Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Travelling on This Easter Weekend

Its raining here in California. More like Minnesota rather than the sunny golden state is known for. On my flight here, I saw a couple of entertaining folks on the flight.Now all of us usually skip the boring part of flight safety instructions but these folks made it like a Radio Talk show which made it awfully interesting to see their onsite improvisation.

That apart they even had DirecTV onboard which meant 6 hours of uninterrupted TV shows. I am not a TV person and spent any time hardly on it. I flipped through most of them and settled on a History Channel which ran a mini series on the Jesus and I was trying to draw parallels between "The Passion" and this fact based show.Not really much, my Ignorance concluded.

Then got bored with it and switched on to National Geographic Channel which had this series called "Quest for Truth" and was trying to explore the reality of the yarn that was spun in "The Da Vinci Code". Dan Brown was on it trying to justify that Da Vinci was a member of some secret socety called some order of zion. Then he was trying to impress upon people that Mary Magdalene married Jesus and that she travelled to south of france and the first kings of france were the bloodline of Jesus.That was my Easter Sunday and I woke up to the smell of fersh coffee from Padma.Then it started raining.

I miss my pals out there in VA, but I hope to see those fellas sometime over here. Till then please munch on the following :

A boiled egg, you see, is not merely an egg that has been boiled. It is a self-contained package, an irresistible alliance, of violence and nursery rhymes. To get into it, you must destroy it.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

On The Marriage Game

I have been given the privilege of being the "Kabob Mein Haddi" in the house of a newly wed couple. As it is usually with privileges, you dont know its use unless you abuse it. So here I go abusing it.

Watching the bride and groom in their natural habitat as yielded me some interesting lessons. I wont elaborate in detail (cannot risk being thrown out in my last days here in VA). All you need is to remember 2 important points to help smoothen your transition from a bohemian to that of a married gentleman.

(a) Firstly, Learn to say "Yes, Dear". (It helps to repeat after me.) Practice this early and Practice it often. It can be your most effective weapon in dissuading your spouse from a full fledged warfare that will threaten the domestic harmony

(b) Lastly, It does not pay to think in marriage.If your spouse asks for it, you gotta go get it, even if the deal entails selling your soul. It is not a good reply to say "I dont do Small Talk" to your better half. You gotta get yourself enrolled for a school that will teach you the art of Small Talk which comes in handy when dealing with your senora's relatives.(They are a package deal when you tie the knot)

I know I am not making any new friends with this dispatch but I had to write this stuff down somewere for my future reference as well as to see if I can hopefully help someone out there.

ps: Please deliver your brickbats to my personal email.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Matters Of The Mind

What's Mind?
No Matter!

What's Matter?
Never Mind!

That was an old AI joke around campus when our project was tring to model a digit recognizer for which we had to design an 'eye' for recognizing numbers on a checkbook. That was renewed when I came across this new (atleast to me) stuff called "The Santiago Theory Of Cognition" whose central insight seem to be

  • Mind is not a thing but a process
  • Mind is a process of Cognition (which is none other than process of life itself)
  • Consciousness is an elaborate form of this process

Wonder what the 'Cartesians' would be thinking now?.

Meanwhile I recommend that you watch "I love Huckabees"

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Parting Shot

They agreed to cook up a fight.This was the last time they would be meeting. It was good.They were about to bring the folly of a passion to an end.The reason : sensing a terrible and endless imprisonment,atleast one of them wanted to break free.

They knew they dreamt of something, from which awakening was impossible.There is a grim satisfaction is knowing the secret,in _not_ lifting the last veil because its diophanus communicaton warns you of what befalls once the last veil is removed. He dreamt of a Russian Doll where a doll inside doll inside doll.. Wheels within Wheels as one author wrote.

He promised he wouldnt loook back, yet he does from the accelerating bus. She had a serene grace about her, waving him farewell with her eyelids.His eyes meets her arresting ones and a sense of inescapable longing dawns when they meet.They never troubled at being understood.Now he looks into every passerby's eyes in the vanity of hoping that someone would tell him, her story. Someday she would find him.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Half a Decade After the Bubble

Five years ago, In John Doerr's words we witnessed the 'greatest creation of wealth' known to mankind. I fondly remember those times when i was in my grad school and saw did see the zeitgeist of that era. Me and My cousin agreed that it was the perfect 'best of the times, worst of the times, age of wisdom and era of ignorance' kind of times.

Even my being in grad school didnt deter potential recruiters from making job offers.At that time, I was fresh off the boat for about 6 months and I was trying to be hired (That should have given me a clue). Those were the times when people who could spell the 4 letter words in IT ,like Unix and Java, would get hired. Those were also the times when weekend used to start on Thursday nights. This was the week in which Nasdaq hit a historic high before the eventual fall.

The rest as we know is history. We didnt seem to learn from the South Sea Bubble, Tulipmania
or the more recent craze of the railways.

There is this interesting blog-athon on the bubble, started by Om Malik, that lays out various perspectives of those wonder years.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Enigma Of Departure

Its a strange thing working your last two weeks after giving a notice to your current employer of your intentions to defect to another company. You just cannot feel like the work you do is a routine everyday work. You have to reject new prPeople say Life is all about moving on, but I observe thats seldom true.From what I see Life is hanging on to what you got and nourishing it and carefully growing with it, not radically movng away from a thing that has held you so far.

A employee-employer relationship is kinda like marriage and I have announced to break-up.Not being in any break-ups before, I dont know how to react.I react sadly to leave back all that you have built (your work, your relationships,etc) but excited to know that I would be building again from scratch. Te more I think of this impending move, the more I feel rejuvenated.

Another point that struck me as overwhelming was the amount of "love" that I was showered upon announcing my departure. The first words out of people's mouth was "I would miss you".(Not all people mean it but the majority of them did come across as visualizing some sense of my absence). Apparently I wasnt aware of my own importance and the value I bring to an organization till I chose to move on.I see some fairly high ups of the hierarchy stooping down to talk me into staying with the firm.They are trying to understand and accomodate my every quirkiness that leads to the severance of our bonds. Its simply breathtaking to see my "most respected" business woman pull all strings available to her just to prevent me breaking away from the pack.She has all my admiration and my supervisors all my respect, yet I gotta hang my shoes (Do I come across as arrogant and an obstinate Child to them? Maybe.But thats definitely not my intention).

I know people do this thing fairly routine in the industry I work with but still, this being my first job in my career takes away some certitude of the "right" feeling. The good part is the vote of confidence that I would be doing all right, helps ride me this wave of uncertainity.

I am ready to fly away from this cocoon. I hope the yarn I leave behind will make it into a fabric of silk for someone.Its my choice of timing and I will stick by it.

Monday, March 07, 2005


There are stories people like in which they were already imprisoned.
There are stories in which people appeared along with the storyteller, accomplices in escaping.
There are stories that people like to wrap around their values to be read by posterity.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Westward Ho!

"Westward Ho" written by Charles Kingsley that tells a tale of a child growing up and taking to sea during the period of Elizabeth I and finally climaxes with the protoganist finding some love in the middle of a clash with the formidable spanish armada.

That Apart, I am finally decided to relocate to the US West Coast to take up another gig.Before the Silicon Valley made its mark on this coast it is very well known for risk takers like the early outlaws (ahh! the westerns) , the gold rush of 49, and the likes.It is sometimes said that the West Coast is populated by people whose ancestors were continually willing to take the risk of leaving everything they knew and move West ... until they couldn't go any further, and here they are.California.

There are plenty of risk-takers and innovators elsewhere,too. I am told there are a *lot* of people around the valley wlling to try something different.( I am not alluding to THAT but that too). Good reasons for me to to do this at this point in my life. Wish me luck.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Hocus Pocus

You are presented with a product picture in one frame, dynamic questions in the other frame. Lets say the picture is of a dog food box in left frame and the right frame asks you the question - "Do you like the new packaged box pic in the right frame?". The backend software rotates the box in the left pane. Online audience will answer what they felt like."Describe how you feel about the new Munchies box with one word". Another piece of software quickly tallies the string literals.
After a few seconds of thinking the moderating piece of software asks the next questions - "Munchies seems to make you either powerful, flatulent, or powerfully flatulent. Which one describes how you feel the best?" And so on.You should get this drift by now.Dynamic reaction on the fly and this is the essence of an online focus group.Except that no one seemed to care if the dogs like the food or not.

The above mentioned demo is exactly what our newest competitor product is doing,kind of like a remote usability lab.Their marketing has a pompous name to it which I forget (Thats Okay considering that I am not a part of their 'target audience'). As you could see our competitor just 'pushed the envelope'. I use the phrase in a very loose sense given that in the world of aeronautics, the envelope is the collection of curves that describe the maximum performance of an aircraft. To push the envelope is to take the aircraft to the edge of what it was designed to do and try and take it beyond.

Anyways, We got into this field with a recent acquisition of a market research company and it would be interesting to see how that group in my firm responds to this.