[ To Express, To Reflect, To Give Back ]

Judgement made too early!

Thursday, March 31st, 2005

I guess I judged it as spectacular just bit too early! Someone was looking at this web site in internet explorer and the links on the side and layout in screwed up. Apparently I didnt realize it since I use FireFox!

Should I blame Internet Explorer or WordPress or the popular Firefox. I would have blame the usual scape goat Microsoft I guess.

With the new tool and some combating armour to tear down comment spammers, I am unceremoniously reopening the comments for this blog! If you have something to shower me, please do. If you hate me, assume you never read this post!.

Simply Spectacular!

Thursday, March 31st, 2005

You might be wondering about the new look of this blog. Thats the new beauty of the latest version of the WordPress software I am using to run this blog.

I have only one thing to say about my upgrade from WordPress 1.2 to 1.5. – Awesome! It was a breeze and took me less than 5 minutes. It gives me much more features and control over what shows up in this blog and thats freedom and power to me!

WordPress Zindabad!!!

Paying Attention in Internet Era

Wednesday, March 30th, 2005

In the Middle Ages,people were willing to walk from Stockholm to Munich to meet somebody who had something important to say. They listened and thought seriously about what they heard. Today, communication is instantaneous. I’m afraid after a while we may not pay much attention to it. The gates of attention allow very few things to come in. – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity and Education Guru.

I know I was suffering from some chronic information overload disorder!, just didnt know it is ADT ( and not ADD! ). Don’t be alarmed yet! Read this interesting interview in CNET with Dr. Edward Hallowell.

Things from the interview that caught my attention:

But never before have we so routinely been able to overload brain labor.

You need to set limits and preserve time to think. …we are not giving ourselves that opportunity. What your brain is best equipped to do is to think, to analyze, to dissect and create. And if you’re simply responding to bits of stimulation, you won’t ever go deep

And the final touch from Dr.Edward : How you allocate your time and your attention is crucial. What you pay attention to and for how long really makes a difference. If you’re just paying attention to trivial e-mails for the majority of your time, you’re wasting time and mental energy. It’s the great seduction of the information age. You can create the illusion of doing work and of being productive and creative when you’re not. You’re just treading water

Email – Once upon a time?

Tuesday, March 29th, 2005

Emails as we know it today may be gone sooner than we all can imagine. According to three respected people in the information technology industry, Email has grown way over its intended purpose and its killing itself out of existence into an eternal death!

Ray Ozzie, who originally kick started the email revolution with Lotus Notes believes “Workspaces” (Groove, Sharepoint) is the new collabaration technology. Ray bases his thoughts on Gelernter’s fantastic article on why email is a curse (read this in full if you can) and what Hornik predicts as “death of eMail”.

Their predictions are old though ( from 2003 ) but it kind of reverberates with my thoughts lately around how clumsy email has become, especially at work. Day starts with Email, ends with Email and there is efficiency, structure and organization around what,how, when and where things get done. Perhaps, its time for next workplace collabaration technology. Not surprising that Ray Ozzie is the founder of Groove.

SMS Queen!

Monday, March 28th, 2005

We are back from a culinary weekend ! ( meaning we had food, we went out to eat, we come back home for more good food! ). The only the other thing we did to spend our calories was to talk, talk and talk and laugh out as much.

Text messaging is something I have never used. I never had or used a cell phone when I lived in India and as far as I remember, text messaging was never mainstream in US for ‘cultural’ reason. Anything that strains more than a few cells of their body, Americans will whole heartedly reject it ‘culturally’. Text messaging is one of those victims. I bought into the American idea of our mouth being lot mightier than our fingers ! so I never bothered to try it.

All that changed after I got married to Harini, who is our family SMS queen. So I have been cajoled into using SMS in past few months and between us I sometimes find the patience to send text messages. But when I read the news about the fastest SMS champion in the world, I wonder if it is really true that ‘Nothing is Impossible’. Thats a daunting task to type a complex sentence as the following one in seconds:

The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human. – Try to type this message in your cell phone and if you could do it in 47 seconds on less, Boy! You are the new world champion buddy. [Craig Crosbie of UK fingered it 48 seconds. Karan Sachdev, who fingered it in 66 seconds is India’ SMS King ]

I am proud to hold the second best timing in our two-member family ‘world’ series championship!

off to windy city

Thursday, March 24th, 2005

We are off the windy city for next three days to meet Ramesh & Hinduja. Dan & lavanya will be joining us on friday night and we hope to have some good time before we return back on Sunday.

When I first went to Chicago years ago, the pilot of the flight, right about the time we were landing down, told us a fact that I still seem to remember for some reason : Ohaire airport is such a busy airport that airlines make bargains with air-traffic officials right on the air to get a slot for landing. So luxury airlines get to land faster by paying a higher premium while discount airlines go round and round above the airport, at times for more than an hour before getting a spot to land in Ohaire. Not sure how far it is true, but I remember it 🙂

Coimbatore lad takes up F1

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2005

Narain karthikeyan, who is also from Coimbatore (guess who else is?) and who was also hanging out in X-Cut-Road, KG Theater and ooty junction right around the same time when I used to, recently took a really great honor of being the first Indian to drive in Formula 1.

[Narain with his driving Jordan partner. Src:DancewithShadows]

Had not for that scintillating experience in Indianapolis GrandPrix in the July of 2002, I would have underappreciated this feat of Narain. Let me tell you this, Don’t judge F1 by what you see in Speed channel. Because it is all still believable until you witness it in person. It is spectacularly unbelievable. We witnessed on that hot summer afternoon something that was literally heart shattering. Yeah, thats the right word – Shattering, it wasnt for the faintest of the hearts. At the peak of the race, I couldnt believe my eyes when I saw cars zipping thru at over 250 miles per hour around the meticulously designed tracks. I guess thats faster than sound becoz I could feel it. The sound of screaming engines will hit our ears only a few seconds after we see the car around the corners. If you are brave enough, you could probably try to take the ear buds off of your ears for a few seconds, as the cars pass thru, but then get ready for your strings to be torn. There is a reason why they give those ear buds for free.

[Narain with a stamp of India all over his helmet. Src: F1racing.net, DancewithShadows]

When you think about the fact that a human being is actually controlling the cars at that speed, you just cannot comprehend it. Imagine, looking ahead and except for the black track ahead of you, everything else on either side of you moves past you at 250mph. When you are in that speed, even a tiniest of the mistakes will move out of the tracks!

The truth is it is an extraordinary task to drive a F1, let alone win, let alone win it consistently like Schumacher. I read this scary fact : Karthikeyan lost three and a half kg during the 310-km race but coped well with the heat and physical demands of driving there.. Narain lost close to 7 pounds in that span of 2 hours or so that he was inside the car with inside temperatures 50 degrees C in his recent drive in Malaysian Grandprix.

That narain is also a son of my soil (!) is yet another reason we are planning to be in Indianapolis this summer with him.

A memorable weekend

Sunday, March 20th, 2005

This weekend will go on my records as one of the happiest – I cleared GMAT with 91 percentile(690)! As you could have seen from my lack of presence in this blog, I was busy with studies for the past three months. The efforts paid off and hard to believe my dream has come true. There is still more to do until I secure my admissions but then this one is a major hurdle and I am extremely gratified to have crossed it with good score.

This success has even more significance to me personally, because I had given this test exactly one year ago and failed miserably! I realized what it means to take an exam when you have lost touch with your ‘academic” instincts in so many years after school. I had written this note in April of 2004, but decided not to post it then for some reason.

I had a pathetic day at the test center. I couldnt stand the pressue of the situation and gave up. I could justify my failure with several reasons, but in the end nothing matters. I did really bad and gave up on it. May be I had way too high expectations of myself, only to fall. But, I aint giving it up and will challenge it again. – 04/10/2004

Today, I take extreme pride in having tried again and won over it. Thanks to Harini, without her I would have given up on this ambition altogether. Thanks to everyone else who was supporting, the most significant of them is Lord Ganesha who must have given that 20% luck factor for those answers I gave in a hunch!

Will be back with more spirit.

can you tell a story in 5 digital shots?

Monday, March 14th, 2005

YouTake5 throws a challenge. Though it is only open for residents of America, It is still a achievable and tempting challenge that few thousands if not more, would try out. Virtually everyone has a digital camera these days and taking 5 shots and uploading them is as easy as blinking your eye. So whats the big deal? Understandably, The deal is how smart you can tell a formidable story in 5 clicks. I am going to take a shot for sure. I think everyone should; lets put the $200 gadget to use for one real challenge where average joe really stands a chance. YouTake5 has a gallery that has a few sample stories in 5 shots.

Oh! If you are outside America and think you could do it? I will be happy to volunteer as your representative in the US 🙂 The winner and 5 friends get to go to Las Vegas. We will send you a nice memento. Deal?

Love those gradmas on wheels

Tuesday, March 8th, 2005

Yesterday was one of the beautiful days in Jersey, I was driving with windows down. Positively don’t remember the last time we drove windows down. That pleasure didn’t last long though since we are treated with some rain this morning. Little mountains of dirty snow still is piled all around the streets and here comes more of it today after noon.

Its real amazing to watch people drive (and see yourself drive!) here in falling snow and in heavy rain. This is probably the only time I have seen cars moving around the posted speed limit. On a normal day, if a car is driving slow, (meaning on speed limit or little under), 9 out of 10 drivers would ditch it as some poor old double-lensed grandma (Naturally, she sees two cars for every car on the road!). So on this rainy day, as I witness the cars move slowly, my strange mind wonders why the hell all the grandmas and grandpas are out so early in the day. But I failed to realize that I am myself acting like a petrified grandpa grappling the steering wheel with both hands, fixing my eyes on the every lane ahead, eyeing the speedometer every 10 seconds and turning the wipers up and down repeatedly after a truck splashes a chunk of the dirty rain on to my windshield!

I understand grandmas are adorable, but…try not to get mad when she is driving at 35 mph (on a 60 mph zone) and holding you and an entire fleet of cars behind, at her mercy? Its tough.

Cycling 16 miles to work?

Friday, March 4th, 2005

I just learnt today that kriuba cycles 8 miles each way to work! In Chennai? Yes. First, let me say, Hats off Man! You deserve a pat from every other Indian citizen.

[kriuba leaving to work from his chennai home. That really looks like a saturday morning jolly ride to local park!. Source:Kriba.com. More pictures there]

Knowing he works in a high-paying IT job in chennai and is also a popular speaker around the town, you would imagine he drives a Ford or Hyundai, or at the very least, a Maruthi 800( which he does own, apparently, but contrary to what I thought, he cycles to work saving the 800 from the maniacal chennai traffic). I have to agree that he could give a lot of professional cyclers a run for their money if he really gets a bicycle with gears.

The timing of this post from Kriuba has a little significance in my life. Come March 13, I am completing my full 6 years of life in America as “Alien Worker” ( Anyone not American is a Alien! OK, Let me not get started! ). Consequence of a stupid but still idealistic goal of returning to India in 6 years, we dont have a “green card” today and will have to go on a yearly renewals of our status from now onwards. (Did you say “enough”?) . My beloved home state in America, New Jersey didnt give me a driving license past March 13 and we havent received our legal documents yet for me to extend my license. So I was wondering yesterday that the only way I can legally get out of my house is walk, run or cycle! A bicycle seemed a sensible idea considering its about 6 miles each way and that the cold winter hasnt seen it way out yet. That was yesterday and Kriuba hit the chord with my thoughts today!

So stay tuned for pictures of a drenched cyclist on a cold winter morning.

Arun’s short film screening in Chennai

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2005

Arun Vaidhyanathan, who is now on vacation in India, has arranged for a private screening of all his short films in Chennai. If anyone living in chennai is interested in watching his short films and/or to meet him, here is the logistics from him.

Screening of my short films

Greetings. Hope this post finds everybody in great health. Screening of my short films is arranged! I welcome all the bloggers and friends for the same.

Venue :-
Sridevi preview theatre New # 14, (old # 46-A),
Vijayaragava road, T Nagar, Chennai – 600 017
Date and Time :- March 8th (Tuesday) 6:45 P.M

Iam really looking forward to meet you all. If possible, Please spread this word among your friends and other short film enthusiasts.

Thanks a lot.
Love,Arun Vaidyanathan [Arun’s Tamil Blog]

fyi, Harini and myself helped Arun a bit in the making of his latest movie, Stinking Cigar. [Click the link to watch the movie online!]