2009

kerala in the rains

i am visiting kerala after a gap of about 6 month, and i think to the best of my knowledge, this is the first time im coming in july. Maybe i have done so earlier, but i cant remember.

Some pictures i snapped from the train.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

x Files - the Movie


Have been a long time X-Files fan so when the new movie was released, I quickly got the DVD when it hit the stands. So yesterday, my wife and i decided to watch the movie.

summary in a single word - terrible.

The plot, story, characters and the overall movie would hav been a good film if it did not have the xfiles tag, as there was no X in it at all!

at the end of the movie it was an all and all disappointing flick, that mulder and scully had a kid who dies, but they are not married, that the FBI is looking and that no one but him believes in psychics.

One would have assumed that the movie would have started off where the other left off. but that was not the case, and it brought about a whole different angle to it.

It would have made a good episode in the x-files but not a full length film.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The power of positive thinking!

a long and standing mantra that most people believe in is the power of positive thinking- which according to google throws out about 7,650,000 pages of information. Now how does one not ignore this?

I did not think too much of it till recently. Going through a rather tough patch myself at work, i decided to think positive with the focus on whats happening rather than whats not.

Personally, i think it has made a huge difference. I feel happier, feel less stressed, and most importantly, am enjoying my work a lot more than i could have imagined that i could. I am really beginning to fathom this concept, and guess at a stage where i might embrace it simply for its sheer power and size.

Friday, June 19, 2009

i love camera phones - my picture of the day

was driving home last evening, and the skies did a little dance. i was at the right place at the right time- i captured this dance.

Its now the turn of Twitter!

A new spammed malware attack is impersonating messages from micro-blogging site Twitter.

Researchers at Symantec said that the attack poses as an invitation to join Twitter with the message: 'Your friend has invited you to Twitter.' The message also contains images of the Twitter logo and front pages.

Rather than send the user to Twitter by way of a URL, however, the message asks the user to open an attachment under the name ''. On launching the attached file, the user is infected with a malicious worm that attempts to send out mass email messages.

Users are advised not to open the invitation attachments or any other unsolicited or suspicious email attachments.

"As Twitter continues to gain popularity among social networking users, people are regularly receiving invitations and email updates from fellow users, " wrote Symantec researcher Sammy Chu in a blog post.

"We expect that spammers will continue to use Twitter and other popular social networks as bait in their attacks."

The practice of disguising malware as email attachments and greeting cards is not new. Attacks such as the infamous Storm worm were routinely spread under the guise of greeting card attachments.

Attacks targeting Twitter have also become more common in recent months as the site has seen its popularity soar. Attacks have ranged from account-stealing hacking attempts to cross-site scripting attacks and malware distribution attacks.


Facebook Worm!

A general word of caution to all facebook users- considering its one of the most popular social networking sites, i guess is a general caution to all.

There are several worms doing the rounds on facebook - the most recent of them being the koobface.
the modus operandi is the same- send a link through a message, considering its coming from a friend, you tend to visit it, after that it downloads a trojan onto the system. Now the scary part is that its using the macromedia / activex route to run this exploit.
its asking for the update, its downloading a worm onto the system, and then when you visit facebook the next time, it gets your username / password and replicates itself. from the facebook account. It has appeared to have been more complext through a greater level of automation than before. So next time a message comes from a friend, please check the message before visitng the site.

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