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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Spanking needs one hand, but to applaud you need two hands!

Two days back, I was lashing out at Linkspank with all the power I had just because they made a simple mistake of sending out my password in a plain email. After writing it, I got into an argument with myself, "Why I am becoming a pessimist by criticizing the efforts of other guys?"

There are lots of people who are born for criticizing. Like Hank Williams.

So, I thought, "What if I write some good things about some website?"

But as my title goes, you can spank with one hand, but for applauding you need two hands! So, I need more energy to applaud. (I am grateful to have two hands!)

I thought for sometime and finally decided. Every week, I will take a website and cut through them. If it's good, "It Rocks!" and if it's bad, "It Sucks!"

So, watch out for more spanking and applause.....

Ubuntu "Hardy Heron" is out

The latest version of the coolest OS on Earth is out.

Ubuntu 8.04 aka Hardy Heron is out. And you have both a Desktop Edition and a Server Edition.

You can get it here.

Also, if you want a free CD to be delivered to home,check out Shipit. But please don't overload them with multiple requests!

Hardy Heron Desktop

The next version, Intrepid Ibex (8.10) will probably hit the "net" on 30th October 2008 (They follow a six-month gap between releases).

BTW, does "Hardy Heron" mean "Hardly Heroin" ?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Chaos Theory: In Kitchen, Programming and Gambling

This is a guest post by Soham Das of Jump Up. His passion is analyzing markets and stocks. His blog stands out for his pragmatic style. He is also a regular writer for Seeking Alpha.

My mom always told, 'how lousy a cook, I will be'. Don’t ask me, why she told me, but yes, she had her reasons. I did things like, boiling a pan of water and just when it has started boiling, reduce the flame, and drop a droplet of ink. Funny eh!

Well, if you ask me, I enjoyed watching the intricate patterns that ink made while dissolving. It was awesome. Oh yeah! and it followed the image given in this post, for a while. [Drop a droplet of honey; you can see it forming better].

Ink dissolves in water really fast and hence it might be barely visible, so the next time when you are offering agarbattis to your Gods, observe the smoke. It will be whirling like that image.

So what does this has to do with me?, you might ask.

Well everything!

All these and much more are fantastic examples of chaotic system. What does chaos mean? In real life, we say chaos is randomness. But in maths, No!

Chaos Maths has an inherent thing going. You can find the end result of any chaotic system as long as you are not making a measurement error. The moment you make one, you are gone! This error will roll like a snowball, and keep on accumulating and getting scaled up, causing a total mismatch in the end results. Total mismatch? Think about, the statement,

Flapping of the butterfly in Brazil can cause typhoons in Mexico

That mismatch.

Pardon me, if I am dramatising, but in effect this is what is observed. Long long time back, one meteorologist, was studying and simulating weather models in his computer[wait a minute! computers existed those days? ]

What he found that, the same simulation running twice with different sets of initial condition, gave mind bogglingly different result. It was our dear ol’ friend Lorenz who talked first about Lorenz attractor and chaos theory. And in effect weather is a chaotic system.

Many of us think, that chaos is too much of a non-existent to even start bothering about, so all ye! Software engineers write a program to iterate this function: 2x2-1 with different initial conditions. Try 0.75 first and then try 0.7499. You will find some lovely reasons to think about!

So before the next time you gamble at a roulette table, forget that it’s a random system, and forget even predicting it, by Physics. It is most likely to turn wrong. No points for guessing why!

Till next time. Ciao!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

10 Reasons Why Linkspank Sucks!

Today, I came across yet another networking and linking site, Linkspank. They have a great interface. But, other than that, it sucks! The backend is one of the worst I have experienced. Also, the lack of a proper idea is clearly visible. Other than coining the term "Linkspank", they don't have any innovation.

Well, I will write about it one by one.

1. Encryption, what is it?

The first and foremost thing a site should take care of is encryption of user details. Linkspank has completely forgotten about it.

When I signed up for an account, I got the confirmation mail. And to my horror, it contained my email address and password in simple English! WTF!! See below.

When it comes to referring your friends, how do they expect the users to trust them with their email user name and password? And they have put some Email Privacy Pledge too!

2. Profile - What is it actually?

I have filled up my name,email, password,location info,blog url and even submitted one spank. But why is my profile still showing just 14% complete! What do they actually want?

In this time of bursting Web 2.0, no one has the time to fill out long forms with all the details and make a profile. It should be simplest of all - An email id, a screen name, password and website or blog url. Sweet, simple and it serves the purpose.

3. Contests - A Waste of Time (and money?)

Contests. How many of us participate? Maybe a handul. Maybe 3 in 100.

Linkspank is a site that is targeting the so-called geeks and bloggers. Do we really care for contests? I don't think so. Maybe Linkspank should see the Karma Point model of Mixx!

4. Linkspank Researcher!! OMG!!

What is a Linkspank researcher?

Answer from this page: "A Linkspank Researcher is a skilled procrastinator who gets paid to spank links regularly. You can apply to be a researcher at the Researcher[link] page."

So, you get paid when you spank. It's really that simple. Metamorphically, it is like Digg paying you real cash when you sent a shout to 10 people! Sounds cool, isn't it! Yeah, sounds crazy also!!

5. One year and still struggling...

56249530,697. Well, how do you say it?

Anyway, that is the Alexa Rank for Linkspank!! That's too high(!), for a site launched more than one year back!

6. Is Blogging a kids play?

Well, our guys seems to think so. First of all, their blog sucks!

a. Quality has been decreasing exponentially. They started blogging in 2006 and there has been a steady decrease in the quality of the post. Nowadays, they write bull-shit!

b. It's hosted in blogger! Such a long running blog for a website still depends on Blogger! I don't get it. Maybe, they plan to make money by putting some easy ads there!

c. "Super. Official. Blog" : What does it mean?

These guys love antonyms. Maybe they have done their Master's in English!

First - It sucks. (I think I already told that!). So, antonym - "Super"

Second - Hosted in Blogger. Means, it's "Official".

Third - Blog. For me, blogs are something that reports or write about something. Once upon a time, Linkspank Blog also used to be that, but finally they ended up as an aggregator for their site.

Also, it's really interesting to see ZERO spanks for the links in the post from April 18!

7. Ads, what are they?

Other than a Spot ad that I found on the Linkspank blog, I didn't see any ads anywhere. So, what are their plans? Even Great Google has said that it is difficult to cash on social networking. Is Linkspank gonna spank Google by revolutionizing the advestising field? Maybe, mostly not.

8. Where is the great CEO?

A Google search for Linkspank led me to the Linkedin profile of Andrew Mitchell, the CEO of Linkspank Inc. (Greater Boston Area). A great profile.

Past: MBA Summer Intern at Google
Consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton

Education: University of Chicago - Graduate School of Business
Harvard University

Great! Awesome! But why did he pursue this lame plan!

9. Worst Home Page!

The beauty of Digg is that it arranges everything perfectly. But, here, at Linkspank, it really sucks. From the time I started writing this (it has been about 28 hours), I am seeing the same news - "Condeleezza Rice in Iraq for surprise visit."

Of course this is due to the lack of activity, but who is to blame for that!

10. Flawed Strategy and Flawed Marketing

Social Networking has rung the death knell for startups long ago. Even then, Linkspank thought they have a great idea and jumped into it. "Whenever you startup, it should be planned properly." Andrew missed the point!

Here's the job description for the post of CTO in Linkspank posted in Readwriteweb in December 2007.

"Do you like wearing both admin and programmer hats? Do you enjoy solving annoying technical problems? Do you find databases sexy? Do you like to roll up your sleeves and DO stuff?"

a. I hate wearing hats. I think it's old-fashioned.

b. Enjoy solving technical problems. Well, Yeah!

c. Sexy Databases....I have been working with databases for the last 10 months. Especially Oracle and Teradata. Did I find them sexy? Hmm. Maybe SQL and Sex are 3-letter words!

d. Roll up my sleeves! Come on, I wear sleeveless always!!

An extra reason- It has been one day(29 hours to be exact) since I joined Linkspank. I got a mail to add as a friend from Spank Droid. Looks like he's one of the founders. Because I see Andrew in his friend list. So, was I the only(or the few you can count with your fingers) who joined Linkspank yesterday? Shall I spank them?

(P.S - I usually don't like criticizing too much. In this case, the spark was started by Linkspank themselves when I got the email which plainly put my password alongwith my email. It made me do this!!)

Send me a mail about what you think about this post.

Celebrating World Earth Day

April 22nd is World Earth Day. Search Engines have also jumped into the bandwagon with their own ways of celebrating.

Here's Google's Logo.

Yahoo came up with a Flash one!

Sorry, you have to check it out in Yahoo! site itself. Also, they also launched Yahoo! Green.

Live Search, as usual, didn't do anything much. They just changed their template color to green!!

And Flock, the social-web browser (powered by Mozilla), did their part by providing the Eco-Edition. Check it out. It's really cool.

Also, read about how Google celebrated Earth Hour.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Rah-man-ia Rocks Chennai!!

Chennai Rocked Yesterday! It was A R Rahman who did the job. Along with him, Shankar Mahadevan, Hariharan, Naresh Iyer, Javed Ali, Madhusree, Chinmayi, Sivamani and Naveen did wonders.

It was at the St.George school grounds in the Poonamalle High Road. Organized by the Times of India (they were giving away free passes for the standing gallery!), the event made Chennai cry for more!

As in any other place, intially there was a bit of pushing by the crowd. But when the Mozart of India came on stage, everything fell into place. Three enthralling hours!! It was best evening in my life!!

Here's a track listing for those who missed it. Also, I have recorded it in my old Nokia. You can download it from Esnips. And for playing it, you need to have Nokia Multimedia Player. You can get it here.

The best of the evening were Kannodu Kanbathellam from Jeans (with a never heard before classical intro) and Khwaja Mere Khwaja from Jodhaa Akbar by the legend ARR himself.

1. Guru - Jaage + intro
2. ATM - Title song
3. Rahman speaks
4. Alaipayuthe - Endendrum Punnagai
5. Sivaji - Vaaji Vaaji
6. Sangamam - Varaga Nadhi
7. Guru - Barso Re
8. Rahman Speaks Again
9. Sillinu Oru Kadhal - New York Nagaram
10. Boys - Girlfriend
11. Jodhaa Akbar - Jash-e-Bahaara
12. RDB - Roobaroo
13. Sillinu Oru Kadhal - Munbe Vaa
14. Jeans - Kannodu - intro
15. Jeans - Kannodu
16. Dil Se - Dil Se Re
17. Jodhaa Akbar - In Lamhoan
18. Sivaji - Athiradi
19. Dil Se - Chaiyya Chaiyya
20. Azeem-o-shah + Veerapandi + Sivamani(Drums)
21. Sivaji - Oru Kudai
22. Pray for me brother - Part 1
23. Pray for me brother - Part 2
24. Bombay Theme
25. Jodhaa Akbar - Khwaja
26. Udhayaa - Udhayaa
27. Guru - Ay Harithe
28. Doli Sajake Rekhna - Tumhari
29. Guru - Maiya Maiya
30. ATM - Madhuraikku
31. Guru - Tere Bina
32. Bombay - Arabikadoloram
33. Vande Mataram

Enjoy it. Again, the download link.

Here's the ad for the event.

Windows Vista - A work in Progress! (for eternity!)

'"How many of you use Live Search as your default?" Ballmer asked.

A smattering of hands went up. Tepid applause.

"How many of you use Yahoo search as your default?"

Far fewer hands went up and the room was relative quiet, until it filled with laughter.

Ballmer, trying again, louder this time, "How many of you use Yahoo search as your default?"

The same response.

"Wow, we offered 31 bucks a share," he said, to more laughter.

"How many of you use Google as your default?" Ballmer asked.

The vast majority in the audience raised their hands, cheering and hooting.

Ballmer looked around. Smiled. Scratched his cheek. Rubbed his face with his hand.

[After sometime...]

"Windows Vista," he said, pausing for a moment, "A work in progress."

The crowd laughed and applauded. '

Ballmer was talking to Microsoft's Most Valuable Professionals. And he made them fools again. (It's 21 days since April 1st, but still!)

They should have cried. They should have howled. They should have, well, killed him.

I love the last line. "A work in progress." Maybe for eternity. Maybe till the world ends. Maybe till Microsoft lasts. Maybe till Linux or Mac takes over. Maybe till Google acquires Microsoft. In other words, "Windows Vista Sucks!"

Ok. I am stopping here. You can read about the details of the meeting here. Also, check out why I sang Bleed it Out!

And here's a nice post to supplement his - What Microsoft could(?) learn from Apple?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Apple, Vodafone and some stories!

A Breaking News.

iPhone is going to be released in India by September. Vodafone is reportedly to be the carrier.

"The Cupertino, California-based company, according to Apple retail sources, said initially the 8 GB version of the much-hyped touchscreen device -- which combines Wi-Fi capabilities with a powerful email client, TV feeds, online music store and map-based location guide -- will be launched at a price ranging between Rs 27,200 and Rs 28,000"

"The carrier deal for India is being worked out with Vodafone," said an Apple source.

ArtsTechnica and Rediff have caught up with the news.

I think this is going to be a big mistake for Apple since there are already around 10,000 - 15,000 unlocked iPhones in India. I believe a majority of them, around 75% will be Airtel customers. So, if Apple wants to sweep India just like it did in US and Europe, then it needs not just Vodafone, but also Airtel in its kitty.

Below is Airtel's and Vodafone's stats in Metros.
















All India

61,984,721 (32.22%) *

44,126,243 (29.93%) *

* Considering the total GSM connections. Source Wikipedia.

It's a 60:40 (Airtel:Vodafone) play in the Metros. Taking on a whole, Airtel has 33% of India's GSM customers and Vodafone lags behind at 23%. (Till March 2008). So, what does Steve thinks now? A multi-player or a monopoly?

Watch this space for some detailed analysis soon...


Chennai is going to rock on 20th!

Rahman live in Chennai!

Thanks to Times of India for the passes. Will update with my experiences.

Music - The Eternal Being

This is about music. About music that has no boundaries. About music that has no religion. About music that has only one soul. Read on....

The other day, I was listening to some of Rahman's classics (Maybe as a preparation for the concert by the maestro on 20th!). I was particularly enchanted by two songs. One from Jodhaa Akbar and one from Lagaan.

Man Mohanaa, from Jodhaa Akbar (sung by Bela Shende) is his best piece I have ever heard. Even better than the songs from Water! Especially, the interlude before the first stanza is awesome. And if you listen carefully, it has a close similarity to Khawaja Mere Khawaja!

The other one is O Paalanhaare from Lagaan. Sung by the Nightingale of India and Udit Narayanan (He doesn't have a Wikipedia page yet!), it's a soul lifter. I feel it's not just a coincidence that both these songs are about Krishna.

Another thing that came to my mind was that if you think about the creators behind these songs, that will be enough to show the strength of Indian Secularism. The lyrics were penned by Javed Akhtar and the music and mood was set by A R Rahman. "Two muslims creating two masterpeice bhajans on Krishna!" That is the power of music! It crosses all boundaries! And wins the hearts!

You can find the lyrics of Man Mohanaa here and O Paalanhaare here.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Target = FBI!

A retailer helping to break cases? That's what Target Forensic Services does! Originally started to find ways to crack on shoplifters, now they have grown big enough to aid the police and the investigation agencies.

Read the entire story at Forbes. And, when will Big Bazaar get such a team!!

The Flapping of a Butterfly

"Due to nonlinearities in weather processes, a butterfly flapping its wings in Tahiti can, in theory, produce a tornado in Kansas."

The man who said this is no more. Edward Norton Lorenz, the mathematician and the dreamer, passed away yesterday at the age of 90. May God bless his soul.

Now a little about Chaos Theory. I first came to know about it in 2004 when I watched the Ashton Kutcher starrer, The Butterfly Effect. Then, the next year, I took it up as an elective in college. The theoretical explanation for the cause of a tornado by the flapping of a butterfly wing took me to the new realm of mathematics (And of course, like any other ordinary person, I hate Maths! (pdf)).

Chaos theory is modeled from the Strange Attractor notion. One of them is the Lorentz Attractor.

There's a lot more to talk about Chaos Theory. Maybe I will ask my friend Soham Das, who is an expert in this field, to write about it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

"I wanted Rashtrapathi Bhavan to be fully Solar Powered"

Came across an interview with our previous President, Dr. A P J Abdul Kalaam. It's a must read for all Indians. An excerpt:

"Last year I came up with an idea: I felt I should power the Rashtrapati Bhavan completely with solar power. For that I worked on a proposal after completing four years of my Presidential term -- and at the beginning of the fifth year. But then the environmental agencies raised a lot of questions. Before I could answer them, my term ended. I would have liked the Rashtrapati Bhavan to be the first home in India to be powered completely by solar energy.

Read the entire interview - A Leader should know how to manage failure.

"I am a Wikipedia-Brain Surgeon!"

"Whom do you trust, a brain surgeon who learned it from Wikipedia, or one who learned from a medical school?" asks Sharman Lichtenstein, Associate Professor of Information Systems at Deakin University.

Well, I didn't know that Australia has self-taught brain surgeons! That's indeed great great news for me! (No pun intended, I love Aussies!).

This is the worst and out of scope comparison one can give. I doubt how she is able to hold on the post of an Associate Professor! Wikipedia tells me that Deakin is a good university (being named after Alfred Deakin, the second Prime Minister).

Wikipedia is for knowledge sharing. It's information tranfer. Wikipedia dwells on the principle that information should be free. It's a platform for transfer of knowledge from one who knows it to one who doesn't.

So, take the case of a brain surgeon. According to me (and I believe, most of you), surgery is a skill that has to be acquired by learning and practicing. So, if I guy out there wants to know what is Brain Surgery so that he can understand whether his insurance will cover it, should he enroll himself in John Hopkins and toil for five years? This is where Wikipedia comes into play. Well, he can get it from Britannica, but he has to pay for it. Wikipedia makes it available to him for free.

(BTW, there is no page for Brain Surgery in Wikipedia. This is a regular example quoted by Wikipedia haters!)

The only thing that Ms. Sharman points out which is sane is that Wikipedia should not be considered for citations. Who does it?! As far as I know, none of the colleges in India allows it.

Wikipedia is a tool to sow the seed of knowledge. Maybe a kid who reads about Brain & Neurons today in Wikipedia will be ignited to take it up as his career. And then he can tell Ms. Sharman, "Wikipedia made me a Brain Surgeon!"

Read the original post by Sharman Lichtenstein at Wikipedia breeds 'unwitting trust'. Also, check what Techdirt has to say about it.

(Cover for album Brain Salad Surgery by Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Courtesy - Wikipedia)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The name is Bond, James Bond.

I am a die-hard fan of James Bond. I have a good collection of his movies. Also, I own a "rare" copy of Casino Royale, the first novel, written by Ian Fleming. My copy is a reprint done in 1964, 12 years after Casino Royale came out.

Well, today, I came across an interesting story in BBC, about James Bond's birthplace. It turned out to be a surprise that one of his films have been named the same! You can read about it here.

And if you are in UK, check out the Ten O'Clock News on BBC One, on 15 April at 2200 BST.

One more important notice. I have hit my first century! This is my 100th post!

Friday, April 11, 2008

The War of the Words

For the past few weeks, Chennai has been seeing a lot of trendy and classic marketing tactics. Mainly, for the print media.

Well, The Times of India is gonna release their Chennai Edition on the fateful day of April 14. Till now, Chennai was seeing a fierce battle between The Hindu, The Indian Express and Deccan Chronicle. So, how can the three major leaders sit calmly when the Gigantic Times of India is planning to get a share of the pie?

The Hindu came up with the Black & White age-old ad, "Always Contemporary. Always Classic." (All IT guys will see it everyday when they drive through OMR).

The Indian Express is (was?) modern. Or so they call themselves! Well, in Adyar, you can spot the ad saying, "I hate the f***ing shit that TV gives. I want something new!!" (The lines are almost same, and the idea is exactly the same!). If you have some swearing words, can you call it modern? Depends on your perspective!

Deccan Chronicle, DC, as they call themselves, have always been provocative in their marketing. The billboard below will be enough to give you a glimpse of how they are creating traffic jams and accidents in Anna Salai!

(Tnx to SAJA for the pic)

And the new player, The Times of India has put up just one liner!

"Next Change on April 14th"

Updates - Some Stats


in Chennai

All India

The Hindu



Deccan Chronicle



The New Indian Express



Source: Audit Bureau of Circulation for 1st July to 31st December 2007

BTW, Times of India has a circulation of about 2.4 million and it was certified by the Audit Bureau of Circulations as the world's largest selling English broadsheet newspaper.

( If any of you has got a pic of these ads, pls sent it to visakhcr at gmail dot com. Thx a lot!)

Look who's bleeding...!

"For Microsoft, its ecosystem and its customers, the situation is untenable," said Michael Silver and Neil MacDonald in a Gartner sponsored conference in Las Vegas. Their presentation was aptly titled "Windows Is Collapsing: How What Comes Next Will Improve."

"Windows as we know it must be replaced. Backward compatibility is a losing proposition for Microsoft; while it keeps people locked into Windows, it also often keeps them from upgrading," said the analysts.

Well, Windows sucks; everyone knows that. But still they continue using Windows. Even I have both Linux (Fedora) and Windows XP installed in my laptop, but I rarely boot into Linux! So, what the open source and FOSS community learn from this? The biggest competitor and suppressor is bleeding, so make the wound worse and let him bleed to death. (I consider software and companies as masculine!).

Maybe we should get some inspiration from Linkin Park song Bleed it Out!

I(We) bleed it out, Digging deeper just to throw it(Windows) away.

I bleed it out, Digging deeper just to throw it away,

Just to throw it away, Just to throw it away.

I bleed it out.

I bleed it out.

I bleed it out

(P.S - I am a big fan of Mike)

To those who liked this post - Subscribe to my feed and come back, I have got some ideas that will help to Bleed it Out!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Free = Dead Pool!

Recently, a lot has been talked about the Economics of Free. Hank Williams wrote a piece that became so notorious that finally he got to talk about it in TV. Also, Coding Horror recently one about it.

Quoting Steven Frank from The First, The Free, and The Best:

"A free program need not be glamorous or even completely bug-free. It can garner a respectable following simply by not costing anything.

I've seen many times people struggle and struggle on with a clunky freeware app just because they're not willing to pay $20 for a significantly better alternative. There's nothing wrong with that particular brand of masochism. People prioritize differently, and money is more valuable than time to a whole lot of people. It's Capitalism in action..."

Hank then talked about the Theory of Artificial Abundance. Finally, he ended up agreeing that it's just another word for bubble 2.0 (read Web 2.0).

I had written sometime back that "Free is the Tagline". If it's a service and you offer it through Internet, it's expected to be free. At least, that's the concept now. But I think it will change as soon as the Dead Pool(not the comics!) in Techcrunch increases and finally goes out of control!

The Toyota Way of Recalling!

News came out that Toyota is gonna recall 539,500 Corolla and Matrix passenger cars because the bolts in the power window system can become loose cause the glass to rattle or shatter. Check out the details here. Anyway, my favorite Prius is not in the list.

But the thing that pops up here is even though they have the Toyota Production System, Just in Time process and Lean Manufacturing incorporated into their blood, how such an error of massive proportion came up? Recently I have been going thorough the Lean system and was trying to practice in my job also.

Anyway, such things are for guys like me to discuss. For those who own a Toyota in United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. territories, call Toyota at (800) 331-4331.

I Got Linked!

This post was written on 3rd April, but kept on postponing publishing it because I was not sure how my readers will react to it. Anyway, after one week of thinking, I finally decided to post it.

I got linked in Michelle Malkin's blog. And better, I was linked alongwith Techcrunch!

"The thing is, as tech bloggers have noted, it takes more energy to power black pages than white ones...."

Check out the full post What’s black, green, and eco-ridiculous all over?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

EU cries "foul" at the Big Brothers

A lot have been talked about the privacy concerns raised by search engines storing the search data and other personal information (like IP address and timestamp). An European Commission study has pointed out that search engines (read Google and Yahoo!) violate European data protection rules by storing the data for longer time. Also, concerns have been raised about lack of user awareness about how the data is being used.

If put into effect, EU can effectively curb the privacy issue all over the planet (at least US!) since it will be difficult to track whether the user is an European or not. Maybe, Google will start asking for you nationality before starting the search. And also, I recommend to all those who fear privacy breach can register a new Google or Yahoo! id with an European nation as the country of residence (or nationality!)


'4.1.1. The fundamental right - respect for private life

"The right to respect for private life, as enshrined in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) lies at the core of European data protection laws. The extensive collection and storage of search histories of individuals in a directly or indirectly identifiable form invokes the protection of Article 8 ECHR. An individual's search history contains a footprint of that person's interests, relations, and intentions. These data can be subsequently used both for commercial purposes and as a result of requests and fishing operations and/or data mining by law enforcement authorities or national security services....." '

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

India's inflation is hurting US!

Came across a report in NY Times about how the inflation in India and other Asian economies is hurting America.

Keith Bradsher writes in Asian Inflation Begins to Sting U.S. Shoppers

"The free ride for American consumers is ending. For two generations, Americans have imported goods produced ever more cheaply from a succession of low-wage countries — first Japan and Korea, then China, and now increasingly places like Vietnam and India...."

The McDonald's is finally here!

Whenever I saw any McDonald's shop or any news about their ventures in India, I wondered why they were not opening one in Chennai. Being one of the largest and developed cities in India, obviously, it's comes in the radar of any such establishment in the first scan itself. But, McDonald's didn't go with that. They waited for 12 years to do that! According to McDonald's India website, the first shop was setup in Basant Lok in 1996. Now, it has grown to about 136 shops all over, well, North India.

Anyway, I went to check out their first outlet in Chennai in Ascendas IT Park on Sunday. Honestly, I was flabbergasted by the rush I saw over there (It was like Thrissur Pooram). Check out some of the snaps I clicked over there.

So, on Monday, after office, I again paid a visit. Eventhough it was a Monday, it was a bit crowded. Anyway, I got a burger within 5 minutes and settled down and posted a hot post right from there!

Well, the burger was good. The service was great. The only problem was that they don't accept cards since the swipe machines are not installed yet. Anyway, Mc is finally in Chennai with a big-bang!

Another interesting news. The first burger from this outlet was sold for a whopping Rs.400000 (Usually priced at Rs.42). Anyway, the money will go to charity and not into Mc's pocket.

There is something called Big Mac Index introduced by The Economist. In order to compare the exchange rate of two countries, Big Mac Index takes Big Mac as the sample basket of good! Using this, they have found out the most expensive and the most affordable countries (Of course, for Big Mac only!). And, don't be aghast when you find that India sells it the cheapest!

Five most expensive

  1. Iceland - US 7.44
  2. Norway - US 6.63
  3. Switzerland - US 5.05
  4. Denmark - US 4.84
  5. Sweden - US 4.59

Five most affordable

  1. India - US 1.40
  2. China - US 1.41
  3. Hong Kong - US 1.54
  4. Malaysia - US 1.57
  5. Venezuela - US 1.58
  6. Egypt - US 1.60
So, enjoy your burger. It's the cheapest in the World!

Thanks to Saju who provided his N95 without hesitation for the pics and mobile blogging. And thanks a lot to George for sending me the pics.

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Big Mac is finally in Chennai

I am writing this from Ascendas in Chennai. The McDonald's has finally opened their first outlet in Chennai. A wait for 12 years has finally ended. Anyway, I will write about it in detail tomorrow. And by the way, this is posted using N95 and using Ascendas Wifi.

Another Messenger of Death?

The Grid.

Maybe some of you have already heard this. Touted as the killer of Internet, grid is a technology that is being developed by CERN, the place where Internet was born. As the name suggests, it is a kind of distributed computing. Even though in the research phase, people have started predicting that like CDs and DVDs made floppy disks extinct, The Grid will make Internet extinct!

Well, I am a bit skeptical. Maybe after 10 years. Maybe 20 years. Even more. Anyway, we have to wait and watch!

Check out the Open Grid Forum. Also, check this from CERN.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Happy Birthday, You Giant!

April 4, 1975. The Giant was born.

The legendary duo of Bill Gates and Paul Allen started out with their venture called Microsoft. It kept on growing and even made the Goliath a humble creature!

Check the entire history of Microsoft in Wikipedia.

Maybe ISO thought the approval of OOXML standard will be a birthday present for Microsoft! (Here's the pdf)

And the legendary Steve Ballmer joined the team 28 years back, on June 11, 1980. I don't know why, but the number reminds me of the Zombie films 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later. Maybe the Open Source Freaks should take a hint from here and make a movie showing the 28 Disastrous Years! Or better, if I get time, I will make one myself!

See what Wired has to say about this. And read more about Zombies here.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Coffee - Brain's best friend

Who will say no to having a hot steaming cup of coffee in the morning? The aroma itself lifts you up. And a little tasty milk will surely make it a great day. Well, the word coffee comes from the Arabic word, qahwat al-būnn (or būnn), which means "wine of the bean". Maybe, that's why we take coffee in the morning and wine at night.

Today, I came across a report in BBC which talks about the effect coffee has on our brain. Check it out and enjoy your cup of coffee.

Yahoo! ; what?

I had run a poll for the past few days asking my readers, "Which of the following companies do you like?"

I had given Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and none as the options. Now, it looks like Yahoo! is a thing of the past for most of us!

Here's the result. Take a look at it and let me know what you think.

Videocon's Masterstoke!

Ever thought what is happening Motorola's once so popular handset business? Seems like, India's Videocon has an eye on them.

News came out yesterday that Videocon has bid for Motorola's loss-making mobile handset business. I will call it the turning point of Videocon. Being in the Indian Electronic Industry for more than 20 years, and having an annual turnover of USD 4 billion, Videocon has a bright future ahead. For the last few years, they have been trying to beome an international brand with a credibility by taking advantage of "Made in India" tag. (The world knows most of the electronic goods are coming from China and others and there has been the problem of decreasing quality. With India becoming the Global IT center, Indian semiconductor industry can also get the "Trust Factor" easily).

Videocon is already taking advantage of this. Their slogan, "The Indian Multinational" itself is a step in this regard. Also, considering India will become the biggest market for mobile handset (maybe second after China) and that too, with a high need for low-end models, Dhoot has done a master stroke. Already, the MotoYuva model is catching up well with the Indian youth, mainly the school and college going ones. And Razr and Rokr were hugely popular in India. (Note the usage of past tense!)

So, if the deal gets through, Venugopal Dhoot would have pulled through a best acquisition that Corporate India has ever seen. But, the thing that nags me is, after failing to get through the bid for Daewoo Electronics, can Dhoot make this work? Time will tell the answer.

Check this great report by CNN.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Digg gone crazy on All Fool's Day!

Has Digg gone crazy? Or is it Kevin's April fool joke? Check out the screenshot ->

(Taken at April 1 2008, 06:07 PM GMT. Thanks a lot Soham for this and the mail. Check out Soham's blog, Jumpup)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Google, Virgin and some fun

Last week, I wrote about the hoaxes that Google had announced on previous All Fool's Day (Google Fool's Day). Well, today, they have again come up with a couple this year also.

It's gDay™ with MATE™. It's a search engine that will allow you to search the "Tomorrow's Web." They call the technology Machine Automated Temporary Extrapolation (MATE). You can check the details here. This time, the hoax is by Google Australia. Doesn't it sound like a lower version of Mentalplex hoax?

In official Google blog, Sir Richard Branson has announced that Virgin and Google will launch Virgle for establishing a permanent human settlement in Mars. They even created a page in Google with the details of Virgle (titled The Adventure of Many Lifetimes!). But, isn't it similar to the Google Copernicus hoax?

Are Google researchers running out of ideas? Maybe they should keep a competition next year to get more and better ideas..

And, today, I was also fooled (at least initially, because I was expecting something to come up) by Michael Arrington and Darren Rowse. Michael came up with a post saying that he is gonna sue Facebook for $ 25 million for displaying an ad which uses his photo. Check it out here at Why we are suing Facebook for $ 25 million in Statutory Damages.

Darren did it better. His PayPerTweet is indeed a great idea which might be taken up by someone soon. (Indeed, in the followup post, he says that the url PayperTweet is already registered!). Check it here at Problogger launches PayPerTweet.

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