Thursday, December 21, 2006
The editor who is talking about Al Jazeera English going live, goes on to say that - By all reckoning the slickly produced news broadcast is more powerful than the 170,000 coalition forces in Iraq with the potential to destroy administrations & topple governments.
Al Jazeera International was launched on 15th November 2006 as the first global English language news and current affairs channel headquartered in the Middle East.
Al Jazeera International is already available all over the world & free to air in most of them. (May be all of them) They claim to reach over 80 million cable and satellite households worldwide. It is also potentially available to the one billion users of the Internet worldwide as a live stream.
Headquartered in Doha, Al Jazeera aired its first exclusive on the 20th of November : News Footage of Naypidaw in Myanmar – formerly Burma – and a high level interview with the Minister of Information, Brigadier General Kyaw Hsan.
Al Jazeera English was granted exclusive access to Naypidaw – a first for a foreign broadcaster. The interview ranged from Aung San Suu Kyi’s detention, the roadmap to democracy, the move to Naypidaw, insurgencies around the country, and the effect of sanctions and the lack of aid to Myanmar’s people.
Al Jazeera English's SOP states that : Broadcasting from within the Middle East, looking outwards, Al Jazeera English will set the news agenda and act as a bridge between cultures. With unique access as the channel of reference for Middle East events, and broadcast centres strategically placed around the world in Doha, Kuala Lumpur, London and Washington DC, Al Jazeera English will balance the information flow from South to North, providing accurate, impartial and objective news for a global audience from a grass roots level, giving voice to different perspectives from under-reported regions around the world.
Al Jazeera English is building on the ground-breaking heritage of its sister Arab-language channel – Al Jazeera, which was responsible for changing the face of news within the Middle East, now extending that fresh perspective from regional to global.
Viewers of "Western" News Channels will find the formats & imagery quite similar. They even have the familiar faces of David Frost (ex BBC) & Riz Khan (ex CNN Correspondent)
Reactions to Al Jazeera English, here in Egypt have been mostly positive. Considering that a lot of the population here has friends / relatives / acquaintances among the nameless & faceless people who are simply Collateral Damage to the American War on Terror. These people who are dying on "the other side" are simply statistics & numbers to the "Western" media. Forever to remain unnamed.
Hence Al Jazeera's tag line of "Watch the Other Side of World Events, Hear the Other Side of the story" has found its mark. Their other affirmations like "We want to change the News Agenda - Its a Fundamental Goal", "Do the Right Thing for the Right Reason" all have found their mark at least among the English speaking population of MENA
They don't seem to be heavily slanted in their perspective as of now. Someone mentioned that its somewhere between the spectrum of FOX News & Hezbollah's Al Manar Channel & will slowly find its gradient on this scale of extremes.
The editor of Business Monthly summed it up brilliantly when he said that "Western Governments will need to carefully consider their political strategy - the World has a New Perspective and it comes from the people on the receiving end of their Foreign Policy"
Also published at Desicritics.org
Thursday, October 26, 2006
How much: Rs 247 per minute
The King Khan, who started off modestly as a 'Fauji', made about Rs 13 crore last year. This included his endorsement deals for Pepsi, Hyundai Santro - and of course, wetting himself in a bathtub, surrounded by women for HLL's Lux. How much per minute?
Brij Mohan Lall Munjal
What: Chief of Hero Group
How much: Rs 255 per minute
The patriarch of the Hero Group received the Life-time achievement award for 'Excellence in Corporate Governance' by the Institute of Company Secretary of India this year. Brij Mohan Lall Munjal earned about Rs 13.4 crore last year. He continues to be the world's largest motorcycle manufacturer and fuels his bank balance with Rs 255 per minute.
How much: Rs 1,163 per minute
India's most loved sportsman makes a lot more than most CEOs of Indian companies; going by his annual remuneration for 2004-2005. Breaking it down, his three-year contract for endorsements is worth Rs 180 crores. He is also paid Rs 2,35,000 for a five-day test match and Rs 2,50,000 for one dayers.
A little bit of elementary math: This highest paid cricketer in the world makes around Rs 61.15 crore a year, or Rs 1,163 per minute
Dr A P J ABDUL Kalam
What: President of India
How much: Rs 1.14 per minute
Before taking on the reins of this country, Dr A P J Kalam played a leading role in the development of India's missile and nuclear weapons programmes - so much so - that he's fondly referred to as the 'Missile Man'. In the early 1990s, he served as scientific adviser to the government, and his prominent role in India 's 1998 nuclear weapons tests established Kalam as a national hero. For all his work in his present capacity as President of the world's largest democracy, Kalam draws an annual remuneration of Rs 6,00,000 or Rs 1.14 per minute.
What: CMD of Reliance Industries Ltd
How much: Rs 413 per minute
Head honcho of the $16.5 billion Reliance Industries Limited, Mukesh Ambani was ranked the world's 56th richest man in Forbe's list. But since this is only about salaries (and the like), we'll completely ignore his other earnings. Last year, Mr Ambani earned Rs 21.72 crore; a neat growth of 87 per cent over his previous year's earnings. He makes not less than Rs 413
How much: Rs 361 per minute
Kaun Banega Crorepati? Apparently, Mr Bachchan! With more endorsements and film releases per year than successful actors half his age, Bachchan's take-home last year was around Rs 19 crore - that's Rs 361 per minute.
Dr Manmohan Singh
What: Prime Minister of India
How much: Rs 0.57 per m inute
An economist by profession, Dr Singh has formerly served in the International Monetary Fund. His economics education included an undergraduate and a master's degree from Punjab University ; an undergraduate degree from Cambridge ; and a doctorate from Oxford University . One of the most educated Indian prime ministers in history, Singh also served as the finance minister under prime minister Narasimha Rao. In his present capacity, Singh is paid Rs 3,60,000 annually, i.e. Rs 0.57 per minute.
What: New Pepsi Chief
How much: Rs 2,911 per minute (from October 11)
Chennai-born 50-year-old Indra Nooyi was the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of PepsiCo, the US-based soft drink major. In that capacity, her remuneration stood at $5 million (over Rs 23 crore). With her promotion this year, Nooyi becomes one of the highest paid CEOs in the world, with an announced remuneration of $33 million (approximately Rs 153 crores). This means Nooyi makes a whopping Rs 2,911 per minute.
*All figures based on media reports
DON'T start calculating your salary. Such currency (fraction of paise) is yet to be invented.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
An aquarium stand
Air pumps and under gravel filter
Plants (Live or plastic)
Chemical additive that removes chlorine from water
These are fish that get along well with other fish, like danios, tetras, Corydoras, mollies, guppies, and swordtails.
These fish can be kept with fish of equal size without becoming overly aggressive, such as the barbs, gouramis, and angelfish.
These fish must be kept singly or in pairs, such as the jewelfish, oscars, and male betas.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Most tap water contains chlorine and ammonia that can kill your fish. Ask your fish dealer if you need an additive in your area to neutralize these toxins.
Overfeeding is one of the most harmful and common errors in caring for fish. The food not eaten turns into toxins in the tank. Feed your fish small amounts of food once or twice a day. If they eat the food in two to three minutes and start looking for more, add another small pinch.
Some species, such as goldfish, thrive in unheated water, but most fish need a water temperature of 70 to 78 degrees.
Some fish are very hardy and relatively easy to keep, while others are so fragile that a temperature drop of a few degrees will kill them. Choose fish for your tank that all require the same environmental conditions.
Keep your tank out of direct sunlight or near a heating or cooling source to avoid algae growth and prevent the temperature from changing.
Fish constantly add waste and toxins to the tank, so filters, especially an under gravel filter, is important to keep the water clear and safe.
Once a month, with a parent supervising, remove about one-third of the tank water. Replace it with treated tap water at the same temperature.
Monday, September 11, 2006
Made to Break: Are We Sinking under the Weight of Our Disposable Society?
Published: August 09, 2006 in Knowledge@Wharton
Canadian writer Giles Slade was checking out a touring exhibit called "Eternal Egypt" with his 10-year-old son a few years ago when he had an epiphany. The Egyptians, he realized, designed great monuments to endure for countless generations, while here in
And that's no accident. Slade's Made to Break: Technology and Obsolescence in America (Harvard University Press), is a painstakingly researched story of 20th century technology through the lens of disposability, a concept born, bred and nurtured in
Long before factories across the globe began churning out disposable razors, diapers, and soda cans, American businessmen worried about overstocked warehouses and strategized ways to keep people buying.
But as early as 1907, businessmen began to see women as controlling the family purse strings, and by the beginning of World War I, female copywriters had joined the ranks of advertising agencies, creating targeted pitches for early disposable products such as Kimberly-Clark's Kotex sanitary napkins and Johnson & Johnson's Band-Aids. Buoyed by their early successes with disposables, paper manufacturers soon developed toilet paper, paper cups, paper towels and paper straws. And Americans, Slade writes, began to generalize their throwaway habits to other goods.
"This was a significant development in the history of product obsolescence," he writes. "As a throwaway culture emerged, the ethic of durability, of thrift, of what the consumer historian Susan Strasser calls 'the stewardship of objects,' was slowly modified. At first, people just threw their paper products into the fire. But as the disposable trend continued, it became culturally permissible to throw away objects that could not simply and conveniently be consumed by flames." People started filling landfills with things like old vacuum cleaners so that, as time went on, "disposable" came to mean nearly everything, not just old paper collars.
American business actively resisted the Treasury Department's national frugality campaign during World War I, with stores across the nation displaying signs that read, "Business as Usual. Beware of Thrift and Unwise Economy." Local newspapers, eager to coddle their largest advertisers, wrote editorials in support of shopping, while in 1921,
Shiny and New
Made to Break outlines the ideas and innovations behind obsolescence throughout the 20th century, describing, for example, the early battle for market domination between GM and Ford and the Depression-era automobile marketing campaigns that encouraged buying the "new model" each year. The result was products designed not to last, a concept called "death dating." The book also explores major product innovations that fed American's growing appetite for short-lived products, such as DuPont's revolutionary development of nylon stockings for women in 1939, a far less expensive alternative to stockings made from Japanese silk.
For consumers, having the latest shiny, new gadget became a way to "either feed one's pride or reduce one's shame," creating a self consciousness about being out of fashion and a tendency to evaluate others based on their possessions that has continued to this day.
The book's final chapter, "Cell Phones and E-Waste," is perhaps its most disturbing. Among its revelations: By 2002, more than 130 million still-working cell phones had been "retired" in the
The increasingly short lifespan of digital devices -- from computers to televisions and cell phones -- is creating an avalanche of electronic consumer waste that threatens to overwhelm the world's landfills with a toxic soup of permanent biological toxins such as arsenic, lead, nickel and zinc. "When e-waste is burned anywhere in the world, dioxins, furans and other pollutants are released into the air, with potentially disastrous health consequences around the globe. When e-waste is buried in landfills, PBTs eventually seep into the groundwater, poisoning it," Slade writes.
And while the U.S. has most recently exported much of its discarded electronic waste to developing countries for disposal, stricter enforcement of the United Nation's Basel Convention -- created to set up a framework for controlling the "transboundary" movement of hazardous wastes -- will soon eliminate that practice.
Slade also examines the ways consumers use consumer electronics to shape their identities. For adolescents, cell phones are a way young people create communities outside of their family, Slade writes, citing research by sociologist Rich Ling. Ling's eye-opening study of adolescents describes in vivid detail teens' comparisons of cell phones to clothing -- that certain brands of cell phones imply "coolness" while others are considered dated and conformist.
"Ling sees the development and proliferation of the cell phone as an extension of a series of inventions that includes railways, standard time, the telephone, the automobile, and the personal timepiece," writes Slade. "What these innovations have in common is their ability to coordinate human social interactions."
But it is cell phones' small size that makes them a toxic hazard to be reckoned with, Slade continues in Made to Break's too-brief ending about what can be done to resolve the problem of discarded consumer electronics. Taking apart tiny components to recover their parts isn't worth the effort, and so most cell phones are simply thrown away, ultimately finding their way into incinerators and landfills.
Is there a solution? Slade touches on design alternatives outlined in another book, The Green Imperative, which suggests that manufacturers simply charge a bit more for durable goods that are more easily taken apart and reused. He adds that such green design measures are beginning to fill the agendas of electronics institute meetings -- a hopeful sign of a sea change. But in spite of this, Slade says in one interview about Made to Break, "A lot of really sophisticated people devoted a lot of time and thought to developing this system" of constant consumption. "We need to look at the problem creatively and rethink it. Our whole economy is based on buying, trashing and buying again. We need to rethink industrial design."
It's tough to disagree with Slade, but this reader couldn't help wishing for more solutions. Made to Break, though a very interesting read, seems to end suddenly and somewhat hopelessly, with no solutions proposed for everyday Americans to deal with a huge problem that has taken a century to create and that shows no signs of abating. But Slade also strikes a note of optimism. Soon enough, he says, the sheer volume of waste of all kinds will compel a change. "This is the industrial challenge of the new century. We must welcome it."
A special offer from
Monday, August 28, 2006
History of Carnival
The unique concept of Carnival in Rio de Janeiro was total freedom to everybody including men, women, boys and girls who could do whatever they like and go wherever they want during this period without any remorse or scrutiny, cutting out the need for making enquiries or telling lies. Carnivals became a craze in the entire Christian world and there are colorful celebrations in Rome, Munich, Paris, Cologne, Buenos-Aires, Montevideo, Venice and Nice. According to the legend, the Royal house in ancient Rome used to observe the 17th of February in honor of Fanno-the God shepherds and their flock.
Animal sacrifices and offering of the sacrificial meat to the wolves that attacked the flock characterized these feasts. Some people also believe Rome was founded by Romulo and Remo who were stranded alone in the forest as infants and a She-Wolf brought them up showing much more compassion than human beings often do to their own kind and hence the offering of meat to the wolves. At that time, the carnival was observed as a religious occasion and many practices and liberties were banned by the Church such as the unfair advantage that participants took by wearing masks during these celebrations.
Monday, August 07, 2006
By Walter S. Mossberg and Katherine Boehret
Over 50 million Apple iPods, and lots of competing digital music players, have been sold by now -- as well as over a billion songs and tens of millions of videos, since legal media sales took off a few years ago.
But many folks -- even some who own iPods and other players -- are still confused over how legal digital music works. So here's a quick-and-dirty guide to the digital music world, in question-and-answer form. We've included the questions we are asked most frequently, plus a few other topics.
Q: What's the difference between the Apple iPod and all the other portable music players? Some of them seem to have more features.
A: The main difference is that Apple has created an entire end-to-end digital media system around the iPod, and it works. In our view, and those of most other reviewers, the combination of the iPod's design, the iTunes music software, and the iTunes Music Store, provides a superior experience to buying a player separately, using software from Microsoft, and buying music from an unaffiliated store.
As a result, the iPod, and the iTunes store, dominate the legal music world, with shares of more than 70% of the market, depending on how you measure it.
Still, players from companies like iRiver and Creative are attractive and have some features the iPod lacks, such as built-in FM radios. And music services from RealNetworks, Yahoo, Napster and others offer an interesting alternative to iTunes.
Q: If I buy an iPod, must I buy music from Apple's iTunes store? Conversely, can I buy music from Apple, and play it, if I don't have an iPod?
A: No, and yes. You don't have to buy a single song from Apple. You can fill an iPod entirely with music you convert from your own CDs, or which you get from unauthorized download services, or from friends. The latter two sources are probably illegal, but they are technically easy to use. In fact, most of the song files on most of the world's iPods weren't purchased from Apple, or anyone else. That's because the iPod, and iTunes, can play back files in the open MP3 format, and in other non-copy-protected formats.
Conversely, you can set up an account with the iTunes Music Store and buy as many songs, videos, and other material as you like, without owning an iPod. You would simply play back your purchased media on Windows or Macintosh computers. You can play any one song on as many as five different computers. All you need is the free iTunes software, which can be downloaded from Apple's Web site in either a Windows or Mac version.
Q: Will songs purchased from iTunes play back on non-iPod portable players? Will songs purchased from competing services play back on iPods?
A: No, and no -- unless you use a workaround (see next answer). At the insistence of the record labels, all songs from major label catalogs that are sold as online downloads must be encrypted to limit copying. There are two encryption formats. One is owned by Apple, and the other is owned by Microsoft. The iTunes Store uses the Apple encryption format, and most other legal download services use the Microsoft format.
Any player from any company can theoretically be enabled to use either format, but Apple refuses to license its encryption format to any competing maker of players. And Apple also refuses to incorporate the Microsoft format on iPods. The result is that songs bought from iTunes only work on iPods, while songs bought from most other legal services only work on non-iPod players.
There is one exception. A service called eMusic sells its songs in the open MP3 format, without encryption or copy-protection. Thus, these songs will play on iPods and all other portable music players. But eMusic doesn't carry the catalogs of the major labels. It has a much smaller selection than iTunes does.
Q: Is there any way around this? Can I legally modify or convert encrypted songs so they will work on portable players for which they weren't intended?
A: Yes, but the method is clumsy, especially if you try to apply it to a large number of converted songs.
To convert songs purchased from iTunes to an open format that will play on, say, a Creative player, or in Windows Media Player software, you first must burn the songs to CD. Then, using iTunes or other music software, you re-import them from CD, turning them into open MP3 files that can be played on any player. This works fine, but it has two big downsides.
First, it can take a long time to convert, say, 500 songs this way. Second, the process strips off all the identifying data from the song files, and home-burned CDs typically aren't recognized by the automatic song-recognition process used by iTunes and other software. So you'll have to manually re-enter info like artist, album and song title.
Independent site iLounge has a free manual on getting the most from your iPod.
This process works the other way as well, with a big "if." You can convert Microsoft-encrypted songs this same way, so they become MP3 files that can be played on an iPod. But the catch is that songs offered by the leading Microsoft-based services often can't be burned to CDs. (See next answer.)
There is some software that claims to efficiently strip the encryption from copy-protected song files, turning them into MP3 files. But these programs are almost certainly illegal under recent copyright laws, and Apple and other companies constantly change the innards of their encryption formats to foil the programs.
Q: What is the difference between Apple's iTunes store, and competing services like Rhapsody and Napster 2.0? Does one carry more music?
A: Apple's iTunes store claims to have more than three million songs licensed from the major labels and from independents. Rhapsody and Napster claim more than two million songs, and Yahoo Music Unlimited claims more than one million. So, iTunes has by far the most music. In addition, iTunes has a strong selection of videos, including 150 television series, plus tens of thousands of audio books and podcasts. Its competitors are much weaker in these non-music categories. Most have nothing at all besides music.
The main difference lies in how the services work. iTunes works like a physical record store: you buy songs or albums, paying separately for each. Songs are 99 cents each, albums are usually $9.99, and videos are typically $1.99. Apple is reportedly negotiating to sell full-length movies as well.
Rhapsody, Napster and Yahoo work on a subscription model: you pay a monthly fee, and can download an unlimited number of songs. For Rhapsody and Napster, the fee is $10 a month if you want only to store and play music on a computer, or $15 a month if you also want to play your music on a portable player. Yahoo charges less -- $6.99 a month for a PC-only plan and $11.99 a month for a portable plan.
The upside of Apple's approach is that, once you buy a song, you own it. It never expires. You can burn it to CD an unlimited number of times, and transfer it to an unlimited number of iPods. The downside is that, to fill an iPod with, say, 5,000 purchased songs, you'd have to spend $5,000.
With the subscription plans, you can fill a portable player for just a monthly fee. But there's a huge downside: you don't own the music, you merely rent it. If you stop making your monthly payments, all the songs you downloaded over the years will suddenly expire and become inert and unplayable on your computer and on your portable player. Also, rental songs usually can't be burned to CD and can only be copied to a limited number of portable players. In order to burn the tunes to CD, you generally must first buy them for an individual price, just as you do on iTunes.
Q: How do I use multiple iPods with one iTunes library on my PC, if I want different music on each iPod?
A: In the Preferences section of iTunes, you can set up each iPod so it synchronizes only with particular playlists, not your whole library. Just set up a playlist for each iPod, and set it up to sync only with that playlist.
Or, you can set up each iPod so it doesn't automatically synchronize with iTunes at all, and simply works in manual mode. Then, you can manually drag different songs into each iPod.
Q: Can I copy the songs on my iPod to my second or third computer?
A: At the insistence of the record labels, Apple was forced to cripple the iPod so it can't copy music to a computer, out of the box. Copying only works from a computer to an iPod, not the other way. But there are many third-party utility programs, for both Windows and Mac, that allow copying from an iPod to a computer. One example is PodUtil, which has versions for both Mac and Windows. It's at: www.kennettnet.co.uk/software/podutil.php
One thing to bear in mind: you can only play any song you buy from iTunes on up to five computers, Windows or Mac. Songs in the open MP3 format can be played on an unlimited number of computers.
Q: Can I share the music in my iTunes software with others?
A: Yes, within limits. You can set up iTunes on your Windows PC or Mac so that others on your computer network (but not over the Internet) can stream, or listen to, your songs, without actually moving the song file to their computer. The receiving computer must have iTunes installed, and both machines must be enabled for sharing in the Sharing section of the iTunes Preferences panel.
Q: What can I do with an iPod, other than play music on it?
A: Current iPods can play videos, like TV shows. And most iPods can play audio books and podcasts. Recent models also can play back your photos as slide shows, accompanied by music and fancy transitions. And, with a $20 cable, the iPod can display videos and photos on a TV set.
But there's a lot of other stuff buried in an iPod. The iPod can display, but not edit, your calendar and contacts and notes, synchronized from your computer. This works with Microsoft Outlook on Windows and with the Address Book and Calendar programs that come with every Mac. Current iPods also have a built-in stop watch and multi-city clock.
You can also use your iPod as a portable hard disk. It can be set up to appear as a regular hard disk on both Windows and Macintosh computers. Any space on the iPod that isn't occupied by your music, videos, photos and so forth can be used to store any type of file you want, for backup, or for transfer among computers. You just have to plug your iPod into your computer, go to the iPod preferences tab, and check "Enable Disk Use."
The iPod also has some built-in games. My favorite, Music Quiz, tests your knowledge of your own music. It plays a short clip of a randomly selected song from your collection, then displays five multiple-choice song titles. Your task is to select the right title in the shortest possible time, while a clock counts down the points you can win. It's addictive.
There's a ton more to know about digital music, and specifically, iPods. Apple has a series of iPod and iTunes tutorials at
• Email: MossbergSolution@wsj.com
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Somebody said this was probably the best e-mail he'd seen in a long, long time. The following has been attributed to State Rep Mitchell Aye from GA. This guy should run for President one day...
"We the sensible people of the United States , in an attempt to help everyone get along, restore some semblance of justice, avoid more riots, keep our nation safe, promote positive behavior, and secure the blessings of debt-free liberty to ourselves and our great-great-great-grandchildren, hereby try one more time to ordain and establish some common sense guidelines for the terminally whiny, guilt ridden, delusional, and other liberal bed-wetter's. We hold these truths to be self evident: that a whole lot of people are confused by the Bill of Rights and are so dim they require a Bill of NON-Rights."
ARTICLE I: You do not have the right to a new car, big screen TV, or any other form of wealth. More power to you if you can legally acquire them, but no one is guaranteeing anything.
ARTICLE II: You do not have the right to never be offended. This country is based on freedom, and that means freedom for everyone -- not just you! You may leave the room, turn the channel, express a different opinion, etc.; but the world is full of idiots, lawyers or lobbyists and probably always will be.
ARTICLE III: You do not have the right to be free from harm. If you stick a screwdriver in your eye, learn to be more careful, do not expect the tool manufacturer to make you and all your relatives independently wealthy.
ARTICLE IV: You do not have the right to free food and housing. Americans are the most charitable people to be found, and will gladly help anyone in need, but we are quickly growing weary of subsidizing generation after generation of professional couch potatoes who achieve nothing more than the creation of another generation of professional couch potatoes. (This one is my pet peeve...get an education...learn English... and go to work...don't expect everyone else to take care of you and your family!)
ARTICLE V: You do not have the right to free health care. That would be nice, but from the looks of public housing, we're just not interested in public health care or enough housing to hold families of over 20.
ARTICLE VI: You do not have the right to physically harm other people. If you kidnap, rape, intentionally maim, or kill someone, don't be surprised if the rest of us want to see you fry in the electric chair or even become mob rule.
ARTICLE VII: You do not have the right to the possessions of others. If you rob, cheat, or coerce away the goods or services of other citizens, don't be surprised if the rest of us get together and lock you away in a TENT CITY where you won't have the right to a color TV or a life of leisure.
ARTICLE VIII: You do not have the right to a job. All of us sure want you to have a job, and will gladly help you along in hard times, but we expect you to take advantage of the opportunities of education and vocational training laid before you to make yourself useful United States Citizen.
ARTICLE IX: You do not have the right to happiness. Being an American means that you have the right to PURSUE happiness, which by the way, is a lot easier if you are unencumbered by an over abundance of idiotic laws created by those of you who were confused by the Bill of Rights.
ARTICLE X: This is an English speaking country. We don't care where you are from, English is our language. Learn it or go back to wherever you came from! (and lastly....)
ARTICLE XI: You do not have the right to change our country's history or heritage. This country was founded on the belief in one true God. And yet, you are given the freedom to believe in any God, any faith, or no faith at all; with no fear of persecution. The phrase IN GOD WE TRUST is part of our heritage and history, and if you are uncomfortable with it, TOUGH!!!! (Hire the ACLU and good luck)
If you agree, share this with a friend. No, you don't have to, and nothing tragic will happen to you if you don't. I just think it's about time common sense is allowed to flourish. Sensible people of the United States speak out because if you do not, the ACLU and minorities will.
Your thoughts / ideas on his suggestions........
Monday, July 17, 2006
Spoke to a couple of friends who said that they weren't facing any problems, so I thought it was a wierd bug in MY system. Turns out the bug is a bee in some ministry's bonnet, who has ordered that blogspot, geocities & typepad be blocked by ISP's.
Some of the ISP's that have blocked blogger are at this location
A group of Indian Bloggers who have all been hit by this blockade are grouping together & looking for solutions here
Bypassing the ban
For sites blocked by domain names
- Using google translate, e.g., if the blog is "blogyouwanttoread.blogspot.com", then use
Enter your blog name there and you're in business. Or directly use a URL of the form
For example, http://www.pkblogs.com/mumbaihelp will let you see http://mumbaihelp.blogspot.com
- Anniyalogam where you can draw just the text of the blog.
- Use bloglines to find an RSS Feed to the blog.
Using proxy server for any blocked site
One way to visit a blocked site is through another site, generally called a proxy site. Some such sites and the info on how to use them are given below.
In this specfic case go to site: www.boreproxy.com
On that page below the link for favourites you will find an edit box. Put the shortcut of the site you want to access in this edit box eg. http://xyz.blogspot.com
Press Enter and voila! you have access:)
Use www.hidemyass.com and then type in the site you wish to access.
Use http://www.shysurfer.com. It allows you to not just surf, but also make posts.
- Using http://www.daveproxy.co.uk also works
Got all this neat info on the Bloggers group & http://scratchpad.wikia.com/wiki/Bypassing_The_Ban
First time I have had to use a proxy server to access what I write. Makes me feel like I'm some kind of dirty criminal or terrorist disloyal to my country.
Much as I love my country, the politicians are slowly making it difficult for us to keep doing so.
First they take 1/3 of our salary in taxes & then they don't give us basic infrastructure (case in points floods 2 weeks back) non-adequate security (bomb blasts last week) and now they take away my stress release mechanism & window to the world (blogspot being banned this week) what are they gonna do to me next week ? Throw me in Jail ?
Neha has sone a much better job of blogging about this
I'm just tired, sleepy & cranky, so I shall sign off here.
Saturday, July 08, 2006
The Delhi High Court, stayed the Dismissal on Friday. So, the striking doctors of AIIMS got back to work after 3 days and patients are being taken care of again.
To get back to the issue, The background to this story is a 2 year old battle between the two. They've been at loggerheads ever since Ramadoss, a doctor himself, was appointed minister and he took over the AIIMS guest house for a lengthy period till he was allotted an official bungalow. The institute's grapevine is laden with stories about frequent clashes between the minister and the hospital administration over the lavish renovations at the guest house (which the AIIMS budget had to fund), the meals that went beyond the regular menu and the constant stream of visitors who had nothing to do with medicine.
Then, there was that ugly incident when Ramadoss decided to pay a midnight visit to the casualty ward. He didn't like what he found, summoned Venugopal and upbraided him and other senior doctors publicly. They've been at daggers drawn since. The friction exploded in a lightning strike by Class IV employees of the hospital, for which the faculty grapevine blamed some associates of the minister.
Quick health check needed : Credit : DNA
Dr. Venugopal was ostensibly dismissed because of his soft stance on the Reservation issue. Those of you who followed Phase II of the Reservation protests (2006) in India, would remember that, the Medicos against Reservation was spearheaded by Medical Students at AIIMS on the AIIMS campus which was also the site for a Hunger Strike.
Ramadoss fired another salvo at the end of June. when an order pertaining to pay of striking doctors, issued by Dr. Venugopal, was described as 'null and void' by an official junior to him.
This entire "Reservation + Strike" issue gave Dr Ramadoss (as Health Minister, he also holds the position of president of AIIMS) the ideal excuse to sack Dr. P Venugopal.
After a 3 hour long meeting, the 17-member body of AIIMS passed the resolution for Venugopal's ouster despite three members expressing a voice dissent, said senior BJP leader V K Malhotra. He also said that Ramadoss suddenly brought in a supplementary resolution seeking removal of Dr Venugopal. In his generosity, Ramadoss offered that Dr. Venugopal be given 3 months salary but his services would be terminated immediately.
If this was just one vendetta of Dr. Ramadoss against Dr. Venugopal perhaps it could be forgotten in time as all other foibles of Indian politicians are. But Dr. Ramadoss seems to be using his office to massage his own ego.
If you look back at June of last year, Ramadoss proposed a ban on smoking in films and TV serials Now although there is ample proof against tobacco being bad for you, logic says that you should prevent the production and sale of tobacco, if you really are concerned about the health of a billion plus population. This was exactly the argument of Information and Broadcasting Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi. But Ramadoss was not willing to listen to reason. . .
It is a well known fact that his father, PMK leader S Ramadoss has had spells of bitter duels with filmstar Rajnikanth including a murder charge. Anyone who has watched a Rajnikanth movie or visited Tamil Nadu would know of his trademark style of throwing a cigarette in the air & catching it between his lips. This proposed ban seemed like a direct salvo against Rajnikant.
Fortunately, Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi said that while all measures need to be taken to discourage smoking, "content of a character (in any artistic venture) cannot be dictated or interfered with".
Looking at these cases, it seems that Ramadoss is hell bent on using his time in power to settle old scores and the new ones that he creates for himself.
If you want to write to the Minister himself, the Ministry for Health & Family Welfare site lists the following contact details :
Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss
Ministry of Health & Family Welfare Nirman Bhavan,
Maulana Azad Road
New Delhi - 110011
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
The name is good, the brand is big
But the work I do is that of a pig
The work or the brand; what is my way?
I don't know if I should stay.
To work, they have set their own way
Nobody will care to hear what I say
My will be NULL, they wont change their way
I don't know if I should stay.
The project is in a critical stage
But to do good work, this is the age
This dilemma is killing me day by day
I don't know if I should stay.
The money is good, the place is great
But the development is at a very small rate
Should I go for the work, or wait for pay
I don't know if I should stay!
The managers don't know what they talk
The team doesn't know where they walk
That's a bad situation, what say?
I don't know if I should stay.
I can go to any other place
But what if I get the same disgrace
I can't keep switching day by day
I don't know if I should stay.
The -ves are more, the +ves are less
Then why have this unnecessary mess
No more will I walk their way,
It's all done, I won't stay.
Thanks & Regards
Friday, June 30, 2006
Big Five Value Proposition Explained
People often ask about the "value proposition" which a Big Five consulting firm brings to a client's project. Well, let's examine a regular engagement where we have a Big Five team implementing an ERP package called Orasap, all of it involving new technology. Let's take a look at a TYPICAL team member from each job level. This is what they might be doing and thinking.
Takes minutes of meetings, gathers time and expense reports from team and prepares monthly invoice, listens and learns.
("Hey, I just love the hotel. I can drink all I want for free, this is great. I really lucked out with my first job. But, why does my head hurt so much every morning?")
Senior Consultant ($250/hour):
Reads Orasap manuals and practices on the client's demo system. Downloads deliverables from other projects, does a search and replace on client name, presents to client team. Listens as the client staff explain their business and helps them draw diagrams about it.
("I wish I knew more about this Orasap package. Good thing the client doesn't know anything about it. It's such a struggle to stay one step ahead. I should update my résumé now, in case I don't make Manager this summer. I hear the market's really hot for people with Orasap experience.")
Downloads project plan from another project. Does a search and replace on client name. If he's good, remembers to update the plan with dates and resource names applicable to THIS project. At every opportunity with the client, goes to whiteboard with marker pen and explains something about Orasap, which he's making-up as he goes along, but it's okay, the client is completely clueless. Looks for every opportunity to back stab his colleagues to get that big promotion. Spends most of the day busily occupied at the workstation which the client has provided. No-one else can see his screen.
("I must be really smart. I know so much about Orasap, and I've never even logged into the application. If I don't make Senior Manager here this summer, I can just go to that other Big Five firm. With my experience of managing Orasap projects, they'll snap me up and I'll get a big pay raise.")
Senior Manager ($400/hour):
Has no experience of Orasap, coming from an IBM mainframe background. Assumes no-one in the Firm knows anything about it, either. Helped to sell this engagement, and not really sure what he sold. He wants to make Partner, his wife wants a divorce, his waist size has gone up 6 inches since he started consulting and he doesn't get any exercise. He's going to do whatever it takes to make Partner, as long as it doesn't involve having to actually learn anything about Orasap. That would be beneath his dignity.
("I just hope that I can hold this thing together and get it to 'go-live' without anyone realizing that I don't know anything about Orasap. I'll take Becky to the Orasap user conference in
Doesn't know anything about ERP packages, let alone Orasap. Is on his third wife and his waist size has gone up 12 inches since he started consulting. Does not get involved in the project deliverables, since he does not know what a deliverable is anyway. Mostly plays golf with his old friends who are CEO's and CIO's. They occasionally offer each other jobs as VP's or direct-entry Partners. Helps the CEO's and CIO's figure out imaginative ways to spend the stockholders' money.
("I must tell the team to bill more hours. I want utilization to go up, up, up. That Senior Manager is such an ass-hole. I won't ever let him make Partner. What's for lunch?")
Not considered suitable to be employed directly by the Firm, since he occasionally wears white socks. Knows everything technically and functionally about Orasap. Learns very quickly and gets deeply into the package. Establishes the business requirements, maps to Orasap functionality, identifies the gaps, designs the solutions, configures the system, builds the interfaces to legacy systems, codes the customizations, performs the data conversion, writes the documentation, performs system testing, trains the end-users and is on 24 hour call for post 'go-live' support.
("I am so blessed to be working with such fine people. Nobody back home will believe that I have an apartment with a separate bedroom, a brand new Corolla and TWO televisions. I love this country. I hope that my green card comes before my work visa expires.")
Random Thoughts During the Day
I've been up half the night studying how interfaces work....I hope I've learned enough to lead that workshop today....I didn't have time to do my makeup properly this morning....I must look such a mess.
Groan....my head hurts....that was a great session last night....gotta do the monthly invoice today....my head hurts....hope I get it right....there's Jenny....Man, she's so HOT.
Becky was really angry on the phone last night....why doesn't she understand?...I'm doing this for us....at least I spend all day Saturday at home....usually....I'd better book the
(Sitting at PC)
So, for an extra $2,200, I get a V6, and the performance is so much better....I would look really hot in one of those....talking of hot...here comes Jenny....just act cool....she wants me so bad....
There's that Kevin Flint surfing the Net already....I wish I didn't have to report to him....the guy is such a jerk....I've got to concentrate....I've got four hours until the Interface workshop AND I've got to discuss data conversion with Raj....
Best is to use FTP protocol for the interfaces and run nightly back-up....end-users should not be worrying about this....should be part of system administration procedure....I will read letter from parents later....must write this specification first....
Come to think of it, why shouldn't I go to the Orasap conference?...I would learn so much....shouldn't be afraid to ask just because it's in
Man....I'd look even more cool in a convertible....I'll search on dealer stock....what specs do I want?....
I need to chase Randy for the monthly invoice....the bigger the number, the sooner I make Partner....an e-mail from Jenny....Training Request....she wants to go to the Orasap conference....well she deserves it....she's been working very hard....
The data format should be 10 characters alphanumeric on the Reference field....maybe 10 is not enough....perhaps 15 to be sure....
Man....it's hard work adding up these numbers....my head hurts....
Would Becky REALLY enjoy the Orasap conference?....I mean, it's all work....
According to letter, I must return to India during Xmas vacations in order for marriage....this will be most joyful occasion....I wonder what she looks like?....I will write back to my parents confirming my trip....after I get my permission for time off....
Since I'm running this thing, I must remember to ask Kevin how it's going....
So, looks like I can get a good finance deal for the V6, 3.8 convertible and have it in two weeks....
E-mail from the Indian fella....Leave of Absence Request....he wants two weeks off at year-end....no way....this is a serious project we're running, not a walk in the park....he can take a couple of days either side of Christmas....as long as he has his pager....
Whoa....that's a big number....average of 64.5 hours per week AND we've hit a new record high on expenses....way to go....
I am not understanding....since my design is so good and will save so much effort and make much more efficiency....why are end-users so much resisting....
Since I'm running this thing, I must remember to ask Jenny how it's going....
I must go and discuss data conversion with Raj....he's so honest and charming in his own way....makes a change from these jerks....
E-mail from Mister Jim....I can take two days before and two days after Xmas....five days in total....so that is one day for travel to India, three days for wedding ceremonies and one day for return to US....honeymooning can be here in Omaha....that fits ok....
Where shall I fly this weekend, since I don't have to go home and the client pays....let's see....Las Vegas looks good....if I win a lotta money I won't have to work anymore....
Oh....but I am not sure if pager will work in
E-mail from Jenny....Schedule Update....she'll be out the week of October 25....because she'll be attending the Orasap conference....hey....that's in Honolulu....she can't do that....she's only a Senior Consultant and I'm a damn Manager....well if she's going....I'm going....
Hey....just a doggoned minute....the Indian fella doesn't even believe in Christmas....it doesn't make sense for him to take time off then, when all the normal folk are away....he should take his vacation another time....after 'go-live'....as long as he has his pager....
(In own office, at local Big 5 HQ)
The monthly numbers are coming in....damn, we're hot....I always say that hard work and professionalism bring their own rewards....and our quality methodology....Structured Consulting & Reengineering Enablement Workflow Engagement Methodology....that sets us head and shoulders above the other Big Four, ....time for a long lunch....which client should I charge it to?....
Here comes Miss Jenny to discuss data conversion....she is so nice lady....I must control my mind....I must NOT think impure thoughts....om-mani-pad-me-oom....om-mani-pad-me-oom....om-mani-pad-me-oom....
Some more characters....
BIG Five-Part II
Senior Consultant - Paris
A Partner in the
("Zat flight was inhuman. Zee wine was so bad - every single bottle. Zey expect me to fly for eight hours without a Gauloise? I don't know why zee lavatory smoke detector went off like zat - I covered it with plenty of paper towels. Why did zat American immigration officer keep asking me if I am working? I told him zat I am on business. I have 90 days of business meetings zat involve absolutely no work whatsoever. I don't need a work visa - I am French, not Indian.")
CIO - AmeriStuff Manufacturing
Was at business school with Glen Wellman twenty years ago. Has been at AmeriStuff for five months, after things did not work out at his dot.com start-up company. Was responsible for conceiving this ERP project and bringing this consulting firm in to run it.
("Oh God....Phase 1 Americas....Phase 2 Europe....Phase 3 Asia Pacific....this feels like it's gonna take forever....Glen says that they can't offer me a position until the project's done....it would jeopardize the Audit relationship....okay, so we'll finish the project....I will take the credit for a job well done....I'll cash my options....then I'm outta here....I'll be a Direct Entry Partner and I'll be on the golf course.")
Big 5 HR Director
Marital Status: Unknown.
Parental Status: Unknown.
Affectional Orientation: Unknown.
Physical Appearance: Absolutely gorgeous.
Any Activity Planned For Tonight: Unknown, and don't even think of asking.
This is one person that no-one in the Firm can date, although many want to. As HR Director, her main focus areas are harassment, harassment and harassment. Recently commissioned a harassment awareness video which depicted a male Senior Consultant in his hotel room being pressured by an older, attractive female Senior Manager to have dinner with her, either in a restaurant or through room service. This has not been well received by males in the Firm, who fear that it will discourage attractive females from attempting to seduce them.
("It's a big responsibility making everyone feel warm, secure and friendly. I really enjoy visiting each city with my video, making the entire local office staff watch it as a mandatory requirement, leading a touchy-feely discussion about it, and then making them all hug each other. Everyone has to hug except me - I'm from out of town. I love doing this. I love the Frequent Flyer miles. I really lucked out in my twelfth job.")
Client Project Manager (formerly Plant IT Manager)
Has worked at AmeriStuff Manufacturing for 25 years, beginning on the shop floor and working his way up to Plant IT Manager. He was nominated to be the project manager on the AmeriStuff side for this Orasap project, working closely with the consulting team, because he really understands the business and processes. Married for 20 years, he has four children and lives near the plant. He's had his car for 14 years and he's thinking about changing it, but there's no hurry - it's running great.
("I know it was a privilege to be made project manager of this prestigious project, but sometimes I wonder....the CIO said, "Don't worry, the consultants are there to help you"....I just don't get it....they never answer a question directly....except the Indian fella....they always have these closed door meetings in the conference room....when the Partner comes they always go for a long lunch....they don't make me feel like I belong to the team....except the Indian fella....
Random Thoughts During the Day
....the Monday after the Orasap conference....
(In rental car, driving from hotel to AmeriStuff office)
I'm glad that Kevin finally listened to me about needing to plan for Phase 2 and getting someone here who understands Orasap functionality and how it addresses European statutory reporting requirements, especially regarding France, our biggest European challenge....I can't believe Jean-Pierre arrived the very next afternoon....just in time for me to brief him before we left for the Orasap conference....I'm sure that he must have made good progress with the client project team last week....
(In rental car, driving from hotel to AmeriStuff office)
I hate zis country....zee food is so bad....
(In own office)
HR is the place to be. No-one can fire HR. We can't conduct exit interviews on ourselves. We can't escort ourselves off the premises. HR is invincible.
(In rental car, driving from hotel to AmeriStuff office)
I'm glad that Jim listened to me about needing a French functional IT consultant....he reacted pretty fast....Jean-Pierre got here the next day....
Zee coffee is so bad....
That new Orasap HR system that's being implemented across the Firm is going to make HR even more powerful. It will give us complete control over all the personnel. The Firm is about people....we control the people....we control the Firm....
(In rental car, driving from hotel to AmeriStuff office)
Glen must have been very impressed when I explained the need for a French consultant and how it would really help the project succeed....he reacted so quickly....
Zee wine is so bad....
I disapprove of Firm employees dating other staff from the Firm or staff from the clients. They should only date people that they meet in their spare time.....
(In own office)
I'm glad I was able to get Bernard Escargot's home number from the global Partner directory....why was he so pissed?....it was only just 6 PM when I called him...I was still in the office....anyway I'm glad he was so responsive when I explained the need for a Frenchman on the project....got the fella here the next afternoon....he seems well qualified too...I checked his résumé....he's definitely French....
(formerly known as Rajagopolan Ramakandramdhobiwalla)
I cannot understand why they are making me shorten my name for new HR system....I am sure that field 'HR_employee_lastname' in table 'HR_employees' is user configurable up to 99 characters during set-up process....default only is 15 characters....but I am not expert in Orasap HR module....internal Firm Orasap HR implementation project team must know what they are doing....not for me to question when I am not expert....
(In rental car, driving from hotel to AmeriStuff office)
It was great here last week....everyone away at the Orasap conference....just me, Raj, JP from Paris, and the other sub-contractors....I was in charge....I was managing the team....that's gonna look great on my résumé....boy....did my head hurt....every single morning....
But....zee American women are beautiful....so many beautiful women....so little time....perhaps I should focus on just zee married ones....zey are much quicker to seduce....although zee unmarried ones are also fast....it's strange....as soon as I start speaking, zey seem to swoon....it doesn't matter what I say....
I can't understand why Becky was so angry yesterday....the Orasap conference was work....that's why I couldn't take her....it wasn't for fun....it began on Sunday evening, so I had to fly to Honolulu on Saturday....I couldn't miss the opening session....not a person of my significance in the Orasap world....I've had people work for me who've submitted papers to the Orasap conferences....the conference ran until Thursday....then we had our internal Firm Orasap Practice meeting all day on Friday, since we were all there in Honolulu in the same place at the same time....that made sense....then there was dinner on Friday....I couldn't miss that if I'm going to make Partner....I have to be well-known, liked and respected....flights out of Honolulu are at night, so I had to stay through Saturday....not my fault....I got home on Sunday morning....and then I had to leave on Sunday evening to be back here for our Monday morning project review meeting....it's not like I had any choice in any of this and it was all work....
It was great going out with Raj and JP every single night....boy....JP can really drink me under the table....and he's got a real eye for the ladies....I never met a Texan before....I wonder if they're all like him....
Database applications table space should be increased by a factor of.... a factor of....(blank)....soon I will be married....
Phase Two in Europe....this rumor about me being the project manager for that too....I don't know about that....I might not get home from Europe every day in time to put the kids to bed....
Why does everyone keep asking me about 'Le Plan Comptable' reporting?....what zee hell is zat....?
Report run time parameters should be....should be.... (blank)....soon I will have wife....
I might become a Frequent Flyer....imagine that....me a Frequent Flyer!....I would get to queue in the other line.....
How should I know about corporate tax requirements....I don't even do my own tax return....
Back-up routine will be defined....defined....(blank)....soon I will have sex....
There's Jenny....oh God...she's so beautiful....I must have looked so ridiculous to her in my swim trunks....
(In own office)
Although they were at the Orasap conference, the team were still working on AmeriStuff project-related work most of the time....virtually all of the time....and should remember to record their hours appropriately....
There's Jim....I still can't believe it....in Honolulu he was in the gym every day....and I only saw him eat salad....I wonder what's up....
I don't feel well....
We should invite the Indian fella to lunch on Sunday....he's all by himself over here....he doesn't get to fly anywhere on Fridays....we have to try and bring him out of the Darkness, into the Light....
Every night last week Randy and Jean-Pierre were explaining how good they are with women in bed....what if I'm no good.....
(In own office, using calculator)
Let's see....I was able to haggle the Frenchie for fifteen hundred bucks a DAY....payable in French dollars....he's a Senior Consultant....we'll bill him as a Manager....for 300 bucks an HOUR....and make sure he does at least ten hours a day....hey....it's minting money....it shouldn't be allowed....if I carry on like this, I could run the whole place with foreign subcontractors and carry no overheads....send 'em home when there's no work....never have to worry about career development and all that HR crap....
Why do I have to keep explaining to Bruce Slick about the costs going up?....like it's my fault....the consultants call it "Scope Creep"....they say it's our fault....that we keep asking for more stuff....I don't understand....I thought the consultants clearly defined the requirements in the scoping phase....they never push back on the users when they ask for the same old reports and stuff....I thought Orasap was going to fundamentally change the way we work....whose supposed to push back?....
That Jim Reid....he's such an ass-hole....we'd better have a talk about his future...AFTER he's finished Phase 3 Asia Pacific....
Oh no....here comes Jenny....I can't believe what I said to her in Honolulu....in the hotel bar....I told her how attractive she is....I shouldn't have mentioned that we need to do her engagement review....in the same conversation....she might have got the wrong idea....
At least they've started planning Phase 2....and they've made a head start on the European requirements with that Jean Paul fella....nice of him to offer to help Barbara with her French lessons....
There's that Kevin Flint. He fell right into it....I'm sure I can get him to be generous with my engagement review, and I won't even have to....yuk....the thought of it....
Here comes Miss Jenny....tan from Hawaii looks good on her....makes her look less unhealthy pale...she always smiles at me....she always leaves her hair uncovered....it smells like finest Indian herbs....her skirt is always so short that I can see her ankles....I saw HR video....I think I'm being harassed....