Friday, May 30, 2008

Yes we can! -> No we won't?

On Barack Obama (US Pres. 2009?) and VP Singh (India PM - 1989)
I see eerie similarities between Barack Obama's ascendancy and VP Singh's rise to power in India 20 years ago when I was a young and enthusiastic student. Both arrivals were heralded with unforeseen youth involvement. Both talk about unification and social equalization. Both arrive with RECTITUDE on their resume.

VP Singh was, in my limited political opinion, the greatest disappointment in Indian politics, since it was supposed to be a new hope - a new politics. For a change, there were expectations from a politician! It ended with students burning themselves on the streets around disappointing policy-making (Mandal commission's quota system for minorities). "Yes we can -> No we won't"

The question is (assuming he becomes president)- what will Obama do? Will he deliver, or will he disappoint?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A scale for significance!

Working in the Valley, every once in a while, when we launch a product or feature, we have a moment where we feel accomplishment and satisfaction - we're changing the world a little... there's a fleeting moment of value...of meaning...

And then you see a video like the one above (this one from Deka Research is of a bionic arm for the next generation at the D6 conference) - and you realize that all technology is not on the same scale. There is a scale for significance.

I remember when I was at IBM Research, and attended Lou Gerstner's all-hands meetings. There was something special about them. He would talk about how IBM was helping a paraplegic child communicate ... and I would walk back to my office thinking, at least for that day, that I was doing something special working with this great company...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

From Touch screens to jammed Toilets!

Tech continues to attempt to solve esoteric problems like how to talk to our computers, or make gestures at them (obscene or otherwise) - Microsoft is attempting to do this with the new Windows 7 with Touch built-in.

Even as we push the frontier, we still have to come back time and again to solve more basic issues - like how to unplug a blocked toilet. NASA needs to figure out how to unplug one of the most expensive toilets in the universe - the one in the Space Station!

I guess the gold toilet in Donald Trump's house is working without any problems!

Friday, May 23, 2008

The helicopters are buzzing!

Besides earthquakes, Silicon Valley gives you another reason for excitement (and concern) - wildfires! I remember a grass fire that singed the IBM Almaden hill to a charcoal black within the first month of our move from New York in 1997. Scary!

The mountains that Almaden Valley nestles beneath are the Santa Cruz mountains - and they've been on fire over the last 2 days! Smoke is all over our neighbo(u)rhood. I can smell the acrid smoke in our garage and backyard. I've seen some of the helicopters fly out overhead.

Some homes have been burned, and other homes are threatened in the Santa Cruz area. We hope this fire is contained soon, and no more homes are damaged.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Social Networks on the go!

If you can't do without your social network, and aren't able to Twitter or stay LinkedIn because you have to go somewhere....don't fret!

You can always take your social network with you go!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Ronny "Peters" - Somebody gonna get a hurt!

Ronny, our ~13 year-old, did this Russell Peters routine at our recent "music group" gathering. Enjoy!

Warning: this material is not "politically correct" :-)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Driving Drunk at Home!

The blurring between the real and virtual world is happenning as we speak. I found the following comment about Grand Theft Auto IV amusing.

"Critics say the extreme violence in "Grand Theft Auto" video games could be harmful to children, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving has complained that the latest version includes the ability to drive while intoxicated."

Now what's better - driving drunk or staying home playing a drunk driver?

[In all fairness, MADD only wants an Adults-only rating on the game...and they may have a good argument, given the "maturity" of college students at San Diego State University]

The more I hear about this game, the more intriguing it seems ($500 Million in 1 week!)... but then, I have 2 young boys!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Add search to your site ...and make money!

Google's Adsense for Search just expanded to use Custom Search.

Gotta plug my product - Custom Search! Check out how you can add search to your site, customize it, and make money off text-based ads that are tuned to the topic of your site. Index it better with Sitemaps.

Why am I telling you this? If you have a site, it is good for you to have search on it to help people find stuff!

Monday, May 5, 2008

A good way to lose?

Losing can never be easy! But if you watched the Sharks - Silicon Valley's ice-hockey team - "lose" their playoff game last night against the Dallas Stars, you'll realize that one can be magnificent even in defeat!

I'm not an ice hockey fan, but I'm enough of a sports fan to realize that it was a fantastic performance, and I don't believe we'll ever again see a better goaltending performance from 2 goalkeepers in one game - Nabokov and Turco. Unbelievable saves!

The Sharks did San Jose proud - coming back from 3-0 to 3-2 in game score and almost pulling off an incredible comeback - I was riveted to the quadruple-overtime game.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Too much collaboration on the web?

My wife's in India for 2 weeks, and in order to help me handle the hectic schedule with the kids (work plus school plus activities) over the next few days, she emailed me an Excel spreadsheet with a day-to-day schedule for me and the boys - "art class", "soccer practise", etc.!

It even included specific items that I would have otherwise forgotten, like "Water the plants", "Do the laundry" etc. Extremely helpful, but amusing, so I mentioned it to one of my colleagues.

His question (I'm a Googler) - "How come she's not using Google Spreadsheets?"

Google Spreadsheets - a highly collaborative online spreadsheet tool that has the added "advantage" of multiple people being able to collaborate dynamically. My friend's thesis was that she could be marking things green and red and making sarcastic comments about my daily progress, right from the warm living room in Kolkata, making things tough for me in California!

Too much collaboration for me!