Category Archives: Uncategorized

The iPad Experience

There has been so many posts on discussing the various aspects of the iPad interjection in our lives. Many such observations have been made in the comfort of information available on the net or hearsay.

There is no doubt that the slate based computing is here to stay and redefine how we do things. But a lot rides on what our expectations are from a personal computing device and how we intend to use it. If all we need to surf the net, play solitaire, read books, probably any device could do it. But why do we need to have a slate based device.

Last night, I had the opportunity to see and play on this device at a friend’s place. Must say, I was very impressed and can agree with the awe factor associated with it.. Ok here goes my two cents on the Ipad

The Plus factors

  • Form factor is superb and amazing. So thin and sleek.
  • Display and font readability. The bright display really stands out and the readability of the Lucida font is the hallmark of all Apple products.
  • Navigation is very easy although some basic learning is required.
  • Connectivity to 3G and wifi was seamless
  • Sound and speaker were delectable just like the iPods.
  • Some interesting Apps; The talkback cat was great, the newpaper app was equally good. BubbleBreaker has an interesting change. Gmaps interface was radically different though the pan motion was amazingly fluid. The Bloomberg Stock App was delicious.
  • The screen tilting orientation was very sweet as well

The Minus factors

  • The sleek factor is also its nemesis as well. One fall and you can kiss your 500 dollars goodbye.
  • Single button. I never understand why Jobs insists everything in the world should be done with just one finger! The single button, is the center of the ipad universe. Figuring out how to use it for many purposes, will require some learning. However, it would be worrisome, to many, who are used to seeing familiar interfaces.
  • Videos were good but lacks the HD capability. Simple thing like playback of recorded/downloaded HD content is a no-no without any conversion.
  • Flash is also on the prohibited list.
  • Downloads only from the app store and nothing else. Downloading files or even from email attachments is not permitted. you can only view them but not save them.
  • Extensibility is in short supply.The standard apple connector is the only way in. Moreover, even with that you can only do limited things  dictated by the iTunes. This means, no uploading files and apps that you may need, but iTunes does not like.
  • 3G but no webcam! Strange but true..

In a nutshell, hats off to Steve Jobs for creating a wonderful slate device which succeeds in stimulating the conventional computing paradigm. But its usefulness will well be defined by how average you are and how easy you find Apple’s marketing pitches.There are thousands of apps but what do you really want it to do? You could have a fancy dice roller, or you could also have a language translator. What I do find seriously short is that, why isn’t there a Transcriber app that lets you write in freehand for taking notes. Also, something like a Dragon app, by which you can dictate to the device and it will create the text.It could be useful for graphic processing type uses like image processing or videos.

But the thing that really irks me, is at a very conceptual level. The whole Apple’s Secret Garden thinktank, that they know better than what you want and what you should be doing with a device that you bought with your money, is in a sense like the Truman Show movie. It may be a perfect world as per Jobs, but real life and freedom have different meanings. You may have factored in a million considerations, but why do you not let the customer decide on his freedoms. This debate will live on endlesslessly.

For me, I will continue to wait for a tablet like device, feature richness and dollops of usability. Besides, being a firm believer in cloud computing and a very active user of Google products, I would be more inclined to open systems like Android. Perhaps the Adam can bring that change. Only time will tell.

Financial education in very simple terms. The following article elucidates the thought process for investing in Equities… Read on..

Education – 10 Steps to invest in Equity

Equity market investments typically yield high returns, particularly if invested over longer periods of time, although such investments are characterized by a high degree of price volatility in the short term. The volatility in our markets, particularly in the nineties, reflects significant shifts in the nature of the Indian economy, with the services sector gaining increasing importance. This fundamental change in the economy has resulted in a dramatic change in the nature of our stock markets with the services sector, including technology, assuming increasing importance. Investment in equities has dismayed many in the short term, but if executed in the framework of the steps outlined below, may help in better choices.

STEP 1:

Identify your objective, given your needs, life stage and resources. If you want to increase the value of your investment in order to have a larger sum to spend at a later date, your main priority will be capital growth.

STEP 2:

Identify your risk tolerance and then invest appropriately Young people at the start of their working lives will have a greater appetite for taking financial risk as compared to people at the end of their career who are looking forward to stable income and preservation of capital. These two extremes will exemplify the ability to take equity exposure. The young person is likely to be invested largely in equities for he can afford to take short term capital loss in anticipation of higher rates of return from equities. The elderly will be unable to take the risk of capital loss even in the short term as their ability to make back any losses will be limited by time and ability to earn.

STEP 3:

Categorize your stock: Cyclical, Growth or Defensive Investing in cyclical stocks, such as those in the cement or steel sector, requires an understanding of the economic scenario. An active involvement in the investment is required in order to reap the maximum benefits of swings in economic cycles over time. The stock prices are likely to move through extreme highs and lows, and the ability to time entry and exit will be necessary. Growth investing refers to stocks in sectors where the future direction is clear for the medium term – such as technology. However even here, timing is key, for the stock may do nothing for a long time as momentum builds up and then move sharply thereafter.Defensive investing is that which is done from a long term viewpoint, where a stock is held on the premise that it will grow consistently and on a sustainable basis over time, such as those in the fast moving consumer goods sector. While the appreciation may, at times, not be as dramatic as cyclical or growth stocks, stocks that constitute defensive investments grow steadily over longer time periods.

STEP 4:

Check out the technical position. Can you actually sell your investment when you want to? The liquidity of a stock is very important in taking an investment decision, for if there is very little free stock available in the market, buying and selling may well impact the stock price in an adverse manner. It is interesting to see what the price volume relationship is for a stock. So if a stock price is moving up or down on high trading volume, it is more likely that there is real interest in that price movement than if there is very little volume supporting the price move.

STEP 5:

Know what the company does The fate of each stock is tied inextricably to the fortune of the underlying business, and the market’s perception of the future prospects for that business. The industry’s future potential in terms of projected demand-supply is key as is the company’s competitive position in the industry. The business model of the company should be considered, as well as possible future changes, and the ability of the company to sustain growth and momentum well into the future.

STEP 6:

Know who runs the company The capability and integrity of management is even more important in determining the future viability of your investment. A strong, credible, experienced and shareholder responsive management team is critical for operating and growing a successful company. In the newer areas of our economy, management vision is also of significant importance.

STEP 7:

Know the company’s performance The price earnings (P/E) ratio is the often quoted measure of a company’s value. This ratio divides the stock price by the year’s earnings, and is useful in arriving at comparative valuation. But the tool that is quite prevalent in professional evaluations is the return on equity (ROE), which is the year’s earnings divided by the net worth of the company. This when compared to the cost of capital for the company allows the investor to gauge the company’s wealth creating ability. Apart from the ratios the investor must also focus on the sustainability of earnings growth.

STEP 8:

Know the company’s valuation Two stocks may have the same EPS but different P/E’s. This is because ROE may be different and its sustainability may be different. Broadly speaking, the higher the sustainable ROE, the higher the P/E rating. A high P/E does not therefore necessarily imply an overvalued stock. Stocks with high sustainable ROEs are likely to trade at high P/E multiples.

STEP 9:

Know the price target Having selected stocks and built a portfolio, it is now imperative to track these investments closely. One method of doing so is to set expectations, by identifying a target price, and to re-evaluate the stock when this target is reached. Here, it is important to consider opportunity costs. If there is a loss on a stock, should one realize that loss and invest in another stock, which has a greater potential, or should one wait for the loss to turn into a profit. By not selling out of low return stocks to get into higher return stocks, investors miss out on opportunities.

STEP 10:

Do you want a professional manager? Many investors mistakenly assume that they can purchase one or two stocks and they will do well. In the absence of good luck, this can be a dangerous strategy since there is always a risk of a stock declining in value or the business facing company specific problems. The more diversified the portfolio, lower is the risk of one poorly performing stock affecting overall performance of the portfolio. However, a good way of diversifying the portfolio is to invest through mutual funds where the professional fund manager and the rigorous investment process is likely to limit risk while maximizing profit, depending on the risk profile of the fund invested in.

A very interesting article on time in our lives…

Punch the Clock

Often you will meet people in large cities who grew up in a rural setting. Once in awhile, after years of bustle in an urban area, someone will opt for a quieter lifestyle with a bit more elbow room.

Green grass would replace concrete and climbing the corporate ladder may be your way to the hay loft.

We spend about 30% of our lives sleeping, another 30% working, about 10-20% consuming entertainment, add another 5% for eating and 5% getting ready – which includes dressing and showering and ironing and primping and pressing and let’s lob in another 5% for traffic. Feel free to adjust that number according to your situation.

So we are booked 85-90% of the time. We have 10-15% left over to follow our dreams, have uninterrupted thought, read a novel, relax, contemplate navels

That 30% chunk taken by that work thing seems pretty important, doesn’t it?

The notion of think time is completely foreign to most companies. This is where you are in your office or sitting quietly in a space and you are not in a meeting or online or answering emails or doing busy work. You are thinking, creating, solving. How better could you do your gig with time blocked off every day just to think?

The idea that teams could put titles away and collaborate freely is something still rather rare. Real collaboration, not we value your opinion so we can then show you why we didn’t pick it. No passive aggressive fearful ego laden managerial yelling style – collaboration. Respectful teamwork.

Now imagine you are the manager, the owner, perhaps you are already. What does it look like? You are overseeing 30% of people’s entire lives. Sure they will move on, have several careers, but you are the curator of one third of their existence while they are working with you. Or is it just about the bottom line?

Do you think we could take some of that time for dreams and thought – as part of our work experience – with each other?

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway

Every now and then, comes along a quote which has unforgettable effect on you. The title of this note, is one such quote.

I remember sitting in the lecture room in 2005 at NCST and listening Prof Satam talking about computer networks. Like many other students, we just gaped at the slides on display one after the other and then suddenly in the middle of a saturday afternoon, this hits me. At that time of seeing the slides and the ensuing discussion, I was kinda PPMA (Physically Present but Mentally Absent) with all the numbers and bytes thrown in random going way above than Malcom Marshall’s bouncers. Its only later on, when I read the textbook “Computer Networks” by Andrew S Tanenbaums, did the profoundness of the quote dwelt on me. The wisdom propagated by the author, has had a deep impact on my psyche.

It spelt out the truth that we must always carry when we devise solutions for all kinds of problems. Common Sense is the vital key ingredient that all solutions must have. As technology professionals, there is a perceptible enthusiasm to incorporate newer technology as well as that sizzle that makes it sound like the state of the art cutting edge solution. Often, we get carried away to have that technological solution delivery to our achievements in our kitty when simpler solutions can be found with some plain thinking common sense.

That truth stuck on till date and everytime, I am required to devise a solution, the first thing that hits me is this quote. It forces me to adopt common sense as a platform and not get swept away by technological exuberances.

A brief explanation for folks who are from a non-techie domains:

Suppose you have a large data set that needs to be transferred from one location to another. The technology guy will rattle off statistic like you will need a 8 Mbps leased line and the transfer will take some days to finish ASSUMING the line does not drop etc etc. But with a little common sense, lot more can be achieved with far less too..

This is an excerpt from Tanenbaums book in 1990s; Picture yourself there as you read it..

…. A simple calculation will make this point clear. An industry standard Ultrium tape can hold 200 gigabytes. A box 60 x 60 x 60 cm can hold about 1000 of these tapes, for a total capacity of 200 terabytes, or 1600 terabits (1.6 petabits). A box of tapes can be delivered anywhere in the United States in 24 hours by Federal Express and other companies. The effective bandwidth of this transmission is 1600 terabits/86,400 sec, or 19Gbps. If the destination is only an hour away by road, the bandwidth is increased to over 400Gbps. No computer network can even approach this.

For a bank with many gigabytes of data to be backed up daily on a second machine (so the bank can continue to function even in the face of a major flood or earthquake), it is likely that no other transmission technology can even begin to approach magnetic tape for performance. Of course, networks are getting faster, but tape densities are increasing, too.

If we now look at cost, we get a similar picture. The cost of an Ultrium tape is around $40 when bought in bulk. A tape can be reused at least ten times, so the tape cost is maybe $4000 per box per usage. Add to this another $1000 for shipping (probably much less), and we have a cost of roughly $5000 to ship 200TB. This amounts to shipping a gigabyte for under 3 cents. No network can beat that.

The moral of the story is:

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway.

A new dawn awakens the soul

Wishing  you all an exciting new year.  May you live the rest of your lives reminiscing the moments that you experienced in the coming year.

The year has started off on a very interesting note with some very intriguing thoughts. After a lull in the past few years, there have been some renewed convictions to change the future course of our lives. IT has to happen this year. The signs are all there.

Yesterday, as I embarked upon making the 2 hour bus trip from CBD Belapur to the in-laws castle in Juhu, I left work around 6 pm. reaching the bus depot; I was fraught with a dilemma. The bus was just pulling out of the depot and taking the next bus would mean waiting for another 20 odd minutes. To cross the road and request the driver to let me in, or should I respect my hunger pangs by having a snack. It was a typical to-be-or-not-to-be kind of a situation. 3 seconds of confusion and I ran inside the store to pick up my samosa sandwich. As I grabbed the snack and came to the main road, I noticed that there was an intersection on the highway which the bus was struggling to get past. On the split of the moment, like Arjuna’s focus on the fish eye, I dashed across to the highway point some 200 mts away in a bid to get to the bus and beg the driver to let me in. My single-minded conviction paid off, while I did get in front of the driver’s view, he signaled me to go ahead about 100 mts where he could stop his monstrous AC bus. That was a good start where I did follow my heart and belief and it worked. Moral of the story: Focus and devotion yield results. You CAN have your samosa and eat it too 😉

This morning, reading the papers, it was quite depressing to comprehend the article detailing modern day depression cycles. The writer outlined the many factors which kind of puts a person through a series of events leading to a depressive state. Putting it aside, I left home for a walk on the beach. The sea was silent; numbing my skull and choking my nostrils. The low tide was draining my thoughts away. After some 20 minutes of leisurely strolling, I sat on the beach sands gaping at the cloudless sky and the endless sea horizon. Just then, I noticed a black furry dog settling itself down close to where I was sitting. The dog was quite a good looking dog and had a collar on its neck. It was obvious from the red band around its neck that it was somebody’s pet and now in a state of homelessness. The dog made me think of humans and animals. This dog had obviously seen some human affections and must have definitely also reciprocated the same. One look at the timid creature, and you would want to pet it. Yet in all its aged state, it found itself lying on a beach with no outlook whatsoever. It would watch the other walkers on the beach with their pet Labradors, poodles, Alsatians et al, loving tendered upon by their masters. The pain was very evident on the pooch’s face and it was clear that it was depressed to the core. Ironically, humans when subjected to a similar fate of homelessness, lack of love, zilch prospects of the future, resort to radical steps of alcoholism, drugs and even suicide. Animals, as I learnt this morning, learn that life has its ups and downs and the Lord will take care of them nevertheless. You don’t find monkeys, dogs and cats running off a cliff and throwing themselves down from the highest perch atop a tree. They know that times have changed; food and sustenance will be a struggle and that they must keep trying to survive till the Lord’s calling comes. As I left the seashore, the mind was stronger with the experience.

As I walked back from the sea, my mind also drifted on the similarities of the human and animal lives. Like the dog, there are numerous folk out there, who are no longer zippy and youthful. There is a mother out there who stayed back home to look after every need of her young hearts. There is a father out there breaking his hump day after day, sacrificing his time with his kids, in the hope that he will be able to afford his children a far better financially stable life than he lives in today. A time comes when these folks get a grip on reality that their youthful days are far behind, lost in their single minded pursuits of their goals for their children. That is the time they feel the vulnerabilities; older age, lesser incomes, insecurities of career, compromises on lifestyle due to affordability and more. Very similar to the dog’s experience, they are both swayed by the times and circumstances. But as humans, we are a very unique lot.

Parents are often relegated to the fringes and new fascinations take over. So much is our fetish with all things new, that these folks who have given their best to the children, often find themselves with uncertain future, despair and in many cultures, land up in old age homes as well. This year, let us not forget these wonderful people who silently gave you all that you ever wanted and more. Yes, they will not be always cheerful and agreeable, but remember, neither were you when they took pains to workaround your needs and keep you happy. Let them not have the dog’s fate in their golden years; give them the gift of your time and attention this year, and not those expensive gifts.

As I write these, I am told of unfortunate happenings to a friend of ours. She has been having the most trying times of her life. With a career in dwindles, income is a trickle. Fate has quite a humor and often plays ballet with her. Couple of months ago, her mother has been in and out of hospital due to illness and heart attack. Just when she found herself coming out of that shock, she finds herself confronted by a heart attack condition to her father. With severely impacted finances, such emotional turmoil can only play havoc with the mind. Like the dog, I would advise her to be strong and keep her faith alive. Times are tough but nothing that will not pass. There will be different times and different experiences. Hang in there, lady.

As I said the signs are all over and God speaks to us in many ways. My only wish to God this year is to help make me alive; alive to every thing happening; alive to not take any moment for granted.  May you have the most wonderful of experiences in your lives. Like the movie “August Rush” ends – “Music is all around; all you have to do is listen!”. Happy New Year.

PARENT – Job Description:

This is hysterical. If it had been presented this way,
I don’t believe any of us would have done it!!!!

POSITION :
Mom, Mommy, Mama, Ma
Dad, Daddy, Dada, Pa, Pop

JOB DESCRIPTION :

Long term, team players needed, for challenging,
permanent work in an
often chaotic environment.
Candidates must possess excellent communication
and organizational skills and be willing to work
variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends
and frequent 24 hour shifts on call.
Some overnight travel required, including trips to
primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless
sports tournaments in far away cities!
Travel expenses not reimbursed.
Extensive courier duties also required.

RESPONSIBILITIES :

The rest of your life.
Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily,
until someone needs $5.
Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly.
Also, must possess the physical stamina of a
pack mule
and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat

in case, this time, the screams from
the backyard are not someone just crying wolf.
Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges,
such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets
and stuck zippers.
Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and
coordinate production of multiple homework projects.
Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings
for clients of all ages and mental outlooks.
Must be willing to be indispensable one minute,
an embarrassment the next.
Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a half
million cheap, plastic toys, and battery operated devices.
Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the
worst.
Must assume final, complete accountability for
the quality of the end product.
Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and
janitorial work throughout the facility.

POSSIBILITY FOR ADVANCEMENT & PROMOTION :

None.
Your job is to remain in the same position for years,
without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your
skills,
so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you

PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE :

None required unfortunately.
On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting
basis.

WAGES AND COMPENSATION :

Get this! You pay them!
Offering frequent raises and bonuses.
A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because
of the assumption that college will help them
become financially independent.
When you die you give them whatever is left.
The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that
you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.

BENEFITS :

While no health or dental insurance, no pension,
no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and
no stock options are offered;
this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal
growth, unconditional love,
and free hugs and kisses for life if you play your cards
right.

Forward this on to all the PARENTSyou know, in appreciation
for everything they do on a daily basis,
letting them know they are appreciated
for the fabulous job they do…
or forward with love
to anyone thinking of applying for the job.
** AND A FOOTNOTE

‘There is no retirement — ever!! **

The Awesome Dad Cheat Sheet: 18 Fatherhood Tips They Should’ve Handed Out at the Delivery Room

18 Fatherhood Tips They Shouldve Handed Out at the Delivery Room

Photo by [3] free parking

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Leo Babauta of [4] Zen Habits, a father of six children.

Being a father can be a wonderful thing, once you get past all the gross stuff, all the stressful events, the loss of privacy, and the bewildering numbers of ways you can screw it up.

But other than those few things, fatherhood is wonderful.

Every dad has fears that he won’t be a great dad, that he’ll mess up, that he’ll be a failure. It comes with the job.

Unfortunately, what doesn’t come with the job is a simple set of instructions. As guys, we often will skip the manual, figuring we can wing it … but when things go wrong, it’s nice to have that manual to go back to. Fatherhood needs that manual.

And while, as the father of six children, you might say that I’m qualified to write such a manual, it’s not true — I’m winging it like everyone else. However, I’ve been a father for more than 15 years, and with six kids I’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t, what’s important and what you can safely ignore (unlike that odd grating sound coming from your engine).

What follows are the fatherhood tips I wish they’d passed out to me upon the delivery of my first child. It would have helped a ton. I hope they’ll help you become an even more awesome dad than you already are — feel free to refer back to them as a cheat sheet, anytime you need some help.

Read the rest of this entry

Why english is so funny!

We’ll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes;

but the plural of ox became oxen not oxes.

One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,

yet the plural of moose should never be meese.

You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice;

yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,

why shouldn’t the plural of pan be called pen?

If I spoke of my foot and show you my feet,

and I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?

If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,

why shouldn’t the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and three would be those,

yet hat in the plural would never be hose,

and the plural of cat is cats, not cose.

We speak of a brother and also of brethren,

but though we say mother we never say methren.

Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,

but imagine the feminine, she, shis and shim.

Life as a race

Life is like a race between cat and mouse. Mouse mostly wins bcos cat is running for food and mouse is running for its life. Purpose is more important than need!!

So be a mouse and win the race..

Answers First Graders can visualise !!!

A 1st grade school teacher had twenty-six students in her class. She presented each child in her classroom the 1st half of a well-known proverb and asked them to come up with the remainder of the proverb. It’s hard to believe these were actually done by first graders. Their insight may surprise you. While reading, keep in mind that these are first-graders, 6-year-olds, because the last one is a classic!
1..
Don’t change horses
until they stop running.
2.
Strike while the
bug is close.
3.
It’s always darkest before
Daylight Saving Time.
4.
Never underestimate the power of
termites.
5.
You can lead a horse to water but
How?
6.
Don’t bite the hand that
looks dirty.
7.
No news is
impossible
8.
A miss is as good as a
Mr.
9.
You can’t teach an old dog new
Math
10.
If you lie down with dogs, you’ll
stink in the morning.
11.
Love all, trust
Me.
12.
The pen is mightier than the
pigs.
13.
An idle mind is
the best way to relax.
14.
Where there’s smoke there’s
pollution.
15.
Happy the bride who
gets all the presents.
16.
A penny saved is
not much.
17.
Two’s company, three’s
the Musketeers.
18.
Don’t put off till tomorrow what
you put on to go to bed.
19.
Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and
You have to blow your nose.
20.
There are none so blind as
Stevie Wonder.
21.
Children should be seen and not
spanked or grounded.
22.
If at first you don’t succeed
get new batteries.
23.
You get out of something only what you

See in the picture on the box
24.
When the blind lead the blind
get out of the way.
25.
A bird in the hand
is going to poop on you.
26.
Better late than
Pregnant

%d bloggers like this: