Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Does thought have any language?

I know you can take this topic in any direction. Practical, philosophical or somewhere in between. The reason of me blogging is the constraints the Indians face in India on the career choices they have to make. I have rarely seen any professional books or atleast the quality ones which are written in any native language. Most of the Engineering (I can speak of Computers), medicine and management books are written in English (or not written in any other native language of the country). So, if you do not know English (?by Indian standards) or lack the capacity to learn it, its close to impossible to make such career choices. Management is the worst among these. I don't think in India you can get a management degree without knowing English. I am not an educationist and do not know what practical reasons there could be to apply such constraints. I do know though that a language itself (not its' literature) has no role to play how we think, we manage or make decisions. Then why should the Indian education system put such restrictions? Professional degrees should be agnostic to any certain language. If thats true with other countries then why not India?

Sunday, February 26, 2006

The best cops

So there was a competition one day to find which country has the best police force. Four finalists were selected : Americans, Russians, Israelis and the Indians. The task was to find an elusive tiger in the dense forest of sunderban. Americans were the first. With all the high-tech gadgets and global positioning devices they figured out the tiger was possibly near a den towards the west. The time taken was 10 days. Good, but not better than the Russians who found the tiger's location somewhere close to a corses' of a deer. With the help of some satellite imaging they did it in just 8 days. That was tough but fell short to the well connected Israelis. Israelis were good to put listening devices all over the forest and monitored the tiger's movements. It took them just 5 days to mark the exact position of the tiger. It was too good to beat before the mighty Indian's went in. No communication for 5 days. Looked they lost to the Israelis. None of 8 either. Huh! third place? No! they were gone for 15, then 20 and then 30 days. Everyone was worried. Looked like as if they lost the way back or the tiger ate them alive. American's, Russians and the Israelies got together. After some searching, they found the Indian team all excitedly yelling near a tree. They had tied up a big bear to a tree and shouting "kabool tu sher hai.. kabool ki tu sher hai" (Admit you are a tiger.. Just admit you are a tiger).

Saturday, February 25, 2006

10 things to say to make an Indian happy

10. World has so much to learn from India
9. I want to play Cricket, Can you teach me?
8. The next century belongs to India
7. China can't beat India in the long run
6. Yeah, you can get the visa very easily
5. Materialism is killing the west and yoga is the answer to every peril.
4. Indians have achieved all the technical advancements on their own.
3. Sukhois are the best fighter jets
2. The corruption will go away in few years
1. Pakistan sucks.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The bread and the cat

Old grandma stories never seem to lose their value. One of those is the story of a piece of bread and the shrewed cat. One day two monkeys stole a piece of bread from a shop and were fiercely fighting over it. A shrewed cat kept watching at first then went to help them out. She took the bread, cut it in two pieces - one bigger than the other. One monkey objected to see the other getting the bigger piece. Cat ate the smaller one and did the same for the bigger piece again. She kept doing it till she ate it all. Whatever the era is it seems some monkeys never understand this story.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Conversation of an inmate in 2030

Inmate : What can I do? I was trapped in greed. Afterall I am fedup eating veggies and things I don't like. From who knows where I saw it and my hunger took me over. Yes I killed it and ate it. I forgot that it was an endangered species. Had the people in early 21st century not culled these birds in millions I would not have been in jail today. For some reasons or the other the humans are notorious to make birds extinct. First the dodos and then the chickens.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Don't build the Moon

Don't build the moon, build the path to reach it. The failure rate of building huge projects is always very high. Small projects and small teams are always likely to succeed. Quick meetings, quick decisions and grabable goals are the essence of success. So, how do you build a huge bridge? You don't build bricks and steel you buy them and assemble to build it. You create components with straight forward scope and simple interfaces and then hook them together to perform. Growth is good when its either straight vertical or plain horizontal. Slanted buildings are doomed to collapse.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The French connection

[The blog is based on some readings and not intuitive]
France was one of the very few countries which did not ban nuclear and other military cooperation with India in the wake of nuclear tests in 1998. For any military a reliable supplier is very important than anything else. Even though India is getting closer and closer by day to the US but the past sanctions on the Indian military establishments and 1971's aggressive and threatning political games are still some of the wounds which time needs to heal. No army wants to get its' supplies dried out in the midst of a confrontation. Even though a distant one now but with the US suppliers vis-a-vis Pakistan its a possibility. Relations with France is important to India. Indian airforce operates a good number of Mirages as one of the frontline fighters. India also needs an interim submarine and French Scorpene is the top contender, till it completes its own nuclear ATV. The relations though have not been very smooth lately. The payouts to the middlemen in the Scorpene deal, scavanging Clamenceau and its recent submarine deliveries to Pakistan have raised some concerns. But more or less India and France need each other and it will take some dramatic and stupid actions for India to start disliking the French fries.

Friday, February 17, 2006

There was a king...

So there was a king. He went hunting and in search of a gazelle went deep inside the dense forest. His troops lost him and worried as he left his food and water behind. Suddenly in an abrupt storm he lost his way back home. The situation worsened when a tree branch fell over his legs. Unable to walk with a broken leg, frustated, depressed and hungry the king was in a dire need of help. A group of squirrels were watching him as he fell and broke his legs. They knew he needed food to survive. It was their territory and they knew where to find it as it was hidden beneath the dead leaves at a stones throw from where the king fell. One kind squirrel decided to help him out. Went to him and ran towards the food and came back. Did it again and again to help the king find the food. Already dying with hunger, amazed and quite annoyed with this gesture the king could not figure out what this commotion was. But the king was intelligent and the real survivor. He took his sword and threw it on the squirrel. The king thanked his angels as he ate the dead squirrel. The king survived and the next morning his troops found him. Way back in his kingdom, he narrated the story and thanked the squirrel for his sacrifice to save his life. He made Squirrel the national animal.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Why don't Australians read my blogs?

The map speaks for itself. I know there is a huge ocean between us but see others have crossed it too :-)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Could soldiers feel the same?

"But the image of him falling is something I'll never be able to get out of my mind. I fired, and there's Harry falling. And it was, I'd have to say, one of the worst days of my life, at that moment." - Vice President Dick Cheney

By Mr Cheney's interview it looks like he was a little depressed.
Could the soldiers feel the same when they shoot an innocent person? I am glad there are some feelings which a common person like us and our leaders share.

Monday, February 13, 2006

And now yahoo...

Disturbing(?) news : "The statement came as Yahoo faces increasing criticism about it giving the Chinese
government personal information about two of its users - actions that activists say resulted in the imprisonment of two Chinese dissidents."

Not sure if these companies give any informations on paedophiles and other offenders but political activists? Oh yeah they are game.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Do it yourself - sequel

If you can do it, do it yourself. This is a sequel to my old blogs Is vendor support a myth? and Will you buy a free product? but this time with a real story. The sump pump at my house was not working and I had no knowledge of how its installed or what it takes to get it fixed. Called a plumber who sensed my gullibility and gave an estimate of $604 with a coupon of $25 (what a help!). I had been in this situation before and I knew there was something wrong. Went to Home depot and found a sump pump for $75. Talked to some help and came back to get it done myself. With taxes $87 and 15 mins of my own labor. Is it not similar to the software development too? If you can build the expertise by partenering with the open source communities I am sure teams/companies can build there own applications. Money saved? I will leave the extrapolation to your imagination.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Questions from my friend in spain

My blogger friend raised a few questions. The questions in his words were : "What are we made of? What are the constituents? What is life. Questions that fly in my mind. Where does random play its role? Where does free will play its role? Questions, my friend, questions.."

The answers will depend who you ask. I came up with this reply :

    "[Life] is an opportunity to make the [randomness] predictable with the emotions, convictions and courage which we all are [made of] and to [freely] share our results with the ones struggling with the same."

Monday, February 06, 2006

Who is google? The god?

So google has blacklisted BMW for manipulating the search engine. Why? because you have a bug in your engine and the search engine allows manipulations? Instead of fixing the bugs in the search engine I don't understand why to take action against BMW? Don't you smell monopoly? Tomorrow they could decide to not show Microsoft in the search results if you searched for "the software giant". I don't think the past few events with Google were any promising :

  • Blacklisting BMW

  • Google China

  • Recent loss to its' stock prices

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Hamid Karzai's realism

I saw an interview on BBC with Mr. Hamid Karzai the honorable President of Afghanistan. I like Hamid Karzai for his realism about his country. He discussed quite a few things but one question he kept avoiding. He was not clear if he would punish the people in his government known to be the human right violators. He said that it will bring more misery to Afghanistan if they kept bringing the past events in. Even though he was not clear on his verbage of what he meant but vey clear of his intent and his compulsions. He needs those people for the greater cause of the country and whose support is needed to keep off the bigger menace. On corruption he was very realistic too but also ensured that its' not there at the highest chair.

I am not from Afghanistan but still writing about it because relations between India and Afghanistan go beyond centuries. I like Mr. Hamid Karzai because he is handling his responsibilities against all the odds. And also, I see Afghanistan as India of the 17th century. Independent princely states fighting each other and the foreign nations taking advantage of it, similar to what we see in Afghanistan today. Tribes fiercely fighting each other but still recognizing the boundaries of the country. India has a much bigger role to play - not as a regional power but as a friend who had suffered similar scenarios and how they pulled themselves out of it. In India at the time of independence we were blessed with two gems - Nehru and Sardar Patel - the ying/yang couple. When Nehru used his appeal to the masses, Patel used his convictions. I think Mr. Karzai is missing his yang counterpart and his biggest task now is to have one. I wish him and his country good for the future.

Friday, February 03, 2006

I want Steelers win

It doesn't matter anymore who wins the 40th super bowl as Broncos had already lost. I am supporting Steelers though. Reason? My ex-manager Trey has promised me a party if Steelers win. Yeah! He is from Pittsburgh.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

United they stood

What a story! 1150 days in loss and gone bankrupt but some strong hand decisions and here we go - In profits again. Few salient points of the turn around : Fewer people, reduced operating cost and eye on the quality - the attributes always proves to be fruitful. I admire companies who are determined to turn around and make it happen. And also, after reading this story I am hopeful for Sun too. I know who are running it now and these folks are achievers. Hope Sun follows the United airlines.

Is vendor support a myth?

In my last (n) years of software development experience I have never come across a scenario when the team had rued for implementing a solution with open source products. Infact on a few occasions the decision of choosing a vendor was regretted. BTW, I am not alone. I asked the same question with people with varying role and got pretty much the same reply - Not yet. So, why do the companies purchase products from an external vendor when a competing opensource products are readily available? The answer is simple - for the myth of getting the vendor support. It is cheaper in the long run, we do not have to train our IT, Its like an insurance policy - you pay even if you don't need it, etc etc etc. I am confused because I believe by hiring few good programmers and deploying a similar opensource product works as beautifully as the pricey vendor app if not better. After all, its rare to not have any IT division (insourced or outsourced) then why not make a good use of them?