June 26, 2005

American concerns

How concerned are we ? NOP World survey shows disconnect between influentials and rest of the mortals -

Concerns:Influential AmericansGeneral Population
Our Foreign Relations52%27%
Rising Cost of Healthcare43%43%
Breakdown of Family36%29%
Way Courts are Run30%21%
Quality of Public School Education29%24%
Getting into Another War28%20%
Recession/Rising Unemployment26%19%
Way Young People Act24%27%
Wrongdoing by Elected Govt. Officials23%23%

How about environment? $60 a barrel and global warming is not there in the list !

June 26, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Learn Mandarin !

Getting Unocal in new global landscape :

And - to seal American paranoia - China is also a major holder of US debt. Put simply, the US is in hock to the Chinese to such an extent that if all the bills were called in at once, Uncle Sam would be bust. It's not in China's interests to destabilise the world economy at the moment, but circumstances change. Beijing might just like to keep that card - a financial nuclear option - up its sleeve for some future geopolitical crisis.

Corporate America will climb a traumatic learning curve over this bid, and be forced to confront the growing reality of Chinese economic power. For business people elsewhere, the lesson is far simpler: learn Mandarin - now

My guess is this is just the begining of a long drawn out China-phobia, which we are going to see in the media for next few years.

June 26, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 16, 2005

More important than Iraq war ?

Kuwait grants political rights to its women.  According to one activist:

It has been 20 years of work, but at last we got our rights

Bush & Co. needs to focus on these kinds of efforts instead of sending robocops to spread the democracy.

May 16, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 14, 2005

Flat World

Not sure whether this term "Flat World" will acquire same status as LongTail but it nicely sums up the growing "leveling of the playing field" across the globe.  Thomas Friedman, Pulitzer price winning New York Times columnist sure knows how to put excitement and provide uncanny connections between ordinary observations.

I bought his book week few days but haven't started reading it. Its all about Globalization 3.0 ( another victory  to Geeks  when news-media pros start  tagging and putting release numbers to the social changes). Post-Internet era commentary on the post-commoditized world where imagination is the only thing to focus on and only thing to worry about.

Talking to Terri Gross on NPR he mentions (listen to this if you don't like reading a long book):

Imagination is the only way out of commoditization...and imagination is not the sole preserve of white western world anymore.

He goes onto identify common threads in the rise of Al-Qaeda and Infosys - Two extremes on the winning side of this new flat world.  Two entities who exploited the huge efficiency achieved by lot of small groups loosely coupled together on the fat digital pipe.

Geography was long dead and now imagination is shared at the speed which can be productive on one end (if used properly) and extremely disturbing if taken to the other extreme.  Google maps is  a good example of how technology can be used for more business development (I get more pool cleaning service flyers now - its easy to spot all the blue dots in Sunnyvale area !) and can also be used by Al-Qaeda operatives. Friedman is right about the nervousness around "imagination" .

So what's the take away from all this. Course correction is definitely needed, atleast at the mental model level. 

I will continue to flip  through this book in next few weeks.

April 14, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 09, 2005

China Inc.

U.S. Consular Officer in China , as told to NYT :

Nothing has a higher priority in our trade policy than the fight to protect American intellectual property. It is every bit as important an effort for us as the war against weapons of mass destruction.

This article makes some chilling assertions -

What makes China so troubling for American and other foreign companies is that the country is both a potential rival, with an alternative legal approach to intellectual property that limits their prospects in China and weakens their competitive strength globally, and a haven for pirates and counterfeiters

The generous and optimistic view of China's behavior is that it is a passing phase, and one not all that unusual for countries on the make. European powers once struggled to steal (and even transplant) one another's prime proprietary assets, like Mesoamerican gold, Brazilian rubber and Indonesian cloves. Blue-and-white Delftware was a Dutch attempt to copy China's porcelain works. At the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, American companies paid industrial spies to steal the designs of British machines. American theatrical producers routinely staged foreign operas and plays without permission; publishers sold dubious editions of English novels. More recently, Taiwan circumvented foreign patents and copyrights early in its post-World War II industrialization drive. And countries in Southeast Asia, Latin America, Africa and the former Soviet Union still operate well outside the developed world's norm for intellectual-property protection. Yet no other violators, past or present, match China's potential to change the rules of the world economy through piracy and counterfeiting

Read the whole article (sub req'd - free right now but that might change).   Much of the article includes text from soon-to-be-released
book by Ted Fishman ( China Inc.)

Copyright and intellectual property rights issue will reach it's tipping point very soon.  It's outcome will have far reaching consequences.


January 9, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 05, 2005

Typepad getting whacked

Looks like Typepad server is getting DDOS'ed. On one side I couldn't post my long piece and effectively loosing all of it. I should learn first to save it before previewing it. Its rather lame on Typepad's part not to save the post before previewing it.

Anyways in my inbox I received 8 trackback emails. Looks like somebody is having a shot at Typepad right now.

IP Address:
URL: http://rocozeguvwx.com/
Title: wzeaa
Weblog: seaxy

Oh without spammers how will I get a living definition of good and evil. Google should go and hire all spammers. That way the world will be without any evil-doers.

January 5, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 27, 2004

Tsunami blog: please link to them

Sumit pointed me to this blog , which is designed to aggregate all developing links/news about the tragic event.  Smart mob at his best. Great work guys.

Please link to this so that folks who want to help know how to do that. Also use the listed phone numbers to inquire about the rescue operations.

As always in a tragedy of this proportion there are  individual stories which force you to wonder about our fragile existence.

December 27, 2004 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (76) | TrackBack

Numbers keep rising

Second morning and the toll figure just keep rising.  Along with that the stories of what could have prevented this.  Pankaj points to the link about alerting system - which could have helped if it was there.  Numbers keep rising and it is heart wrenching.  Natural disasters are bad and what it really rubs it is the rapidly increasing casualty figure.

One theory which again points to our legendary lack of imagination in the Indian sub-continent is absence of alerting system on Indian Ocean. It seems Pacific Ocean had this since 60s. With gazillion dollars going into remote sensing satellite couldn't they have alerted this one hour early and in the process saving thousands of lives.

Bangalore team: Take a day off and help those who really need your help. There are plenty of aid agencies collecting the donations (quick Google will help on that). Please be generous.

Others this is the time.  Most of those who were affected belong to the coastal areas and part of fishing community.

December 27, 2004 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 26, 2004

Natural disaster

My prayers go out to the family members of those who died during this tragedy. Earthquake combined with tsunami wreaked havoc in many nations.

Spread over the 1600 miles, and it all happened in less than 2 hours !

Can better sensing and alert technique reduce the damage in the future ?

December 26, 2004 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 24, 2004

Being honest about the honesty

Normally I don't  give much weight to Gallup polls ,  based as they are  on the  "sample" under consideration. But this particular Gallup poll is  quite intriguing . and all the  more credible since it doesn't have to  be precise. Its about finding which profession is the most honest one. Nurses win hands down and there are not that many surprises for the bottom ranks.

Now what is interesting to me is the impact of blogging on some of these professions.  These professions are increasingly getting more scrutiny in the public space. 

  • TV reporters (23 percent)
  • Newspaper reporters (21 percent)
  • Business executives (20 percent)
  • Lawyers (18 percent)
  • Congressmen (10 percent)
  • Advertising practitioners (10 percent)
  • Car salesmen (9 percent)

If you match these professions against the major events of this year, you will find that there is an increased shift towards  transparency in these professions due to the blogging phenomena.  Be it Dan Rather accepting his mistake, Trent Lott getting his due,  Howard Dean making politics more engaged and Madison avenue finding itself at the cross-roads.  Though I am not sure how blogging influences legal profession and the (used) car selling act.

Now for me and my profession the big question is what constitutes dishonesty in the software engineering profession ? If we are honest then the question is are we as respectable as the doctors or nurses ! And if not then where is the gap ? 

Where is the moral leak in RUP and the whole agile management process ?

Well that's one thought which will keep me stay focused during 2005.

December 24, 2004 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack