Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wishing a Very Happy 2010

Dekhiye paatey hain ushshaakh buton say kya faiz,
Ik barahman nay kaha hai ki yeh saal achchha hai.

A fortune teller has predicted that this year will be great. Hopefully all wishes will come true.
Here's wishing every life on this planet a very happy 2010.

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Want to go Viral? Get a Name Similar to Google.

Have you heard of Groovle. I certainly hadn't. Not until now that is. And this site has been up for the last two and half years.
Now comes the news (source: BBC) that Google has lost out in getting the domain name Groovle transferred to itself. Groovle is driven by Google. Except that the pristine white home page of Google can be replaced by a celebrity / dog / tree or any photo of your choice. Check one example with Angelina Jolie here.
My point is not whether people would confuse between Groovle and Google. My point is where was the need for Google to go after a web site which no one would have heard in a million years. After all how many people have heard of mine.
You know what?
Get a domain name similar to Google's.
In another two and half year expect Google to go after your site and thereafter your site to go viral. If you can manage to pull it off, that is. Just two have managed to do so far. Groovle, now, and earlier, Froogles.
Is Google being run by lawyers now?

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Definition of Optimism

New Year celebrations are proofs that human beings are by nature optimists.
It is just another day - a point on a planet's orbit - like any other point - an identical spot where Earth returns year after year (well almost! I'm sure we can disregard the planetary precession) - and yet what a world of difference!
We look back, we introspect, we disregard the fact that what we have done in the past year will effect us in the future, and then look forward to a great new year.
If this is not optimism then what is?
Or is it that only the optimist celebrate New Years?

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dell Copying Apple. Where has Creativity Gone?

Suppose I am the Chief Designer (or whatever I am called) at Dell.
My boss comes to me and tells me that I need to make an Apple-Look-Alike Dell computer.

What happens to my creativity?
What happens to my desire to mark my stamp in the world of computers?

Fortunately I am not in Dell.

But what is Dell thinking? Dell, that has been forefront of marketing ideas has now resorted to this? It definitely is a marketing opportunity, I agree, but where is the pride? Dell even calls their machine with the same name ("All In One").

You see the two models (Dell and Apple) and let me know what you think of the two.

No wonder Apple is rocking the hinges of the world and Dell is reduced to a also-ran.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Learning Organisations Survive Longer

In the book, The Fifth Discipline, Peter Senge mentions some half a dozen or so companies whose leaders helped crystallize the concept of Learning Organization. This was in 1992, remember.

So I decided to see if the companies are still around or vanished ( I believe most of the companies mentioned in the giant best seller In Search of Excellence vanished within a few years).

Here's how ...

Hanover Insurance: As per them "Since January 2008, The Hanover is the only significant financial services company to be upgraded by A.M. Best, Moody's, and Standard and Poor's." Not bad. Not bad at all.

Herman Miller: Brian Walker, Chief Executive Officer, stated, "We were encouraged by our results this quarter for a number of reasons. The ramp-up in orders over the first quarter reflects the pattern of seasonal improvement we anticipated coming into the period. While orders remain below prior year levels, we were encouraged to see demand follow a more normalized trend this quarter." Hmmm.. Ok. Not bad.

Analog Devices: They seem to alive and kicking and innovating. So again. Not bad.

Apple: I own an iMac and iPod myself. I am waiting for their Tablet. They just rock!

Ford: The only of the Big Three to still hold their head high.

Polaroid: Frankly when I first heard of them - ages ago - with their instant photographs, I was not sure who would like to buy them. The cameras seem bulky and were very expensive in India. With the arrival of digital camera I was very sure they would disappear. I was obviously wrong. See here. They are still around and innovating. Good for them.

Royal Dutch / Shell: Deep sea oil find in Brazil; Contract in Iraq. They seem to be doing well.

Trammell Crow: I have never heard of them. My bad. But if a real estate development and investment company has survived 2009, they can't be too bad either.

So there you have it. All companies alive and kicking. Learning Organization cannot be such a bad thing then.

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Are Cricketers Sissies?

Am I the only one seeing it this way, or there others with similar opinion?

Here's a list of equipment that a batsman has for protection against fast bowlers:

a) Helmet often with a visor - to protect the head, the temple, and the face.

b) Gloves - to protect the fingers

c) Pads - to protect the knee and the shin

d) Abdomen Guard - to protect the family jewels

e) Thigh Guard, Elbow Guard, Arm Guard, Chest Guard - to protect, well, thigh, elbow, arm, and chest.

Is there any part of the body that is exposed that could be damaged by a fast ball?

Oh yes! The foot.

So, the batsmen wear some pretty heavy duty shoes.

So why was yesterday's ODI between India and Srilanka canceled?

Was the pitch that bad?

Or was it because the Srilankan team were scared of beaten hollow having scored very few runs on the board?

Or is it that cricketers are now used to only flat pitches and they have forgotten how to duck and weave and hook and pull? (Hey! We make 300+ runs on flat pitches. We must be great!)

Or was it because it was a dead rubber and Srilankan and Indian players just wanted to go home and relax?

Or are the Cricketers plain sissies?

I think they should switch to playing with tennis balls.

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Friday, December 25, 2009

Free Online Brain Training

This is an excellent site.
Just playing games for 10 minutes a day - just 10 minutes - will help sharpen your brain power.
And what is more, IT IS FREE.
They have many interesting games. And the brain area they focus on are: Speed, Memory, Attention, Flexibility and Problem Solving.
So, without hesitation register yourself at Lumosity and reclaim your brain (this is Lumosity's TM).
Highly recommended!
One day you will return to this blog to thank me.

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Great Resource for MBA Students and a Job Opportunity

Internet can be such a tease.
There are occasions when a google search could be so frustrating. You try and try but never get what you desire. Only lot of junk.
And some days, a little digging could turn out to be serendipitous.
Consider this ...
I am reading Globality and one of the authors is an Indian, Arindam K. Bhattacharya. The back cover indicates that he works at The Boston Consulting Group's New Delhi office. On a lark I decided to check out the BCG website.
And guess what I discovered?
They actually have a wonderful page - carefully hidden within their "Join BCG" page - that lets you actually practice on a few business cases. They call it Practice Cases. I think this is a great resource for an MBA student. Even if you are not an MBA student or an MBA degree holder, but were always interested in business management, this is a great (fun!) resource. Try it out. Who knows? You may actually end up applying for and getting a job at the BCG!!! Won't that be fun? Yes, you may thank me profusely. On this blog.
Or perhaps you are in middle management vying for a top post and wish to get an edge (in a nice way) over your colleague, this could help you. Imagine saying in a meeting, "From a size and growth perspective, this looks like a very attractive market." (I am just joking, of course!)
They also have what the call an Interactive Case page. It is definitely worth trying that out too.
Let me know if you enjoyed cracking these business situation.
And if you really enjoy business case studies, why not visit this too.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Glamour in Management Book

I am into the 3rd page of this book: Globality: Competing with Everyone from Everywhere for Everything by Harold L. Sirkin, James W. Hemerling and Arindam K, Bhattacharya, and I already wonder who this book is written for. Or perhaps I am biased.
Consider this extract from the book: "And Embraer {the Aerospace Company] grew up in a South American country [Brazil] much better known for coffee, oranges, diamonds and steel - and supermodel Gisele Bündchen ..."

Supermodel Gisele Bündchen??
Is that a bigger name than football stars Pelé, Garrincha, Zico, Ronaldo, Kaká, ... I could go on ...?

Oh I understand.
The authors want to introduce sex appeal to make the book interesting.
Or perhaps, the book's primary readers are from a country where football is played with hands and Gisele is a better known name than Kaká.
Or both. Which is a pity. The book is very interesting and is definitely suitable for a wider audience.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Newspapers are the Jokers in the Global Warming Debate

"Global Warming is Not a Myth: Temperature in the City [Bangalore] has changed by 2 degrees."

This is a headline in Times of India.
Unfortunately, this is exactly the kind of moronic headlines that detracts people from understanding what Global Warming is all about.
And moronic is an understatement.

The news is about a workshop on Climate Change and Sustainable Development organised in Bangalore by The Energy and Research Institute (TERI). To be fair to the workshop, the increase of the 2 degree rise in temperature is attributed to changes in land usage and poor city planning ("The cut-and-paste model used by architects who duplicate European style is an additional factor. Buildings in tropical countries like India don't need to absorb heat ...").

But screaming your lung out (half an inch high, bold headlines is screaming) that Global Warming is not a myth because the temperature of a poorly planned city that has cut trees and placed concrete slabs all over is just bad science and irresponsible press.

Local warming may or may not contribute to Global Warming. It is very important to distinguish between the two phenomenon. Here's a short, good article on the subject: Are Urban Heat Islands Linked to Global Warming?. To reiterate the article's main point: "An urban heat island is a metropolitan area that is significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas. Unlike global warming, which entails a worldwide rise in temperatures, heat islands occur at the local level."

Global Warming is a serious issue being discussed on various fora. There seems to be consensus but no one knows for sure. The dissenters seem to make sense too. As it is it is difficult to determine who is correct, who is not. In midst of all this, irresponsible newspaper reporting is the last thing the debate needs.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Miracles and Expectations

I hope for miracles.
But I do not expect it.
Even if it is something as big as the Copenhagen meet.

I certainly do not expect that one Mr. Obama will go to his country and tell his people that he has agreed to a huge cut in our carbon emission because we are rich enough. So please slow down your growth, divert your valuable resources to find greener solutions; so what if unemployment grows for some time. After all saving Earth is more important that unemployment, right? And oh by the way, I have also pledged huge amount of money to the developing and underdeveloped country.

I also do not expect one Mr. Manmohan Singh to go to his (and my) country and tell his countrymen that he has agreed to huge cuts in carbon emission since we have achieved sufficient progress. The world knows we could become an economic power some day. So for some time let us not worry about the millions who still live under or very near the poverty line. Let's get the environment under control, let us save our future generations; so what if the present generation suffers a little.

You actually think heads of nation can solve this mess?
Then you are naive.

Yeah you have heard / seen those massive protest rallies; but you seriously think the rest of the world is worried. We may tut-tut for some time, but then drive down to a shop 10 minutes from our house in a car.

We human have a peculiar characteristic. We think that we take actions taking into account long-term effect but actually we react only when the danger is imminent and effects us. In this way we are different from animals. They also react when the danger is imminent. But at least they do not claim to take long-term into consideration.

Yes I do believe in miracles.
I will continue to do so.

"Hum ko maloom hai jannat ki hakikat lekin;
Dil ko khush rakhney ko Ghalib yeh khayal achcha ha
I know the truth about heaven; however it is a happy thought to have.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Free Ebook and Great Links

Seth Godin has done it again.
He is the face of innovation on the Internet and he offers this ebook free.
It is called What Matters Now.
Even if you haven't heard of him (unlikely!) or do not appreciate his style of writing (possible!), I would recommend that you download this ebook.
For this e-book is a compilation of 70 cutting edge thinkers and innovators.
A must read for everyone. Highly recommended.
What have you got to lose anyway? It is free!
And if you like it, spread the word around.
By the way, to me the ebook is a rich source of great links. Every author who has written an article has a link to either a blog, or a tweet, or a website or a book, or all of these. And I intend to follow up every link within the next week or so.

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Worst Case Scenarios

"If the worst-case scenario played itself out - not the potential or likely, but the worst - would that be acceptable?"
This is the advise that James M. Wilson offers clinical scientists. This comes from experience of the saddest kind. In 1999, James M. Wilson was the head of the institute that ran a gene therapy experiment that resulted in death of a 18 year old boy. (See! That's the thing. You get to hear a lot about the miracles of stem cell therapy. How many times have you heard voices of sanity that says, "Slow down! Reflect!") - you can read all about it; just click on the link above.
If you think about it, the above warning is applicable to all those who are in the position to influence. Whether it is IPCC, or World Leaders, or CEO of a company, or a Project Manager or a Parent. The question remains the same: Would the worst-case scenario be acceptable to you?
One might argue that this could lead to paralytic inaction. On the other hand, this could well turn out to be the basis of meaningful, positive action.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Of Antibiotics and Myths

You go to a doctor with fever. He recommends a blood test and then scribbles out a almost-undecipherable prescription of an antibiotic course.
But wait, have you ever thought what these antibodies are?
I certainly didn't.
Not until I came across this in the September 2009 issue (Yeah! I know. I am running late) of Scientific American India: "Most medically important antibiotics come from soil bacteria. Conventional wisdom holds that dirt microbes evolved these compounds as lethal weapons in the fierce battle waged beneath out feet for food and territory."
This Special Issue of the Scientific American is one of the best in recent years. It covers the origins of as diverse a topic as The Mind to Ball Bearings to Scotch Tape to Computing. In other words, a treasure trove for those who like their information in small packages.
I think it is possible to order back issues. Try your luck here and see if they still have a copy for you.
Before I leave you another snippet: "A popular factoid claims that water running down a drain turns in one direction in the Southern Hemisphere and the opposite in the Northern Hemisphere. The idea is a myth: although the Coriolis force is strong enough to direct the winds of hurricanes when acting over hundreds of miles for days, it is far too weak to stir a small bowl of water in the scant seconds the water takes to run down the drain." And I have been teaching my sons all the wrong things.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Bad Politician Good Politician

In a previous post I had proposed that the following extract from Economics In One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics by Henry Hazlitt applies to managers too:

The bad economist sees only what immediately strikes the eye; the good economist also looks beyond. The bad economist sees only the direct consequence of a proposed course; the good economist looks also at the longer and indirect consequences. The bad economist sees only what effect of a given policy has been or will be on one particular group; the good economist inquires also what the effect of the policy will be on all groups.

However, it is more apt for the politicians. Just replace the word economist with politician in the above extract and you have the snapshot of the chaos that is created by the government's knee-jerk reaction to the Telegana problem.

In fact, the paragraph actually describes all politicians. All. So it is worth repeating the whole paragraph with appropriate words:

The bad politician sees only what immediately strikes the eye; the good politician also looks beyond. The bad politician sees only the direct consequence of a proposed course; the good politician looks also at the longer and indirect consequences. The bad politician sees only what effect of a given policy has been or will be on one particular group; the good politician inquires also what the effect of the policy will be on all groups.

Of course, some of you may argue that 'good politician' is something of an oxymoron.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Diving Deep Into Visual Link Spanish

The package I was waiting from the US Institute of Languages, Visual Link Spanish Level 1, arrived the day before yesterday. What surprised me was the speed of delivery. I was charged exactly $0.00 for standard delivery (read slow delivery). And I received the package much before the promised date (6-10 weeks). Makes you wonder why books ordered on Amazon take so long and why do they charge so much for standard delivery? But I am digressing.

Naturally I dived straight in. I am thrilled that what I got is exactly what I expected.

This is a basic level course. The CD-ROM forms the main part of the course although there are other bits and pieces attached (such audio CD's, free English - Spanish - English dictionary, a tiny booklet, etc.)

Although I have been learning Spanish for some time now - mainly with the help of audio courses on my iPod and therefore I was a little apprehensive - I find that this course is helpful. In two ways: first I get to revise whatever Spanish I know so far. and second, the presentation is so well designed that I get to learn new material quickly. There are so many activities that ensures I practice what I learn. I find myself actually mumbling phrases in Spanish.

I particularly enjoy the lessons that are generative. Here's what I mean. Most of the lessons (though not all) have words divided into groups. New sentences (not just the one prompted in the lessons) can be formed by combining the words for these groups.
I look forward to move to higher levels of Spanish once I complete Level 1, which should not take that long.

You can try out the first few lessons free if you click on the link above or click on the pyramid on the right.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Smart Phones are Changing Lives

Smart Phones are here to redefine every aspect of your life.
You can play music on it.
You can see Youtube and movies.
You can play sophisticated games on it.
Browse, read emails, send emails, twitter, talk. text, interface with face book, check out weather, plan your journey, get news alerts, share photographs and video, ... you can also pay your bills at the supermarket counter ... the list goes on.

Soon personal navigation will come packaged with Smart Phones. Google has cast the first stone. Its voice-assisted turn-by-turn navigation is already available on smart phones with Android OS. And Garmin and TomTom are already shaking in their boots.

Let's try and speculate what else could be done using a smart phone ...

1) Step-by-step Cooking Instructions: imagine being guided through a delicious Chicken Butter Masala. Yummy!

2) Language Translation: Oh! I am not talking just about Google Translate or Google Dictionary. Imagine if you could speak into the smart phone in English and it the translates the sentence into Spanish, German, French, etc., loud enough for the native to hear. You then hold up the phone to record the response and there! you have the response translated into English.

3) How about a scanner? You like the camera but are not sure if this is the nest deal you can get. Scan the bar code and get instant comparison of the prices listed in all stores in your vicinity.

4) Another one on shopping. You come across a photograph of an absolutely fabulous flower vase as you wait for your turn at the barber (ok! hair stylist). You click the photograph using your smart phone and you instantlyget the location of all the places you can buy that vase. And the price, of course.

5) Say goodbye to passports and visas. Smart phone is here.

I could think up a dozen more applications.
What would you like your smart phone to do?

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Time For New Year Resolutions; Already?

New Year Resolutions?
There is time yet I am sure!
Sadly no.

Most New Year Resolutions fail within the first few weeks.
Perhaps, we make such resolutions at the spur of the moment without giving it proper thought or planning.

Merely promising yourself that you are committed to something is not sufficient.
So, if you are serious about resolutions, you may wish to pick up tips from Chris Guillebeau.

Here's another tip: Since an important part of new resolutions is to look back at what has been, a great place to start is your emails. If you are the type who does not regularly delete emails from your "Sent Items", it might be worthwhile browsing from Jan 2009. You will be amazed by what you discover.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Biusiness Model For Wikipedia

I believe Wikipedia has a flawed business model. It depends primarily on donation.

I am sure many donate; but not that many.
Businesses cannot work on donations.
Only NGOs can.
And Wikipedia is clearly not an NGO.

Paid subscription seems to be an obvious way. This is the Encyclopedia Britannica model. I am not sure this is going to be hugely successful. The Wikipedia is a collaborative effort, so I cannot see a contributor ready to pay for using the wiki. In fact, it is more likely that a contributor will demand payment.

On the other hand, a collaboration with Google could actually rake in moolah. Google can place context-based advertisements in the wiki and share the revenue with Wikipedia and the contributors. This might actually reverse the loss in the number of contributors reported recently in the news (see here)

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Shaming Into Positive Action

It is unlikely that any of you would have come across this advertisement. It is very industry specific and relates to the aerospace industry.
The advertisement shows a DAC International's Gen-X Electronic Flight Bag in a fish tank with this wonderful catch phrase ... NOT THAT YOU WOULD BUT YOU COULD.

Now this can be used in a variety of scenario. Here goes ...

To the world leaders meeting at Copenhagen from today: Not that you would but you could [make the world a better place]

To the environmental scientists: Not that you would but you could [stop squabbling and do some real scientific work]

To Mukesh and Anil Ambani: No that you would but you could [stop converting your sibling rivalry into corporate war]

To the terrorists: Not that you would but you could [start behaving like decent human beings for a change]

You get the idea. The use is almost universal.
An extremely brilliant, use-in-all-situations kind of phrase, don't you agree?

And finally to myself: Not that you would but you could [stop publishing such crap in the name of serendipity on this blog]

How would you like to use it?

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cricket? Yeah! Hockey? What?

India is Team No. 1 in cricket. It has been a long, hard journey and the end result is certainly sweet. We all rejoice. I really hope we maintain this position for a long, long time to come. And we are the team that all other countries look to beat.

But spare a thought for Hockey too, which was once the pride of India.
How many of us knew that the Champions Trophy is being played right now, as I type?
We did not even qualify for the Champions Trophy being played in Australia.

We will play in the 2010 Hockey World Cup though.
By virtue of being the host nation. Not because we won any qualifying tournaments (see here)
But this is a chance. If India wins the World Cup, hockey will regain it position in India.
I hope the Indian Hockey team is hard at work.
They do not have much time.
The World Cup Hockey will be played in N. Delhi from 28th Feb to 13th March, 2010.

Ok one more question: how many of you knew that the World Cup Hockey will be played in India in 2010?

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The Tour of Nilgiris 2010

A few days ago, a colleague of mine asked if I was participating in the Tour of Nilgiris. Since I am not, I replied with a no without giving much thought to it.
However, it must have stuck in my mind somewhere.
For I cannot think of any reason why the first thing that came to my mind this morning was I should participate.
So here I am committing to myself that I will take on the Nilgiris within the next two years.
Ideally, I would like to go for it in 2010; I have a year with me.
But since this year there were 300 applicants and only 70 are allowed to participate I give myself one more year.

The Tour of Nilgiris is a 8-day 900km bicycle tour.
It takes the rider through Bangalore, Mysore, Hassan, Madkari, and Ooty.
It is non-competitive. Sure it is no Tour de France, but at the age of (almost) 45, this is what I look forward to.

More that the tour, it is likely to be a discovery of self. Will keep posted - most probably will launch a new blog to track my progress as I go from a occasional-cycling enthusiast to a full-blast tour cyclist.

Nilgiris, here I come.

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Saturday, December 5, 2009

India-Unfriendly Amazon Kindle

I repeat Amazon Kindle is not very India-friendly.
I have two.

First, all those e-books that were free on kindle before the launch of Kindle International are now priced at at least $2.00. Funny! I so no reason why this should be so. Unless Amazon thinks this is an easy way of making some quick money.

Second, there are several books, that can be sole to India but the Kindle version is not available for Indian Readers. Case in point: The Informant by Kurt Eichenwald.

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Paid-For News on Internet

I fail to understand how the pay-for-news-and-analysis business model works on the Internet. I would of course like to pay for news that is exclusive and analysis that is trenchant, leading to a distinct financial and strategic advantage for me. Such models can also work if scarcity is drummed up.
But this: news about Bing Maps??? I can read this on the Indian edition of the WSJ if and only if I subscribe to it. Wow! I thought! Must be really exclusive!
One search on the Internet and I get to know everything - everything - about Bing Maps. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
So why would someone pay for news?
News, on any media, should be free and easily accessible.
Business dealing with news can make money only through advertisements.
This is true of newspapers, true of news channels on TV and definitely true of news on Internet.

Coming back to WSJ, India.
I visit it regularly.
It has a collection of articles and news that interest me.
And when I encounter some article that is locked only for subscribers, I merely skip it; sure that I will find information on it from the Internet - free.

If you are a subscriber, perhaps you can explain me your point of view.

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Global Warming: A Story of Hard(ly) Scientific Data and Gimmicks

Shortly after Maladives holding underwater cabinet meeting (see here), we have Nepal holding cabinet meeting on the slopes of the Everest (see here).

Perhaps they are not aware of the very basis of IPCC's dooms day warning lies in shambles (see here)

We do not need gimmicks ... we need quick action based on hard scientific data.

Hard scientific data? Are you joking? Read this here.

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Gateway to Learning Spainsh Rapidly

See the stepped Mayan Pyramid on the right hand strip of this blog? That is the Pyramid in the Mayan city of Chichen-Itza, Mexico. That is also the gateway to an incredible software that guarantees that you will learn good Spanish in fairly quick time. Click on the pyramid.I have tried it and hence I recommend it to you unhesitatingly.

And the best thing is that you need not buy it to get started.

They - Visual Link Spanish - offer a free CD. The free CD contains their first chapter with some 11 lessons. They charge you a postage and handling of $1.95. but that's about all. This money is refunded if you buy the entire package.
This first chapter in itself is sufficient to get you started speaking in fairly good accent.

Now, if you are not interested in paying even $1.95, you can try the demo online too. The demo is identical to the CD.

Having tried the CD, I am already in love with the course and am now eagerly awaiting the delivery of the package.

Here's hoping we converse in Spanish one of these days.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Noise Isolating Devices

Ever dreamed of driving on one of the busy cities of India but nit being bothered by the noise? For those who have not experienced this, it is a nightmare.
Here you are driving back home, after a long hard day, and all you wish to do it reach home safely with the least amount of stress. Half a kilometer from your home, the traffic signal turns red. So, you stop, switch off the engine and wait patiently. Perhaps, you are listening to some music. The traffic light turns green, and wham! every bus, truck, car, scooter. motor cycle, start pressing their horns, honking with all their might, as if willing to move the traffic by sound energy. What do they expect? Traffic to flow like water?
Well, no use carping about it. SO what is the next best thing to do?
Cut off the noise.
A good noise-isolating headphone or a earphone should do the trick.
Noise-canceling headphones are no good in this situation; they work on feedback and are best suited for a constant frequency noise (such as that from aircraft engine).
For variable frequency, variable magnitude noise, noise-isolation works best.
What is noise isolation?
insert your forefingers in your ear. You block of fair amount of sound waves. That os noise isolation for you.
I recently got hold of Shure 210. There are some adverse reviews on this ear phone, but to tell you the truth, I have never been happier. It has good fidelity and has excellent noise isolating ear plugs.
If you are not so sure, or not a music-listening kind of person, here is one more method.
But some swimming ear plugs - the ones that flex.
Use those and I guarantee you stress-less driving on Indian roads.
But do not use if you ride to bike. The requirements are different. You want to stay alive while riding your cycle on Indian roads.

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