[ To Express, To Reflect, To Give Back ]

Blogs in Business…

Thursday, April 28th, 2005

Thanks to BusinessWeek for blowing blog trumpet on headlines Blogs Will Change Your Business [via lazygeek] more attention to be grabbed.

Most may not have read this online extra about a new position created at Stonefield Farms exclusively to blog. We use Stonefield yogurts everyday and I never imagine this company (sells almost a million cups of yogurt a day!) would ever use blog to connect to its customers. Not only that, they created a new position in the name of ‘Chief Blogger’. This person, sits alongside the CEO of Stonefield talk to BusinessWeek about their faith in Blogs for better business.

Who else is left to write about blogs?

from Akron

Saturday, April 23rd, 2005

We are in Akron, Ohio, a small deserted town 30 miles south of Cleveland, Ohio. Since this is our second three-day weekend trip in the last two months, atleast a few of my friends/colleagues have assumed that we are just travelling all the time!

We are here to celebrate the first birthday of Sruthi, my friend’s sweet little playful daughter.

aaaThe last time we were here we spent the nights playing board game, Risk. We enjoyed it so well that we made sure we play it this time as well. It wasn’t as much fun as last time ( there were more poeple lastime) but we still had a good time last night. This morning Ganesh took us to LaserQuest, a high-tech laser gun hunting indoor game. Though its an indoor activity for middle-aged kids, we enjoyed it very well. A lot of things specific to kids or teens is America is equally or more fascinating for us ( and I suppose for most of the first generation Indians) since we never grew up seeing/doing any of this.

On our way back, I couldn’t stop dragging Ganesh & Harini into a store when the sign outside read ‘Giant Book Sale’, ‘80% off’…who wouldn’t? They were distinterested, but i persisted. After a half-hour soul search for the books : ‘That I will buy, will try to read someday’, I got two good ones from the biography sections, ‘leadership’ by Guliani and ‘Yanni in words’ by Yanni. ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ by Mitch Albom is already on its way to our home from Amazon marketplace while I am right now in my second but much more revealing reading of ‘7 Habits of highly effective people’ by Stephen Covey.

Warmer days are in…

Sunday, April 17th, 2005

The past two weekends were gorgeous with sun showing allout naked. We must have been missing warm weather so badly that we get so ridiculously excited to see a bright sunny day. What we do with it is out of question ( since we don’t do anything ) but the cheer and excitement it brings in is a good feeling. Today is also looking awesome and we will heading out soon to get our skin cell refurbished for the week!

On friday night, we saw ‘Mumbai Express’, the latest kamalhassan movie. I would say the movie was ‘good’ [Kamal could have killed us with another ‘Alavandan’, so I don’t mind giving ‘Good’]. Two phrases would perhaps sum up the movie easily : ‘Comedy of errors’, ‘Old wine in a new bottle’. I thought ‘Panchathanthiram’ was better.

Nothing more can I say about Kamal’s performance, it is ‘as good as it has always been. Perhaps, only less romantic. The story, screenplay is a slamdunk for Kamal. Even if it isn’t obvious, there are shades of Crazy Mohan’s touch all over the place. I still wonder why Manisha is still cast as lead in Tamil movies. There must be more than what the skin says!. Pasupathy, I felt, could have shaved off his villianic attitudes and stares a bit for there was very little to be ‘comical’ for him anyway. Ramesh Arvind, as always, stands out, which is why ‘Panchathanthiram’ still felt better to me; Kamal-Ramesh Arvind-Jayaram is a lethal combination for comedy. Illayaraja can be identified on occasions. Unless you are intelligent, you shouldn’t care why this movie couldn’t have been ‘Chennai Express’, whats the deal with Mumbai when everyone simply speaks Thamizh?

Heard from someone who saw the opening show of ‘Chanramukhi’ that Ranjini has niether lost his star attraction nor his on-screen gimmicks. Perhaps, they have only become worse!

Until next…

Indian FM in NJ

Thursday, April 14th, 2005

1680 AM is a popular Indian FM station around the area we live here in NJ. When I am on the road, I sometimes switch to it if i feel like listening to hindi songs when every other FM station feels kind of dry. If not for those songs, I prefer not to be on 1680. Especially, i am tired of their silly advertisements. Supposedly middle-aged Punjabi nani shouting with her husband insisting he should get her chicken tikka masala for dinner from that one and only restaurant in the whole nj because its the only true punjabi food! We all know how most Indian restaurants here run their business, so lets not even go there. So these and other such funny ads for ‘Lion Mortgage’ and ‘Honda dealer’ sometimes make me quickly switch back to my other favourite stations like NPR or Smooth Jazz.

Today is one of those days I felt like finding out what was going on the world of EBC radio. In a few minutes came an ad for a Wells-Fargo mortgage broker. Two Indian ladies chatting , eloquently mixing english with hindi, about how nice this broker ( who is another Indian lady, obviously ) was. Run your own imagination on how original they tried to make this coversation (as if these two ladies are neighbours secretly talking to each other thru the gaps of a closed window!).

Suddenly, one exclaims, “Oh, She is aa dumb professional yaar’.

For a second, I went berzerk, wondering what the heck was she saying. Is that a Indian-American slang that I never knew? Holy moly, I must be missing a whole lot from my fellow citizen’s vocabulary.

Few minutes went by, I couldnt stop thinking about what she was saying. I soon realized I was the one who was dumb. This is a hindified english ad for gods sake! Apparently, She was simply saying ‘Oh, She is Ek Dhumm professional yaar’.

Happy Thamizh New Year!

Wednesday, April 13th, 2005

Wishing you all a happy and colorful Thamizh New Year!

Tamil new year

India Talk

Tuesday, April 12th, 2005

I was on a call this morning with our offshore partners in India discussing some stuff related to work. Two words came out frequently from pretty much everyone dialing in on the call from India ( There must have been at least 8 individuals from Bangalore and Mumbai ).

1. Doubt. ‘Bob, I have a doubt on this?’, ‘My next doubt is…’. This was one of the first things I learnt when I started working in US. Thankfully, it was only my second or third day, and I was talking to a senior HR lady(from India), to whom, I had asked something like ‘ I have some doubts?’. Perhaps, she had her own revelation in her past, She instantly explained to me the difference in asking the same question as ‘I have some questions?’. I guess it is a cultural thing, in which to Americans, ‘doubt’ implicitly means a negative connotation. Usually in America, you doubt someone’s ability or character or you doubt if something is worth its price or status. For eg ‘I doubt if she can complete it’, ‘I doubt if this food is healthy’ etc. Though I understand how common the usage of the doubt in Indian classroom, and now in workplace is, there are subtle, but important, differences in the meaning of words in various parts of the world that we should attempt to adapt it accordingly once we learn about it.

2. Actually. ‘Actually, we….’, ‘Actually, there…’, Actually, can you…’. A lot of guys on the call started their sentences with ‘Actually’. I think this is simply an acquired habit more than anything else. I still remember how Azharuddin used the word ‘like…like….like’ about 20 times before he completes two or three sentences. This is not a bad thing though; but too much of a one word’s usage within a short speech will drag the unnecessary attention. The one thing I can suggest here is to consciously introspect what and how we speak and correct it.

Please do use your cell phones in gas stations!

Wednesday, April 6th, 2005

There is a lot of urban rumours about cell phones. Noone really has proved anything, at least not scientifically. I remember seeing a small piece of sticker in every gas station’s pump, warning not to use cell phone around the pump. I never gave a thought around it, but just assumed, as we usually do in lot of others things in this modern life, that it would be some serious stuff. So I have grown used to now leaving the cell phone inside the car deliberately everytime I move out to pump gas.

cell phone

Apparently, a researcher is claiming that a cell phone warrants no danger in a gas stations whatsoever. This is one more reason to believe that ‘static electricity’ is the culprit in most gas station accidents than a cell phone. If you have experienced ‘static electricity’, better be happy. It is annoying and almost always happens after you leave your car after a drive. Even though it is an equivalent of a slight prick, it is terribly irritating and you just can’t avoid it. The excess charge in our body must get released and your next contact with a any metal will likely kill you for a micro second! In most cases, doors knobs/handles that you touch after you hop out of your cars will honor you with that static.

So be more careful with your static and less cautious with your cell phones when filling up gas. Neverthless, these urban legends have become so much a part of our life that you have follow the rules even when you know they aren’t really harmful.

Spam – A primer!

Tuesday, April 5th, 2005

Most of my readers, including non-techies, must have at least heard of spam, even if they don’t understand what it really is/does. In my own definition, ‘Spams are the evils of Internet’! Spam is a computer software, usually referred in the industry as ‘spam bots’ (shorter version of robot), that simply send junk emails to every email id that it can get a hold of. If you have ever used Hotmail, I am sure you have experienced spam in the form of most popular spam emails : viagara and other ‘enlargement’ pills! As for blogs such as this one, Spam comes in the form of comments. These are a different kind of the same softwares that mocks as a blog reader automatically posting unwanted, unrelated, junk comments. More or less for the same stuff we get in Hotmail : Viagara, Online Poker, Online Gambling, Porn websites and all other sorts of sneaky stuff.

When I upgraded to WordPress version 1.5 recently, I turned ON my comments in this blog for anyone to post, but I had also turned ON the filter system that blocks unwanted, crap comments. Thanks to that filter, in two days, It has filtered 250 comments! I guess, thats a small number, when compared to the real damage it can create. Imagine, if the spam software simply runs overnight bombarding like an AK47, 100s of comments in my blog every minute; my site’s database would literally scream at somepoint and miserably die! My site’s host, TotalChoiceHosting, even with name Total Choice, will obviously have no choice but to shut down the site, of course, without my permission. I wouldnt blame ’em.

I guess, my site is in the black list, so no matter how i try, spam is going hit me hard. I can only hope I am equipped well enough to combat. In the meantime, if you ever comment, don’t add any links in your comments unless you want to check if how my spam filter works! No one is commenting anyway, why did i even write this?