Thursday, December 22, 2005

INSAT-4A Launched Successfully

This event is another feather in the cap of ISRO. This time it is India's most advanced telecommunication satellite INSAT-4A. INSAT – 4A was launched successfully by the European generic rocket, Ariane-5, from the spaceport of Kourou in French Guyana at 0403 IST on Thursday.

The launch is seen as another milestone in India's space programme and is expected to give a major fillip to the most awaited Direct-to-Home television services. INSAT-4A, India's heaviest satellite weighing 3,080 kg at lift-off was shot into space about 29 minutes after the European launch vehicle blasted off.

The rocket also deployed INSAT-4A's co-passenger, European meteorological payload MSG-2 seven minutes later. Soon after the launch, the Master Control Facility at Hassan in Karnataka picked up the signals from INSAT-4A at 0432 IST and Indian Space Research Organisation Chairman G Madhavan Nair, who witnessed the launch, described the health of the satellite as 'good'.

Describing the INSAT-4A launch, telecast live by Doordarshan, as a very important milestone in the history of ISRO, Nair said it will revolutionise DTH broadcasting and improve the entertainment scenario in the country.

INSAT-4A, the first satellite in the INSAT-4 series under which seven satellites have been planned, is equipped with 12 ku and 12 c band high-powered transponders, with a design life of 12 years. ISRO officials in Bangalore said 12 ku band transponders provide around 140 to 150 DTH channels. The satellite is expected to be operational by the end of January.

INSAT-4A was originally planned for launch in the first half of 2005 but due to difficulties faced by Ariane and delay in the launch of first two satellites of other countries, the launch schedule was recast.

In the coming days, the MCF will conduct operations such as orbit raising manoeuvres to take the satellite into its final 36,000 km circular Geo-synchronous Orbit. Deployment of solar antennas will be carried out before positioning the satellite in its designated slot of 83 degree East longitude, along with INSAT-2E and INSAT-3B.

MCF will also carry out regular operations and control the satellite during its service life, ISRO officials said. Tata Sky has already signed an agreement with ISRO to lease all the 12 ku-band transponders to provide DTH transmission in India using VSATs.

INSAT system, which was established in 1983, is one of the largest domestic communication satellite systems in the Asia-Pacific region comprising eight satellites - INSAT-2E, INSAT-3A, INSAT-3B, INSAT-3C, INSAT-3E, KALPANA-1, GSAT-2 and EDUSAT - with 150 transponders besides meteorological instruments. INSAT-4A will further argument the INSAT system capacity by adding another 24 transponders to the system and play a significant role in the expansion of DTH services.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Murder of BPO Worker

This news perhaps was the most shocking one in the recent times among all the happenings. This news together with the hoax call over parliament bomb blast totally covered the major news events on Saturday. But the murder of the BPO worker raised again a question on the security provided by the companies to its night staff in India.

This unfortunate incident happened with a woman employee of the HP Global Contact Center in Bangalore. Prior to this event everything was pretty smooth for this industry where in the work begins when everyone decides to sleep. Timings like 2 AM in the morning are quite usual in this kind of job but the 2 AM of friday turned out to be the last hour for Prathibha belonging to Bangalore.

Pratibha was raped and murdered by the driver of call center which had employed her. The driver it seems had demanded Pratibha to withdraw money from the ATM but Pratibha had declined to do so. Seeing his demand not getting fulfilled he took the cab on a isolated route and then raped Pratibha and finally slit her throat before dumping the body in a pit near Anjanapura Layout. This is a heinous act of crime one can think of. The family members especially the husband of Prathibha who himself works in another BPO was shocked and went into depression after the news of the incident.

This rape and murder of a 28-year-old city woman BPO worker has actually nicked off the "security feel" that existed among the agents community, especially among women employees and their parents. BPO firms say though they have outsourced their logistics requirements to external players, it’s strictly monitored and carefully tabbed to ensure safety.

This incident comes as a major blow to the BPO players in India since this reduces the confidence of employee on employer tremendously in providing good security measures to him/her. Also since most of the BPOs work in night shifts it becomes tough for the companies to shift the women associates into the morning shifts which are very little in number and considering the fact that close to 50 % of the associates consists of women.

Well as BPO centers puts it " We also have to outsouce certain services. Logistics is not our core business and we cannot carry out efficiently without losing focus on the core business". But this incident is an eye opener for all the BPO companies in India. Its better late than never.

Amitabh Bachchan Returns Home

The Shahenshah is back. This is how most of the portals (Rediff) describe the arrival of Amitabh Bachchan back home.

Megastar Amitabh Bachchan has finally been discharged from Mumbai's Lilavati Hospital on Saturday, where he has been recovering after a successful operation to treat his diverticulitis condition.

Photo shows the superstar coming out of the hospital with his son Abhishek. He looks perfectly fine and doctors have advised him to take rest for some more time.

Huge crowds of fans surrounded the hospital, many travelling extensively just to get a glimpse of the actor.

Before he was discharged, Bachchan made a memorable appearance on the balcony of his 11th floor hospital room. Accompanying him were son Abhishek, daughter Shweta, wife Jaya and close friend Amar Singh. Industrialist Anil Ambani was seen at the hospital earlier in the morning. Amitabh looked down at the gathered media and fans, and waved -- one of those moments where the whole country collectively breathes a sigh of relief; Amitabh Bachchan is all right.

The fans weren't lucky enough to see Bachchan as he was whisked efficiently and discreetly out of the hospital. Rajesh Jadhav, one of the many who had travelled from far corners of Mumbai, said he was very disappointed. "I came early in the morning, and have been standing here for a long time. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity, to see Amitabh Bachchan recovered. I'm heartbroken that I couldn't see him up close."

But this disappointment is shortlived, and the general feeling is one of great relief.

Welcome back, Mr Bachchan.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Corporate Team Outing - 3

In the past 3 months of joining the respective teams, this is my third corporate team outing. But it was the best of all. The first one was a plain dinner and nothing more than that. The second one happened in Pragati Resorts about which I had already blogged earlier. This time it was a mix of dinner and bowling.
This time the size of the team was big as two teams under one project manager were clubbed for the outing. Here in Polaris it is called as Stream Outing. I am yet to figure out why it is called that way. We went to a place in MPM Mall, Abids called as Knockin which is akin to Alleygator in Secunderabad. It has all the games like snookers, pool, billiards, TT, Bowling Alley and several others. We played three games but unfortunately our team lost. It was my first tryst with Bowling. But it was great fun, since I was the only one in the team to get a Strike. The team spirit among all the people around me was absolutely superb. It made me feel as if I was in TAPMI again. Sreenivas's team won the competition and we finished third.
The next destination for us was the restaurant Palace-Heights in Abids. Its an old restaurant and last time I came here was for the TAPMI alumni party. The food was great and finally the bill was also great. We had a great company this time with Sreenivas, Ravi and Mandadi joining us. It was a mix of people who were laughing like hell and cracking all types of nasty jokes (like me) to the other extent where some people were just enjoying the food to the core. The party ended at 12:10 and by the time I reached home it was 12:30. Inspite of a busy day and load of work on our head we enjoyed the day tremendously. It was really like reliving the TAPMI parties. Perhaps one of the best team outings I had till date.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

2006 Football World Cup Groups

Thirty-two teams that qualified for the 2006 Football World Cup Finals in Germany were on Friday drawn into eight groups.

Group A
Germany, Costa Rica, Poland, Equador

Group B
England, Paraguay, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago

Group C
Argentina, Ivory Coast, Serbia and Montenegro, Holland

Group D
Mexico, Iran, Angola, Portugal

Group E
Italy, Ghana, USA, Czech Republic

Group F
Brazil, Croatia, Australia, Japan

Group G
France, Switzerland, Korea, Togo

Group H
Spain, Ukraine, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia

Friday, December 09, 2005

Bill Gates in India

Bill Gates is in India after a gap of close to 3 years now. The last time Bill Gates visited India was in the year 2002. But this time his visit created lot of excitement among the politicians and the industry honchos. This post will cover some of the major aspects of his visit, his look towards India as an emerging economy and how is Microsoft scaling up its presence in India under the able leadership of Ravi Venkatesan.

The meeting between Bill Gates and Finance Minister, Mr. P Chidambaram over a breakfast table was perhaps one that got lot of media attention. Bill Gates met the finance minister over the breakfast that was later termed as a Power Breakfast by the media. Chidambaram talked about how the working population in India is growing at a much faster pace when compared to other countries and how this could be a very big advantage for a developing country like us. Bill Gates appreciated India’s progress on the software and computer technology side together with Biology (Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences) and said that we are building world-class institutions in these areas. One of the sentences by Chidambaram was this: “Europe spends more money to support one cow than the per capita income of 100 developing countries. The per capita of European cow is that high”. He also talked about the way countries like Malayasia had built excess capacity that is helping it immensely now. China is doing the same. To this Bill Gates said that he never understood the manufacturing process and hence has no comments to offer but he talked about the manufacturing of X – Box, the gaming console of Microsoft on the lines of Playstation 2 and Nintendo. Microsoft today makes its X – Box entirely out of Guangzhou, China. The reason being all the components are made here. The ports or roads are very good; the other transportation infrastructure is incredible.

After the broadband-based Internet world, the next big thing that will happen according to Bill Gates is the “Talking Computer”. Bill Gates says that computers can’t talk, can’t see, and can’t hear. In next 5-10 years, as per the vision of Bill Gates computers will recognize things, talk like humans and recognize our handwriting and what not. It will be a sort of natural interface unlike the usage of keyboard. Bill Gates believes that Microsoft is in a leading position in this kind of research and hopes to bring the innovation to the people which will change their life.

Some things to ponder about Bill Gates are his idea of most influential thinkers. The most influential books according to Bill Gates are:
Ø Thomas Friedman’s “The World is Flat”
Ø Jeffery Sach’s “The End of Poverty”
Ø Jack Welch’s “Straight from the Gut”

Microsoft’s vision is to take computer to every home and every desk is not half done as per what he says. He says that Microsoft will continue to innovate and bring the best products for its customers that will bring excitement in their lives.

The most watched programme on television on Tuesday and Wednesday night was the chat between the Infosys Chairman, N R Narayanmurthy and Bill Gates hosted by Prannoy Roy. I happened to watch the second part of this chat. It was an amazing experience to see the two stalwarts talk on various issues relating to India. When Murthy was asked to check his microphone he said the normal 1…2…3… but when Bill Gates was asked to check the microphone he said 1 billion, 2 billion, 3 billion on which the crowd went into laughter burst. The talk between the two was a great one. He said that Google is not following the right business model and soon they will have to change it. He said Google search is not completely free. They earn revenue through advertisement, which they do not share with the people who use their search engine. So in what sense their services are free. He questioned.

The most important and landmark event in the life of Gates was when he got a computer terminal to work at the tender age of 13. When the same question was posed to Murthy he said the major drive to start Infosys in him had arisen out of an unpleasant encounter with the legal authorities in Bulgaria.
On the investment front, Microsoft has said that they will invest 1.7 billion dollars over a period of 3 years in India and will increase the headcount in the country's development centre by 3000. Mostly the MIDC carries out basic research in the field of computing. IBM is the only other company which carries out basic research other than Microsoft.
When asked by one of the audience regarding the qualities a person should possess to achieve success, Gates said the following:
Ø Passion
Ø Intelligence
Ø Integrity

Passion to perform. To do the best possible with limited resources in hand. Intelligence. To understand the subtle points of business. Integrity. To ensure that we understand our boundaries and our limits. All in all, the programme was a delight to watch after a long time.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Politics Again III

This is the third post in the series of post on the nature of Indian Politicians and their practices which are affecting the people in more ways than one. As I had said earlier, literally there is no area which is spared by the touch of Indian politics. The latest one being the International Film Festival of India.

As per what the reports have come, the government has insulted Megastar Amitabh Bachchan at the Sonia' s behest. I read this news item on Rediff in the morning. Just read the lines below to understand till what extent politics can ruin the society as such.

As per the report Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan, was slated to inaugurate the 36th International Film Festival of India at Goa on November 24 as the chief guest. But later he was told by the government to withdraw from the event at the last minute due to his proximity to the Samajwadi Party. This was conveyed to the media by SP leader Amar Singh said in New Delhi on Monday.

Mounting an attack on UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and former Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Jaipal Reddy for humiliating the superstar, Amar also claimed that Amitabh's health bulletins were initially blocked on Doordarshan under pressure from Sonia and Jaipal.

"It was a great insult to the country's icon when he was prevented from inaugurating the festival after being invited," the SP leader told newspersons while releasing a copy of the invitation letter written to Amitabh by Goa Chief Minister Pratapsinh Rane, dated October 26, 2005.

In the Indian Film history's 100 years, 50 years belong to Amitabh Bachchan. And even the IFFI, in which he was denied chief guest status, the Indian retrospective was dominated by his films. If the government is so against Amitabh Bachchan, it should stop holding such film festivals.

Amar alleged that Jaipal was trying to "humiliate" Amitabh at the behest of the Congress president. "Mr Reddy has a history of attacking Amitabh to please his political masters," he said, adding, "I do not want to get involved in the Amitabh-Congress relations, but since the Samajwadi Party was also named in the reasons told to Amitabh for withdrawal of the invitation to inaugurate the IFFI, I had to cite some facts,"

Amar said while Amitabh's wife Jaya Bachchan was an active member of the Samajwadi Party, the superstar was not a member of any party. "The issue of keeping away Amitabh from the film festival was raised in Parliament and the media has also been carrying such reports, but the government is quiet. If the government would have tried to clarify its position, even if falsely, some benefit of the doubt would have been given. The silence is reinforcing reports about the treatment to the actor because of his relations with the Samajwadi party.

"The petty attitude of those sitting at high places was exposed by the way Doordarshan treated the news regarding his illness. When the whole country was praying for his health and people were glued to TV sets for any information about the actor, the national channel totally blocked any news about his health," he claimed.

It was only after Priyaranjan Dasmunshi took over as the Information and Broadcsating Minister that Doordarshan started telecasting his health bulletins, he added.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Amitabh Bachchan is Unwell

Megastar Amitabh Bachchan is not well. 63 years old Legendary actor of the Hindi Cinema known worldwide as the BBC Star of the Millenium has suffered from the intestinal infection which resulted in swelling of the Large intestine, a condition called as Colitis.

On 28th November, Amitabh Bachchan complained of a mild stomach disorder in Delhi and got admitted into Escorts Hospital. There the leading cardiologist and Director of Escorts Naresh Trehan said that the Bachchan's illness is nothing but a normal irritation of the intestine. Bachchan came to the hospital with the problems of pain in the abdomen and after the required treatment he was discharged. Soon after he landed in Mumbai he was admitted into the Leelavati Hospital on monday night.

Seeing his condition the doctors advised him to get operated and he underwent a surgery on evening of November 30. Now 63 year old Bachchan is in the intensive care unit and his condition is seen as stable. He was operated on by gastro-intestinal surgeon Dr P Jagganath of Leelavati Hospital.

It was reported that the nearly three-hour operation for the infection, inflammation and perforation in the small and large intestine was successful. A team of surgeons also removed some old tissues which were the remnants of the injury the actor had sustained during the shooting of film Coolie in 1982.He will remain under observation for the next 24 hours.

Meanwhile all this happening got an extensive media coverage. The first family of bollywood was absolutely silent on the issue and did not attempt to make a hue and cry out of it. Even Amitabh Bachchan told people that he is fine and his health is secondary when compared to other issues which the nation needs to take care of. Almost all the news channel covered minute by minute news of Amitabh's illness and it became the headlines in most of the news papers shadowing the news of SENSEX crossing 9000.

I wish Amitabh Bachchan, my idol, a speedy recovery and hope that god gives him enough strength to perform and enthrall audiences in future.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Trip to Delhi, Noida , Meerut and the Re.1 Air Ticket

After quite some time close to 45 days, I got an opportunity to spend my weekend out of my hometown. This was a dream break actually for me. The purpose of this break was to attend Souveer’s wedding. He is the first one in our batch of 2003-2005 of TAPMI to get married and with his marriage I believe the wedding season for quite a number of them has began.

I took leave on Friday from the office which is no big deal keeping in mind the work I have. Also the highlight of this trip is my Re. 1 ticket. You are right and I have not mistyped in any way. Re 1 Air Ticket courtesy one and only Air Deccan. It was a great moment when I got the Re 1 ticket because I had booked the earlier ticket for Rs. 3995 so this comes out to be dirt-cheap. The flight was at morning 6:00 am so the last night’s sleep was reduced to only 3.5 hours keeping in mind my daily schedule of sleep.

In the flight, close to my seat there was a lady sitting. She should be in her 60s, as I believe. She was part of the marriage party, which was traveling from Hyderabad to Delhi, but she was unaware of the price of the ticket. So she did the mistake of asking me the price of the ticket and when I told her that it is Re. 1, she went into a shock. I thought she would get heartache there but somehow she controlled the excitement. The journey was smooth, the flight being an AIRBUS unlike an ATR, which Deccan usually operates in other routes.

I reached Delhi at 7:40 itself 10 minutes before the scheduled time of 7:50. View of Lotus Temple from a very high elevation was very good. The autowallahs of Delhi are not better than the Chennai autowallahs because the Chennai ones are really worst of all. I believed one autowallah and asked him to drop me to bus stop where I can catch a bus to Noida. But this crooked autowallah dropped me in RK Puram which was close to 7 Km from Nehru Place where I will get the buses to Noida. So after waiting for close to 45 minutes in RK Puram, I asked one gentleman about the bus to Noida. Pat came the reply: No buses from here go to Nehru Place and catch from there. So I took the bus to Nehru place and then from there got into a Bus to Noida making another mistake here. I did not remember the sector which shetty said to me and just got into the bus asking him whether it would go to Sector 26 or not. The bus drivers in Delhi have this problem. Even if your stop is close to 2 KM from the place where from the bus passes, the bus conductor will tell you that he is going to drop you exactly the place you want to get down to. So somehow after struggling for close to 1 hour in the bus, I got down at Kailash Hospital and met shetty and then reached his house.

Shetty’s flat is good much better when compared to the flats of the rest of my batchmates. In the afternoon then we had the delicious lunch typical Delhi types. I slept in the afternoon for about 2.5 hours and in the evening then Raj and Venkat joined us. We had booked a Taxi to Meerut. We started our journey to Meerut at about 6:25 from Noida. It took us close to 3.5 hours to cover the 67 Km stretch, which is by all standards very high even in the worst of the traffic jams. The main trouble was to locate the hall in the town. Somehow we managed to reach the hall and met both Shanbag and Tandon for the first time after Convocation.

Souveer’s Marriage was one big event. The food was exquisite covering all the possible varieties one can think about. Right from Chat Items, Dosas, Variety of Curries, Rice Items and Desserts, it had all the ingredients to satisfy anyone. We did not have dinner to the extent we should have had but then it was all about meeting Souveer rather than having food or drinks. The marriage ended at about 2:30 am in the morning and Souveer looked very much satisfied and elated. We started back for Noida from Meerut due to some unforeseen events and reached Noida at about 3:55 AM. The weather was really cold out there; temperature was in single digit as far as I could make out. Then the baker session was on for us from 4:00 till 6:00 and then we slept at about 6:15 in the morning. Fully tired.

In the morning we went out to have the staple breakfast of Delhi. Chole bature. Oh god they were amazing really. The last time I had Chole Bature was in April 2004. So this was a good break for me. In the late morning also some good news landed for me. Afternoon we went to the Noida Market for some time pass. Had lunch at McDonalds.

Evening I started back for the NDLS from Noida and saw the majestic structure of Akshardham Temple. The site was magnificent and really pleasing to the eyes. The train’s departure was at the scheduled time but the rush was too much. My co-passengers were carrying so much of luggage that it literally blocked the way to get out of that cabin. The characters in the compartment were really fascinating and describing them here would take pages. Notable was the 7th class school going kid. He ensured all the 25 hours of the journey that no one is able to sit on his Window seat and his mother, do not even ask.

This trip goes as one of the most memorable ones in the recent past.

Friday, November 25, 2005


The hitech culture of IT industry can give rise to any type of jargon even in our everyday life. I was not knowing that Business As Usual is called as BAU till I joined Polaris. EOD refers to end of day but there is nothing called as SOD. Perhaps the reason being that people prefer EOD more than SOD in any company.

The title of this post is a composite word which comes from two normal english words widely heard in our circle. By now one must have guessed the two words. The first one is Restaurant and the second one is Pub. So stylishly the word has been formed as Restopub. This actually refers to a place which happens to be a restaurant as well as a pub.

Today we went for lunch to a place called as Twister near HiTech City here in Madhapur. There I spotted this trendy name "RESTOPUB". Ofcourse the inside environment does not really look like a restaurant at all by any standards. The place was ideal for drinks only and not for having food as I see it.

Ofcourse one must look at the crowd on a friday afternoon in any one of these restaurants. One cannot get a table without waiting for close to an hour atleast. The crowd consists of people belonging to all the top notch IT companies situated in that area. For the matter of fact those are the set of people the restaurant targets. The age group between 21-25 which is extremely cash rich just like their companies. A normal buffet cost close to Rs. 160 which is much higher by any standards.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Race for Perfection has no Finish Line

As the time change, numerous things change. We all move in a sine wave fashion seeing the ups and downs in our lives. Sometimes good things come first and not so good things come after that. But at certain point in time bad things come first and then the good things start surfacing out slowly. In these situations its our level of perseverance which can help us come out of it. Thinking that problems are really problems and there cannot be any solution to these is a thought which can take one no where excepting near failure.

The desire to succeed is there in every individual whether he is a school going child or a CEO of a multinational. This desire to succeed actually fires the imagination in us and allows us to perform the impossible sometimes. Impossible is nothing. I believe very firmly in this phrase. With dedication, determination, integrity and a strong will one can achieve anything in his/her life. The passion for excellence stimulates the thought process producing extraordinary results. This passion for excellence is the key to success.

A positive attitude towards life is one of the foremost step's one needs to keep in mind before really moving forward to achieve something. A negative attitude towards anything in life will never help us. Positive attitude coupled with a focused thought towards learning new things in life is what the leaders say over and over again.

Perfection has no limits. One can improve ones skill over and over again. There is no point when one can say that "yes I am there" and "I have arrived". A zeal to perform better over and over again is what the race for perfection is all about. What is takes to come out as a High Performer is not a simple job. Endless efforts, single minded dedication towards the goal and close attention to the details make you stand out of the crowd.

A High Performer stands out in a set of people. Whether it is an organization, sports or politics, a high performer sets standards for others to follow and provides a way to others. This high performance comes in after lot of efforts. A high performer is a high growth individual for the organization who can help it to go places and ensure that the competitive advantage of organization sustains in the long term.

It takes a ton to prove oneself but once proven it takes a double ton to keep up that reputation and stature. In an ever changing and highly competitive scenario only a distinct individual with the characteristics of high performer will survive. Setting limits to one self would only restrict the growth of the individual and thereby the performance.

Set unmatchable standards. Think beyond the obvious. Put precision in work. Bring quality to life. Stretch yourself. Exceed the limits. Have the passion for excellence. And. Contribute to your growth.


The Race for Perfection has no Finish Line.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Peter Drucker is no more

One of the foremost management thinkers in the business community, Peter Drucker is no more. He was 95. Being a management student, I heard of Peter Drucker in two contexts, Marketing and Strategy.

Peter Drucker ideas deeply shaped the way business community used to work and modern corporation used to run. Known as the father of modern management died out of prolonged illness.

In his life time Peter Drucker authored close to 35 books on management which became hall mark among the management community. The landmark ones are : The concept of the corporation (1946), The Practice of Management (1954) and The effective executive (1964). These became standard at the business schools throughout the world and serve as a standard reference for any one aiming to understand strategy.

He emphasized that, rather than being a machine, the modern corporation was an organization of human beings whose management and interaction are crucial to the business' success.
That and subsequent books garnered Drucker a reputation as a "futurist" in the business world, a person who read before anyone else the trends and needs of business and the economy.

Peter Drucker coined the term "Knowledge Worker" about a decade back and said that these are the people who will be at the forefront of any organization and contribute to its success. Also the term "Management by Objectives" coined by him took a front seat when deciding control systems for an organization in the 21st century.

In the early 1950s, when other business leaders figured the worldwide market for computers was in the single digits, he predicted that computer technology would thoroughly transform business. In 1961, he alerted his followers to the rise of Japan as an industrial power, and two decades later, he warned of its impending economic stagnation. In 1997, he predicted a backlash to burgeoning executive pay, saying, "In the next economic downturn, there will be an outbreak of bitterness and contempt for the super-corporate chieftains who pay themselves millions."

To sum it up Mckinsey Quarterly described Peter Drucker as the management guru to whom other gurus kowtow.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Credit Card vs. Debit Card

This post is dedicated to a topic on which I was planning to put down my thoughts for quite some time. But again due to lack of time and other more interesting stories, I could not pen it down. The interest to write on this topic also increased when I saw this particular question in the Open Spaces column of Times of India.
We will begin with the basic definition of a debit card. A debit card is a ISO 7810 card which physically resembles a credit card, and, like a credit card, is used as an alternative to cash when making purchases. However, when purchases are made with a debit card, the funds are withdrawn directly from the purchaser's bank account. A debit card is generally of two types - offline debit card which requires signature while you are paying and an online debit card which requires a separate keypad at the point of sale where one inputs the Debit pin number. Let us look at the advantages of a debit card
  • An easy and hassle free way of paying without usage of cash
  • No need of any cheques etc.
  • Convenient way of withdrawing money from ATM at any point of time at any place
  • Protects one from any kind of cheque defaults or any frauds
  • Ensures payment guarantee to the counterparty

A credit card is a ISO 7810 standard card similar to a debit card in size and shape. Credit card system is a type of retail transaction settlement and credit system, named after the small plastic card issued to users of the system. A credit card is different from a debit card in that the credit card issuer lends the consumer money rather than having the money removed from an account. This means that one gets the funds for a certain period of time which is known as the credit period. The account does not get debited as it happens in case of a debit card.

Now let us look at some of the advantages of a credit card

  • A very safe alternative to cash just like a debit card
  • No need of any cash in your wallet
  • Helps to deal with emergency situations when you do not have enough funds in your account
  • Short term credit instrument and allows to withdraw money from any ATMs as designated on the credit card
  • Allows better utilization of money in terms of placing it in a more profitable place
  • A normal credit period of 50 days for any amount depending on the individual. This allows us to pay back the money at a later period of time.

If we look at the general view of people in India about credit cards, its very biased. In terms of plastic money credit cards were introduced much before the debit or ATM cards came into picture. Usually a credit card is considered to be a dangerous instrument to use by many people looking at the current scenario and the cases which are running because of the credit card frauds in the courts.

Credit card as presented above is not a sweet pill to take. It involves lot of other addendum to it which people may overlook while in a hurry to get one. Some of the them are the Annual Fee, the Life Insurance premium which is coming with all the cards now and other taxes etc. Its also important to study the credit card monthly statement which also involves a catch with it. Normally if we spend let us say 10000 in a month and then the statement comes with all our transactions, there is a small heading at the end which says minimum payment due. This is generally 5 % of the total transaction amount. If we pay up only this amount by the due date and do not pay the rest, then 2.95 % finance charge will be levied on the rest of the amount. This makes the finance charge of close to 36 % per annum and is by all standards very high. This is one main point we need to keep in mind while transacting using a credit card. Another one is the cheque bounce. Once your cheque bounces for a credit card payment, it becomes very difficult than to transact on the card. But with the help of internet banking the need for cheque seems to be going away.

Having said all the above, here is the parting shot. Credit card can be your maker or breaker depending on the way you use it. What you choose to do with it is entirely up to you. Tempting as it might be, there is a huge downside to credit card, which is you OWE money to someone else! And if you know you can't pay back what you owe, don't pay in the first place. There is nothing like buying what you want with your honest hard earned money. At the end of the day those are the things that make you smile because they are truly yours.

Monday, November 07, 2005


Miss: What r u doing today?

Mr. : Me just figuring out what to do now no mood of working yaar

Miss: When r u in a good mood?

Mr. : I am have become very finicky now these days, one day I will be in a nice mood the other day everything goes away and I try to start from scratch

Miss: now its u who has become unpredictable

Mr. : perhaps after becoming your friend the side effects will come

Miss: that’s a nice way to pass on the blame

Mr. : obviously I was not like this some time ago

Miss: oh?? Then u mean to say that I am responsible for your present state??

Mr. : I never said that. The situations around me make me behave in such a manner

Miss: I think that u have a negative approach to things and that even small setbacks affect you a lot

Mr. : yes you are on the dot. Very small things can literally shatter my confidence and thoughts

Miss: Thats bad. Because people have setbacks. All the time you can’t keep brooding on them and let one small thing affect other more important things in life

Mr. : perhaps I am trying to fight this out somehow but do not know when it will go

Miss: first of all you have to stop thinking that you are responsible for whatever is happening in your life. There are certain things beyond our control. Accept it and try to react normally to setbacks

Mr. : but what does normally mean should we not bother about them or what

Miss: bothering is something that everyone does. But one setback isn’t the end of life. You will always have a lot of other opportunities coming your way. So be positive.

Mr. : My only problem is the way I look at the things if they do not work out I think I have not done perfectly and I am useless

Miss: the first thing that u need to understand is no one is perfect and no one gets everything that he/she wants form life

Mr. : I am not asking for everything but what I deserve that's it nothing more but nothing less also the Judgment is perhaps wrong in thinking what I deserve

Miss: there is nothing wrong in having ambitions. But you should be able to understand that if everyone got What he wanted then there would be no problems at all in this world.

Mr. : probably u r right sometimes I think I am too ambitious is it wrong

Miss: there is nothing wrong in being ambitious. Every person is ambitious. In fact I believe you need to have ambitions to survive. But the attitude that it’s the end of the world if you are not able to fulfill one of them is wrong. you know you have the ability then you bother about small things???

Mr. : yes, I have started doubting my abilities now actually which is a new fear

Miss: why such a doubt???

Mr. : well there are a few things, which I am not able to achieve off late

Miss: may be u r worrying about the irrelevant things

Mr. : do not know yaar leave it I am worrying you too much with my thoughts

Miss: negative thoughts wont do you any good. I guess u need to come out of this

Mr. : ok how do I do that?

Miss: that’s not for me to suggest. I cannot make you do that. First of all you need to decide that
you won’t be bothered too much about setbacks. Accept that its normal for everyone to have some and one main thing that you need to remind yourself is that no one is perfect. That doesn’t mean that you should lower your targets for yourself but be more realistic about life.

Mr. : sounds good yaar nice one

Miss: that was not for getting compliments from u.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

My iPod

Well my quest for gadgets continues. Here is the photo of my new iPod or should I call it a vPod. It’s a fifth generation iPod that can play videos as well and has a LCD screen unlike the older versions. The older versions of iPod spot a black screen just like a Nokia 3310 whereas the new versions like the fifth generation iPod spot a color screen just like Nokia 7610.

The first generation of iPod could play only music. Then the 3rd and the 4th generation had the option of viewing photos. With the option of video also added, iPod becomes a true multimedia device with all the options one can ask for.

As a precursor, I thought of putting some stuff on iPod also. So here it is. iPod is a brand of portable digital audio and video player designed and marketed by Apple Computer. Devices in the iPod family offer a simple user interface designed around a central scroll wheel. Most iPod models store media on a built-in hard drive, while the smaller iPod shuffle and iPod nano use flash memory. Like most digital audio players, an iPod can serve as an external data storage device when connected to a computer.

The bundled software used for uploading music and photos to the iPod is called iTunes. iTunes is a music 'jukebox' application that stores a comprehensive library of the music on a computer, as well as playing and ripping it. The most recent incarnations of iPod , that is the vPod and iTunes have video playing and organization features.

The reason why Apple attaches an “i” before each of its product range is the positive effect which the company is experiencing on its sales. Media has named it the igeneration of products which they say will have far reaching effect on the culture.

Well my iPod is a 30 GB capacity which can play mp3, aac,wav and other normal formats of music but not the real media format. In terms of video there is real big problem with iPod. It supports the following formats only:

H.264 video
File formats: .m4v, .mp4 and .mov
Video: Up to 768 Kbps, 320 x 240 pixels, 30 frames per second, Baseline Profile up to
Level 1.3
Audio: AAC-LC up to 160 Kbps, 48 KHz, stereo audio

MPEG-4 video
File formats: .m4v, .mp4 and .mov
Video: Up to 2.5 Mbps, 480 x 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile Audio: AAC-LC up to 160 Kbps, 48 KHz, stereo audio

I know above would be bouncers for all but that is the only format iPod supports. QuickTime 7.0.3 converts the normal videos into iPod videos but takes close to 1 hour for converting a 6 MB movie file. But the quality is very good on par with the DVD video. I think the problem of video conversion needs to be resolved at the earliest to ensure that vPod kicks.
The fifth generation iPod is about 40 times thinner than the original 4th generation iPod.

Some history about iPOD. Tony Fadell first conceived the iPod outside Apple. When he demonstrated his idea to Apple, the company hired him as an independent contractor to bring his project to the market, putting him in charge of assembling the team that developed the first two generations of the device. Apple's Industrial Design Group, working under the direction of Jonathan Ive designed the subsequent incarnations.

Apple originally released the iPod on October 23, 2001 as a Mac-compatible product, but the company later released a format compatible with Microsoft Windows, before finally releasing a Windows version of the iTunes software that updates the iPod. As of October 2004, iPod dominated digital music player sales in the United States, with over 90% of the market for hard-drive-based players and over 70% of the market for all types of players. The iPod has sold at a tremendous rate, now past 30 million units in about four years. Apple has posted that the iPod has a "halo effect", encouraging users of non-Apple products to switch to other Apple products, such as to Macintosh computers

All in all iPod is worth its value. The vPod was released in India on 26th of October but I got it from USA on 25th itself where it was released on 15th and was being sold at the normal iPod price of $299. The sound clarity, the picture quality and the Apple click wheel really give the feeling that yes iPOD is worth the money.

Well if any one is looking for a mobile mp3 player do not go for any thing else like the mp3 players in mobile phones or other mp3 players. Nothing can beat iPod. Just nothing.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Google Your Career

Google was started by two geeky youngsters from Stanford University -- its beginning is legendary. I heard it from Silicon Valley venture capitalist Ram Shriram. Shriram had made his fortune working with start-ups like Junglee and Netscape. Thereafter, he decided to become an angel investor. On one of his visits to Stanford to catch up with professor Jeff Ullman, he met the two Google co-founders. The professor told Shriram that he should be backing these two young men. Despite the existence of the concept of internet-based search engines, there was something unusual here. Shriram and Andy Bechtolsheim, co-founder of Sun, were willing to listen to the professor and took out their cheque books. It was then that everyone realised that the two youngsters did not even have a company name, much less a bank account. On the spot, they thought of the name 'Google' and Shriram filled the 'to payee' column accordingly. The rest is history. Google became a great IPO success, is meeting profit projections and has already become a Wall Street darling. I like the way the company raised itself to industry leadership. I think it has huge lessons for working professionals who could take a leaf or two from the Google story to build their own careers.

To begin with, Google built itself on a solid value proposition and took a uniquely differentiated position. It provided value to the world before demanding any value for itself. It served until the world became dependent on it. It created value by meeting the unstated needs of unseen customers. That is a sure way, though a more difficult one, to win. It did not fear incumbency. So what if there were established large players who could have eaten Google for breakfast? Finally, Google persevered. It wasn't an overnight success story. These are elements that build memorable professional careers as well. But wait, I haven't told you the real secret sauce of their success, yet.

Google started as a search engine. You typed in keywords and it looked through millions of pages all over the world's far-flung servers and reported what matched your needs. As time went by, they tried to make the search process more intelligent, more intuitive. They did not stop with that. When millions of people came to them with their search queries, they added the now famous 'gmail' to their basket of products -- virtually unlimited storage, with no need to delete anything, more intuitive organisation of all your communication needs. What next at Google? I meet industry analysts who tell me that the next great wave of computing could come in the form of 'service on demand' from Google. You want to process your payroll? You want to print invoices and file tax returns? You want to manage your inventory? You will probably just go to Google and use any of these applications for a fraction of what it costs to own a software that does these sorts of things today. This may or may not turn out to be the state of the future. But, what is undeniable is the fact that Google will remain a force to contend with in the days ahead.

Now think of your career and mine. If we can be compared to Google, the question becomes, what new value have you and I added of late? I meet many folks who started out in sales, and have grown up over time to manage larger territories and bigger accounts. I meet engineers who started in production or information systems or planning, and kept growing in a linear manner 'managing' essentially more of the same as years went by. Will this model work in the future? The answer is a short 'no'.

We may all choose to become a generalist, a specialist, remain an individual professional contributor, be a manager or a leader or whatever else we want. But in any of those, one must be sure to question periodically, "What new service offering do I have to offer to the world around me? Do I deliver it after someone has asked for it or am I pre-investing in building the capability?" Just as Google needs to create new value for its users constantly, as professionals, we can't just be the best search engine and stay put. People who just continue to deliver the same good old stuff, cease to be interesting to the world around them after a while. I like people to look at their careers as five-year spans. Every five-year span is usually populated by two major assignments.

Usually, we think of these assignments in terms of roles, job-descriptions, responsibilities, span of control, location and of course, compensation. It is time to take a leaf out of Google's book. We need, periodically, to do a Google to our careers to create unusual new value and stay the favourite.

"This article appeared in Business Times Oct 28, 2005. Its written by Subroto Bagchi, Co-founder and chief operating officer at Mind Tree Consulting. "

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Happy Diwali

Today is diwali. Festival of lights. A Beginning of a new year for the businessmen. After a gap of nearly 2 years I am celebrating diwali at home. The last two years in TAPMI were different kind of diwali and not the typical one which you will experience at home or perhaps somewhere else. It used to happen in Boat Club and usually ended up being other party. I need not mention what kind of party it turned out to be.

I have made a special greeting for this occasion which I have sent to my near and dear. I wish all the people around me, My parent's, relatives, colleagues, Engg friends, TAPMI batchmates, My Guru (Prof. S Subrahamaniyam), faculty at TAPMI and ofcourse my newly found friends at Polaris, A Very Happy Diwali and a prosperous new year.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Politics Again II

This is the second article in the series "Politics Again". This time something really serious unlike the act of Mr. Devegowda in case of BIAL. We all know very well the stand of communist party in India (Marxist) in case of Unionism and labor laws. Very recently the CPI (M) top leaders came out with a statement saying that dilution of labor laws will not be entertained under any circumstances in the IT industry.

Now I was wondering suddenly how come such a thought has come into minds of these people. Without any base and any logic or reasoning, the CPI (M) leaders Sitaram Yechury and West bengal chief minister Budhadheb Bhattaharya are now raising the issue that IT services and IT Industry in total be included in the essential services category. They are saying that labor laws must be upheld in the IT sector.

If we look at the way the labor rights have been structured in India its basically for the services which are essential. The essential services are the ones like water, power, milk and hospitals. Now the major question which comes into the picture is that whether we can categories IT services as a essential service or a money making service.

But a few days before, CPI(M) said that the Business Process Outsourcing and information technology sectors could be exempted from disruption by strike activity, if these are linked to essential or vital services. At the same time, it has defended the right of employees in the IT and IT-enabled sectors to form unions and carry out collective bargaining.

This all actually began with a report prepared by the V V Giri National Institute of Labor which describes the condition as follows :"The degree of surveillance required at work is even comparable with situations of nineteenth century prisons or Roman slave ships'' and the human resource (HR) managers' task is "camouflaging work as fun''. This report was sent to Kiran Karnik, the NASSCOM president.

Seeing the present condition in the IT and the BPO industry it is clearly evident that such a resolution is of absolutely no need and is a way to implement the useless and oldie ideas of Marxism which are of no value in the knowledge industry. Being from the IT Industry, I know the kind of work conditions which the companies provide whether they are Indian or an MNC. Airconditioned environment, flexible workhours, best salaries among all the counterparts are some of the features of IT Industry. The number of jobs created by the industry itself over the past few years is the best example of its HR Policies. Take any campus, take any institute the student's first choice is a IT company only. IT industry has put India on the worldmap with Indian companies becoming truly global and signing deals which companies like IBM or Accenture used to sign. Why the people from IT industry would be interested in doing strikes or forming unions is a major question ? As Mr. Bhasin of GENPACT says "Unions were unnecessary because each grievance was given a hearing but maintained that strict work discipline was required."

Infosys is now Sarbanes Oxley Compliant

On October 24, 2005, Infosys Technologies announced that its Sarbanes Oxley Section 404 compliant. This is yet another feather in the cap of Infosys Technologies which is growing leaps and bounds in the area of IT services and outsourcing. With this compliance, Infosys becomes one of the earliest foreign filers to have achieved this milestone. Infosys reached this milestone well ahead of 31st March 2007 deadline for the foreign filers.

The unique thing about this news is the attention that Infosys Technologies had drawn among the media. I have seen for the first time an Indian company to comply with the SOX act. I searched for the info on more Indian companies but could not get any.

In its quarterly report on Form 6-K filed with the United States' Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on October 21, 2005, the company management has assessed internal control over financial reporting with effect from September 30, 2005. The independent auditors, KPMG, evaluated and independently verified management's assessment and issued an unqualified opinion. The assessment was performed voluntarily under the SOX Act, which requires company management to assess and report on company's internal controls over financial reporting.

Infosys known for its corporate governance and financial reporting standards has proved yet again that when it comes to transparency and ethics in the business, It will stand out as the leader and set an example for others to follow. Infosys has won numerous awards in the area of financial reporting notably the ICAI award for the best annual report for 10 consecutive years.
For the people who have no clue of what Sarbanes Oxley is and the related sections. Here is a quick review.

Sarbanes Oxley or SOX as it is called in short is a landmark legislation passed by the Securities and Exchange Commission of the USA for the companies listed on the US Stock exchanges. SOX has numerous sections in it but the section which has got the most attention is the 404. In the first phase of SOX the listed companies have to comply with Sec 404 which Infosys Technologies has achieved. Sec 404 says that Management should assess its Internal controls strictly and ensure that the controls which affect the financial reporting are taken care. Also it says that Top Management like the CEO of the company should sign the annual financial statements of the company and hence be liable for any discrepancy in the same. The reason why Sarbanes Oxley has come into light is because of the increasing amount of corporate scandals and accounting frauds happening in the US and European markets. The best ones are the Enron and Parmalat. Enron lead to the collapse of one of the Big Accounting firm Arthur and Anderson. Parmalat is termed as the European version of Enron.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

RBI Midterm Review of Annual Policy

On 25 October 2005, RBI announced its mid term review of annual policy 2005-2006. With a raised forecast for the GDP growth rate this year coupled with some other forward looking statements, the announcement by Y V Reddy turned out to be a boon for the stock market with the markets performing bullishly. Sensex ended close to 1 % up after the announcement.
Usually I keep the PDF of the policy statement but this time I thought that will post some of the highlights of the policy here on the blog. Here they are
  1. Upward Revision in the Gross Domestic Product growth for 2005-06 to 7.0-7.5 from 7.0 %
  2. The Bank rate was kept unchanged at 6.0 %.
  3. The reverse repo rate was hiked by quarter percentage point to 5.25 per cent. This was necessary to keep the year-end inflation within the 5.0-5.5 per cent projection made in April. The repo rate was changed from 6.0 tp 6.25 %
  4. The banks' exposure to capital market raised to 20 % of their net worth from the 10 % earlier on a consolidated basis.
  5. Annual inflation receded from 6.0 % in April 2005 to 4.6 % in October 2005.
  6. Inflation will continue to be in the projected range of 5.0 -5.5 %.
  7. Foreign exchange reserves stood at US$ 143.4 billion as on October 14, 2005, increasing from US$ 141.5 billion as at end-March 2005.
  8. CRR remains unchanged at 5.0 %.
  9. The Reserve Bank has constituted a new department named as Financial Markets Department (FMD) in July 2005 with a view to moving towards functional separation between debt management and monetary operations.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Ben Bernanke - New Fed Chairman

After a gap of 18 years, the Federal Reserve Bank is going to have a new chairman. U.S. President George W. Bush nominated top White House economic adviser Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board on Monday to succeed the near-legendary Alan Greenspan.

It was the third time in as many years the president had turned to the 51-year-old Bernanke for a sensitive post. Bush named him to the Fed board in 2002, then made him chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers earlier this year.

The appointment is subject to Senate confirmation, and Bush called for swift action.
Greenspan, who became chairman in 1987, completes his term as chairman on Jan. 31. By naming a successor more than three months in advance, Bush appeared to be trying to clear the path for a smooth transition.

Whatever the Senate's reaction, U.S. investors liked what they heard. Stocks rose as word of Bernanke's appointment circulated in advance of the presidential announcement.
Ben has done path-breaking work in the field of monetary policy, taught advanced economics at some of our top universities, and served with distinction on the Fed's Board of Governors.
For nearly two decades, Chairman Greenspan shepherded the US economy through its highs and its lows. Under his steady chairmanship, the United States economy has come through a stock market crash, financial crises, from Mexico to Asia, two recessions, corporate scandals, and shocks ranging from devastating natural disasters to a terrorist attack in the heart of America's financial center.
Bernanke has a reputation as a straight-talking economist and a Republican who avoids telegraphing any ideology. At the Fed, Bernanke has pushed for the central bank to be more specific in its inflation objectives; Greenspan has opposed setting a numerical target.

A summa cum laude graduate of Harvard University in 1975, Bernanke received his doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1979. During his years in Boston, he focused on the economic underpinnings of the Great Depression and the losing track record of the city's beloved baseball team, the Red Sox.

"Economics is a very difficult subject," Bernanke once said. "I've compared it to trying to learn how to repair a car when the engine is running."

"The content of this post has been modified and reproduced from the Moscow Times"

Monday, October 24, 2005

My New Mobile - Nokia 7610

This post is about my new mobile which I got after a gap of nearly 2 year. Actually I never purchased mobile specifically for my use. At home, we had two instruments one with dad and other with my brother, which sometimes I also used. This time I decided that I am going to buy the mobile which I wanted right from the time it first came into the market. The mobile is now in my hands. Nokia 7610.
Nokia 7610 is the 76 series of mobile phones which have a peculiar shape with smooth corners. The best thing about this mobile is the design which I like the most. The camera in this mobile is 1 Megapixel and takes good clarity photos. I took close to 20 photographs yesterday in the NTR Garden and Birla Temple and they are equivalent to the digital camera photos in terms of quality and resolution. The phone has a 64 MB memory card which is actually customized to the Nokia 76 family. The phone has all the features which one can find in the phones available in the market.
The phone has a Symbian 7.0 Operating system which is the open Standard operating system licensed by the world's leading mobile phone manufacturers. It's specifically designed for phones by providing a robust multitasking kernel, integrated telephony support, communications protocols, data management, and advanced graphics support. The phone in terms of accessories provides a USB cable, a 64 MB card, Adobe Photoalbum CD, Hands free and other stuff which we get in normal mobile phones.
Nokia 7610 comes with number of bundled software's like Java, Movie Director, RealOne Player, LifeBlog, Opera 7.0 browser, Snapshot and Ulead Photoexpress. With the Bluetooth connectivity Nokia 7610 allows to communicate with devices like computers, printers and scanners within 10 m of distance.
Encased in fashionable dual-tone ruby and onyx-colored covers, the slim and stylish Nokia 7610 offers quick and convenient capturing, printing, storing and sending of photo-quality images and videos. Digital imaging has developed in ways that were unimaginable when digital cameras first entered the mainstream only five years ago. With the introduction of the 7610, Nokia's first megapixel imaging device, capturing spontaneous print-quality images no longer requires a separate camera.
Nokia 7610 is like a wish come true for me. My Nokia 7610, My Life.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Email Turns 34

It's difficult to pin down the exact origin of email, but in October 1971, an engineer named Ray Tomlinson chose the '@' symbol for email addresses and wrote software to send the first network email.At the time, it must not have seemed very important – nobody bothered to save that first message or even record the exact date. I've always thought that it would be fun to witness a little bit of history like that – to be there when something important happened. That's part of what drove me to join a little no-name startup named Google, and it's why I was excited when I was given a chance to create a new email product, now called Gmail.
Of course that wasn't the only reason why I wanted to build Gmail. I rely on email, a lot, but it just wasn't working for me. My email was a mess. Important messages were hopelessly buried, and conversations were a jumble; sometimes four different people would all reply to the same message with the same answer because they didn't notice the earlier replies. I couldn't always get to my email because it was stuck on one computer, and web interfaces were unbearably clunky. And I had spam. A lot of it.
With Gmail I got the opportunity to change email – to build something that would work for me, not against me.We had a lot of ideas, but first we spent a lot of time talking to all kinds of people about their email. They let us watch over their shoulders and helped us really understand how they use email and what they need from it. We didn't want to simply bolt new features onto old interfaces. We needed to rethink email, but at the same time we needed to respect that email already had over 30 years of history, thousands of existing programs, and nearly a billion users.
So we started by learning which features were most important, and which problems were most aggravating. We also realized that solving everyone's problems was too big of a challenge for the first release. It would be better to build a product that a lot of people love, than one that everyone tolerates, and so that was our goal.On April 1, 2004, we rolled out the first release of Gmail. It immediately became known for giving away 1000 MB of storage, while the others only offered 4 MB, as they had for many years. We didn't do that just for the attention (although we certainly got our share). It's just part of our philosophy. We always want to do as much as we can for our users, and so if we can make something free, we will.But storage was only the most obvious difference, and our other improvements were just as important. Gmail included a quick and accurate search. It introduced powerful new concepts to organize email, such as the conversation view (so now I can finally see all those replies at once). It provided a fast and dynamic interface from web browsers everywhere, popularizing the techniques that have since become known as AJAX.This interface included many important features not commonly found on the web at that time, such as email address auto-completion, a slick spell-checker, keyboard shortcuts, and pages that update instantly. It included a smart spam filter to get rid of junk mail.
Finally, we made an important new promise: you can keep your Gmail address and all of your email, even if you someday decide that Gmail is not for you. Cell phone owners already have the right to keep their old phone number when switching to a new provider, and you should have that same freedom with email. To ensure this freedom, Gmail provides, for free, both email forwarding and POP download of all your mail. Many services are now beginning to include other Gmail innovations; we hope that some day they will also be willing to include this one.Of course, the launch was just the beginning, and we're still busy improving Gmail. We keep increasing free storage (2656 MB and counting), we offer the interface in 38 languages, and we now have features such as auto-save drafts, so that you don't accidentally lose that half-written message. We know that Gmail isn’t quite right for everyone yet. We’re working on that too – there’s still more we can do for the folder-lovers and devout-deleters out there.
But wait, there’s more! :) We also have a new batch of exciting innovations on the way that we hope will shake things up again and make Gmail even better for even more people.I'm proud of what we've done so far, and am excited about our future plans for Gmail. So celebrate how far email has come by joining its fun future.
"This Article is reproduced from the Google Blog written by Paul Buchheit, Gmail Engineer. I felt the article to be very good and hence re-posted here"

Friday, October 21, 2005

Politics Again

Well politics in India can make its mark almost everywhere. No sector, No industry leave alone people can escape the horror called as politics. The recent news regarding the Bangalore International Airport Limited is the best example of how shabby politics can become at some times.

On 20th of October 2005, N R Narayanmurthy, Chairman and Chief Mentor, Infosys Technologies resigned as the chairman of the Bangalore International Airport Limited. N R Narayanmurthy took this step after being deeply hurt by Deve Gowda who questioned the work done by him in the airport project. Former Prime minister Mr. H D Devegowda who is one of the leaders in the coalition government was one of the main reasons for the ongoing tussle between IT Industry and the Karnataka government.

Deve gowda made several allegations over the working of Narayanmurthy. He went on to say that Murthy being a world traveler took so much of time for the project to start. Murthy had said in one of the meetings for the shift of focus from rural governance to urban governance. Devegowda ridiculed this word of Murthy and said that the views of elite did not tally with reality and questioned the latter's knowledge about rural life.

Devegowda went to the extent of saying that the Karnataka government should look into the issue of giving land to the IT companies and cautioned Singh regarding the recent allotment of 845 acres to Infosys. Murthy's resignation has again revived the love-hate relationship between the IT sector and the state government over the city's infrastructure.

This example is a clear indication of how much politics can ruin the normal working process of our country. We all know how much important are the international airports for our country. The congestion of the airports is a very serious problem right now for our country. The flights get delayed frequently and the poor infrastructure makes the flight departure and arrival still bad. The project had started because of the extensive efforts of Murthy only. He spent enormous amount of time and energy in interacting with the Government in New Delhi and the Government here to make this work. The records prove themselves. But at the end of day even the Karnataka Government did not come to his side. This is really a shameful act.

Meanwhile at home in Hyderabad the International Airport (HIAL), which is coming up at Shamshabad, is doing well and its financial closure has also happened recently. GMR group and the Malayasia Airport Holdings are promoting it. I think this is the best example of Project Finance, because the risk in the venture is very high. By 2008 the capacity of the airport would be close to 70 lakh people per year. It’s expected by 2018 the airport would be able to handle close to 40-50 million people.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Landmark Deal for TCS

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has won a $ 847 million landmark deal from the UK based insurance company, Pearl Group. The deal will be executed in 12 years of time and revenues from the deal will start flowing from the last quarter of this fiscal.

This deal is a momentous occasion for TCS as well as for the Indian IT industry in terms of the structuring of the deal. In the ABN Amro bank deal also TCS had its share to the tune of $ 250 million. But the new thing that figured in these deals was the movement of people. In the ABN Amro bank deal about 2000 people from bank’s IT division had moved to the five IT companies to which deal was awarded. TCS also absorbed a few people as part of the deal.

In this deal of Pearl Group, TCS is going to take over the entire business processes of Pearl and also 950 employees in UK. This will lead to the creation of a new company in UK. It will be a BPO that will handle all the life and pension businesses beginning with Pearl Group’s closed books portfolio.

S Ramadorai, MD and CEO of TCS said that this deal validates our strategy of pioneering the next generation of BPO. The biggest advantage of this deal is that TCS gets an entry into the European life insurance market. The Pearl Group has a base of 25 billion pounds and has 2.5 million subscribers. Also the Pearl Group has said that they have no objection in the new company doing business for other firms in Europe.

Indian IT companies have not been very strong in the European region. Lately the deals like ABN AMRO and the latest one of Pearl Group can give the IT companies a foot hold even in this emerging market which is considered to be the second biggest after North America.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Star “Sensational” News

The title of the post says it all. For quite sometime I was thinking about writing about this and finally today I got the time to put down my thoughts.

Star News came into being when NDTV finished its contract with STAR. Subsequent to the expiry of contract NDTV came out with two channels NDTV India and NDTV 24 x 7. Both the channels still retain the quality of original NDTV. Star News on the other hand got popularity because of other reasons.

I do not know how many readers of this blog actually watch Star News, but I do watch it quite often. For quite sometime I have been observing this channel in terms of the news content it carries. Everyday the channel comes out with sensational news which no other channel has a clue even. But the news is sensational only for a day and after that everyone forgets about it, even the channel itself. The best example is the recent news about Google Earth.

The channel in its ticker carries the name of the story which it’s going to unveil later in the night usually at about 10:30 or later. This is because the story will have content which can be unsuitable for young audience. The program by name SANSANI has gained lot of popularity because of its highly energetic host Shrivardhan Trivedi. The program shows the real life crime happening around us. It will be news based on some kind of killing, robbery, or other anti human activities. The channel will give it so much of focus that for a moment people forget the current affairs and other news happening in the country. At the end of the day the channel is trying to gain popularity in the way western channel do – the reality TV.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Homecoming 2005 - Part 2

The next day the morning happened for us at about 9:30 AM. We got up and went for the breakfast in Shri Krishna leela restaurant. It was bad. Anyways we got ready and then started for college. I sat in canteen for sometime and then went to my old home – SysLab. After reaching there I met the junies and the sub junies out there and did a little bit of gyaan baazi here and there. After having interaction with them for about half an hour I left the syslab and then could not meet up with Bombay guys at all since they had left by then. Venki left for chennai by the bus and then all of us came back to college. Six of us were left finally – Raj, Nair, CP, Uncle, Krishna and myself. We all then took the bus and left for Udupi temple. Went to temple it was a nice feeling after a long time. After the temple visit we all landed up at our old destination for all parties, the Pisces restaurant. Started off with the Veg Minnestrone soup and then had a host of dishes. It was nice lunch.
After the lunch we booked a taxi and went to Kaup beach. The last time I went to Kaup beach was on Atharva Quiz on the beach. The weather was good and rain god had shown some mercy on us. Moreover the beach was not crowded. We stayed there for about 2 hours watching the sunset. We started back from there at about 6:30 PM and roamed in KMC Greens for sometime. It was a nice remembrance of the night we had spent out there. Thereafter went back to hotel packed the entire luggage and then went to guzzlers for the final retreat. Only nair and myself were there since raj cp and uncle were involved in the placecom dinner and krish had left by then to Mangalore. Nair and myself had the banarasi paan outside guzzlers, which was one of a kind in Manipal.
We left Manipal at 10 and the bus we boarded had some problem on the seats. I developed rashes on my hands and legs. We reached Bangalore at about 8:30 AM. Then went to CP and Raj’s house. The house is pretty good. Few hours later I left for airport. While traveling saw the big structures of Accenture and Oracle. Anyways reached Airport at 12:30 and got into 1:15 flight somehow and saved three hours. Reached Hyderabad at 2:30 and back to home at 3:00. This way my journey to homecoming ended.

Homecoming 2005 - Part 1

The title of the post should not be new for most of the people who belong to TAPMI. Every year the Alumni Affair Committee takes the mantle of organizing Alumni Homecoming which is a 2 day affair where in the Alumni of the institute come back to the institute, enjoy and remember their spent times here.

Last time we were the organizers of this event. This time we were the participants of this event. I started from Hyderabad on 7th of October by Kingfisher Airlines incidentally, which was my first airline journey. The flight journey was cool and we landed on Bangalore at 8:15, which is 40 minutes later when compared to the actual arrival time. By the time I came out of the Airport I took a taxi that took a whopping amount (I will not like to disclose that here) and dropped me at the bus travels place after a bit of struggle. The bus arrived at 10:00 PM and I met all the people there. Raj, CP, Uncle, Venky and Nair. Chappar could not come due to some last minute changes. As always myself and nair started in Bus itself and took a break and slept in the night at about 2 or so.

The next day morning the bus reached manipal at 8:00 AM. It was a pleasure to come back to Manipal unlike other times when I did not feel like coming back to Manipal at all. We took an auto and reached the hotel Royal. We met rest of the gang from Bombay. If we look at the major chunk of people they were from IT companies only thanks to the 5-day week. Anyways we got allocated ourselves into rooms and myself and Nair landed up in one room. We all got ready somehow thanks to no power and no water in the hotel. A bus was arranged for our transportation from place to place. We reached TAPMI at about 10:30 PM and then started the day with registration and some honors. After that it was the turn of the event of the day – The Director’s Address. It was good. Some of the recent developments happening in TAPMI also came into light.

After the director’s address we all gathered for an informal Tea session with the faculty and the students. It was the time to interact with faculty and I had a talk with Prof. Mohan Kumar in detail about our job and profiles etc. We had a plan to talk later on some issues but time did not permit. After the Tea session it was the time for the Photo session. Pretty decent crowd it was and as always it was very hot standing out there. By the time we completed the photo session it was 1:00 PM. Then we came back to Institute had some photo sessions therein and left for the mess to have lunch by walk.

We reached the TAPMI mess at about 1:20 or so and then had lunch out there. It was awesome. Although the taste did not change a bit, it was good in terms of variety. After having a sumptuous meal at the mess, I went upstairs with Vora to see the condition of our room. The room was in a very bad state. I will not like to comment on that. Thereafter we came down and I was chatting with my TSG junies and other people. Some how we got two bikes. I drove pulsar for the first time and CP drove Enfield. It was a great experience and we went to endpoint. By now the weather in Manipal had become great with cool breeze and cloudy skies with little of rain just like Kerala. We went to end point and sat there for an hour or so. Then we started back, I dropped Tejas to college and then CP and myself came to Thalloor’s for the party. It was a warm welcome by Souveer. After finishing from there we had Goli Bajji in the same shop where we used to have while I was in Manipal. The evening came to an end there. We went back to hotel room and slept there till 7:30 PM.

For the night party I had my special PROVOGUE shirt, which was pretty well received by all. The Nike shoes almost went for a toss because of the mud and dirt clinging to them. Our Night party was in Hotel Kediyoor. It is the same venue where we had the Farewell party. It was a nice experience. Anyways I need not mention about what happened out there. We came back to hotel room at about 1:00 AM and then the bakar session started in our room itself. CP too joined us.

Amitabh Bachchan Turns 64

The living legend of Indian Cinema, the angry young man of 70s, voted as the star of the millennium by BBC and voted as the best anchor ever in the history of Indian television Amitabh Bachchan has turned 64 on Tuesday 11th of October 2005.

Almost all the stars of his age group have gone into shells but this man continues to cast his spell over the millions of people globally and not just in India. Some people say it’s the charisma of Amitabh Bachchan, which actually takes the screen by fire. Whether it’s the martinet principal in Mohabatein or the role of a drunkard police officer in Bunty aur Babli, He does every role to the perfection and gets into any role with ease.

Whether it’s the ads of Emami or the pappu of Cadbury or the Red Man of Eveready, He is superb in every role. There is not a single minute when on any channel one cannot find an ad featuring Amitabh Bachchan.

While the entire nation and nook and corners of each and every part of the country was going gaga over the birthday of Amitabh Bachchan, the man himself decided to stay away from all kinds of celebrations.

AB decided to keep his birthday low profile this year in wake of the earthquake that hit India and Pakistan. He had planned a birthday bash with close friends and relatives at his residence. But finally he just had breakfast with members of AB Corp and his personal staff at his office in Juhu. Well unlike many of us AB did not take a holiday even on his birthday and shoot for KBC. Later he flew to New York to shoot for the latest movie of Karan Johar.

There is no doubt the actor remains a superstar till date, given the fact that most of his 2005 releases have done well. Take Black, Waqt: Race Against Time, Sarkar and Bunty Aur Babli. I wish him a very happy birthday and hope to see more of Amitabh in every sphere of Indian cinema.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Relative humor

The title of this post may look very eccentric to most of the reader, but according to me there is something called as relative humor. Over a period of time interacting with different type of people, I realized that every one has a different sense of humor and how one perceives things is quite different from other.
humor can be defined as a message whose ingenuity or verbal skill or incongruity has the power to evoke laughter. Here the different words which constitute the definition have different meaning for different people. The simple reason for this is that we all are different. We believe in different things, we do things differently and what is fun for us may be yawn for the other.
There are no defined standards for humor. That is why humor for Tamilians or Malayalies may not be appreciated by people from let us say Andhra or Karnataka.
Usually humor in southern states is largely influenced by the movies. In telugu movies Brahmanandam plays the key role of comedian mostly. So the situations or jokes said by him become the benchmark for discussion in almost all places. I think it all lies in the way we take the situation into consideration. Sometimes even the most dreaded situations can be made comic with a single dialogue. Similar is the case for tamil or malayalam movies.
The sense of humor in school is different from college. In colleges its different among groups of people. In MBA the sense of humor touches new heights when things which will bring laughter to any person will be discussed.
In a corporate environment, one needs to be very careful while cracking any kind of nasty stuff because of several rules and regulations undergoing. What is humor between PM and BA may not be really humorous for the developers. What is humorous for the developers may sound stupid to the PM or any other senior management. I think the key lies in adaptation.
Well the idea of this post is to bring out the concept of relative humor. Relative in a sense that with respect to whom or what. We need to respect humor from all corners. We really cannot comment that his sense of humor is really bad. Exceptions are always there like Ariel or Champu. They can be really bad. But its all in us. If we cannot laugh lets make someone laugh.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Corporate Team Outing

This post is dedicated to my first corporate team outing. Usually in IT companies the management allows all the project teams to go for team outing once in a quarter. The allocated budget depends on the size of the team but usually its sufficient for the team keeping in mind the place its going to visit and associated activities.
Last Saturday that is on 1st of October 2005, I went for my first Corporate Team outing with my CDS team. We were a group of 15 people together with a kid. The kid was a 1st standard son of my Project Manager. The team outing was planned, designed and undertaken end to end by Sai Pavan Kumar, one of the members of our team.
The time decided was 8:45 and we all were supposed to meet in Lulla Center building. But as per Hyderabadi standards 8:45 would mean 9:15 or later only. So by the time all the people arrived it was 9:40 and the bus left from Lulla center at 9:45 or so. It was a long journey close to about 50 KM from Begumpet and about 21 KM from the Chilkur Temple. There was some confusion created by Sai Pavan Kumar but was somehow overcome later.
We reached the venue at 11:00. Meanwhile in the bus we had a great time cracking all kinds of nasty jokes about several people. We reached the venue and there were private parties of 5 more companies. The photo session had begun already in the Lulla Center, thanks to the digital camera courtesy Mahender. We started the day there with a Welcome drink. Of course not to be mistaken for the other kind of drink, it was orange juice. I like the way they welcomed us into the resort. For all the companies they made a private space ensuring that each party had its own privacy. After finishing the welcome drink we moved to the Games space since this was the next destination before we go for lunch.
In the gaming zone, I started with TT but due to bad practice and very hot conditions, I just could not play well. Hence moved out of TT and went to play Snooker. Anyways I do not know the game well and could only manage to play a few shots. KHV, my, in fact our Project Manager arrived at this moment. He had a tough time driving keeping in mind the directions given by one and only Mr. Sai Pavan Kumar. We had a good session playing Snooker and Billiards. KHV and myself played for some time and then few more people joined us. The games session ended at 1:00 PM. Now was the time for the event of the day.
We all came down to the lunchroom at about 1:30 and then KHV made the announcement for the drinks. Who are the takers?
Without any hesitation and delay I raised my hand. Some more people joined us and we had a good time enjoying the drinks. It was hot but I was also thirsty. Since last two months I did not touch it and I thought this is the best time before homecoming begins and there will be numerous issues if optimum performance is not delivered. Anyways after that we had lunch and it was good and wholesome. We were tired after that and took rest for some time sitting and chatting.
After the lunch, the real show began. We took the swimwear from the authorities concerned and then entered the swimming pool. Believe me it was real great fun. I never had so much of fun before in water. The pool was clean and the sun was shining bright. All of us jumped into the pool and then started the next series of game, which included handball, volleyball and what not. It was superb. Except for KHV almost everyone was into the water. A few more incidents happened. Needless to say they are not mentionable here. The experience of swimming pool cannot be expressed here in words. It was perhaps one experience of a lifetime and will be there in my memory forever.
Thereafter we all were very tired. It was long two hours in the water, so tiredness will be there. We had Tea and thereafter a photo session. Sanjeev and myself ended up discussing about the company and other issues. We went to see the rose garden and a few other spots within the resorts. Had Mirchi Bajji and then started our journey back to home.
All in all my first team outing was superb. I just loved it.

Friday, September 30, 2005

IMF to write off debt

In one of the landmark decisions taken by IMF, close to $ 55 bn of debt to 18 poor countries will be written off in the coming future.

“The world has come together,” said British FM Gordon Brown who has championed the debt write-off and chairs the IMF’s steering group, the International Monetary and Financial Committee. The plan will be in operation by the end of the year.

The World bank share holder’s will follow the IMF’s lead and also cancel the 18 countries which are included in the above list, which are mostly African countries, debts to it. Initially the amount is expected to be $ 40 bn but it can go upto $ 55 bn as more countries become eligible for the debt write off.
African nations welcomed the deal but wanted to ensure there would be no extra strings attached to receiving the money and called for more nations to become eligible.

Aid campaigners were relieved that the plans that have been floated for years finally appeared to be turning into reality

The World Bank said the debt deal could boost recipients’ annual economic growth by half a percentage point. The deal that has been sealed by the Fund this weekend will provide urgently needed money for education and health care,”

Now only World Bank has to approve the deal since IMF has already crossed the barrier.


Today one of the pioneers and major players of global outsourcing takes a new name.

GECIS has now taken a new name reflecting both its GE heritage and outlook for the future - GENPACT. This change in name has come, following a change in ownership from GE to General Atlantic and Oak Hill Partners.

In an official statement, the authorities said that the new name communicates generating value, commitment, partnership and impact; and the tagline - Global Business ImpactSM - summarizes our value proposition. The GENPACT logo includes a symbol in the form of a red arrow impacting a blue field. It conveys pushing the envelope, higher margins through better efficiency and effectiveness, re-engineering, and business impact. The symbol also reflects out-of-the-box thinking that is core to our work philosophy.

When GE commercialized its GE Capital International Services unit on December 30, 2004, it began searching for a new name to communicate its heritage and value proposition.Employees and customers suggested names by the hundreds. One of the brainstorms surfaced GENPACT. “We chose it because it so aptly communicates our brand promise - generating value, commitment, partnership and impact,” said Pramod Bhasin, president and chief executive officer.

The company’s tagline is Global Business ImpactSM .

“Global enterprises today want impact,” Bhasin said. “They want partners they can trust to work with them and through process excellence measurably improve their margins, cash performance, and speed to market.”
The GENPACT logo, developed by Interbrand, includes a symbol in the form of a stylized arrow impacting a blue field. “It conveys pushing the envelope, aiming higher, and, of course, business impact,” Bhasin said.