February 15, 2005

Campus view

While visiting my parents and attending cousin's marriage, I sneaked out to do my regular "whats new" trip to IIT Kanpur campus.  My father spent good 25 years in the campus so its like my home in many ways.  All my early attempts to understand the world happened inside the calm environment of this elite institute.  I didn't study here but I used it's wonderful library for good 5 years.

Campus is always active and the new generation of students are savvier in event management. Tech-fest named Technokriti is about to start where the topics are all cutting edge - Open source hardware,  robogames, micro-electronics design contest among others.  All the usual suspect sponsors are there as well - Infosys, Wipro,  Mentor Graphics etc.  Students wearing penguin T-shirts are not uncommon. Linux definitely gets lot of people talking.  This proves that students world-over are ready takers for compelling social movement of any type. Open source fits in nicely with the whole package of  underdog (against Microsoft etc), and pushing the right elements  for the sake of society.

Department of Biotechnology is a great addition to the campus. Met few Phd students and hoping to stay in touch with them as I learn more about the Bio-informatics field. 

In all this quest to know what's latest in the campus, I never fail  to identify the mango tree around which many childhood memories are constructed.  In a quick  rewind all the names and faces come to mind. Where are they now ? 

The thing I like about visiting UP and Kanpur in particular is the new perspective I get. Staying away from blogging world in a near disconnected state is not exactly a bad thing.  I gained lot more in understanding how the narrow-band and noband  world is  living.  There are huge barriers between three spaces - blogosphere, cyberspace (part of Internet still untouched by blogging) and third one which is relevant in India and it's called pothole-space.

Describing pothole-space will take another post. Let me just stop here with all the childhood memories still in my head.  Will come back to it in the next post.

February 15, 2005 in Random Thoughts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 30, 2004

Prediction Time

It's that time of the year when every hack  (or a geek like me who has found an easy publishing tool !)  will serve his bits acting as if he just had a lunch with Nostradamus.

Predicting the near-term technology future is tempting. If you are a careful follower of blogosphere's  echo chamber threads  and know that we all smoke from the same weed (credits to Om Malik for stating this loudly), then predictions are going to be sideways variations of  the known trends.

There will be normal vendor moves in reaction to the broader technology cycles and there will be nuts rolling out applications from their garages not knowing how to make money but surely they will cause lot of heart burns in the top tech 100 and joy in the long tail market. There will be more new memes. (Is this a coincidence that meme is pronounced like dream) .

Though I will need a place to cover from all the blogs which are going to talk about Apple, iPod, Skype, Google, Blogging, RSS,  Podcasting. Not that I dont like reading about all this but too much of the samething makes echo chamber very boring. 

So here is my suggestion for all pundits out there. Go get a copy of Nassim Nicholas's book - Fooled By Randomness.  That will sober down all the trend-chasers as well. My suggestion is do all the chasing after reading this book. You will be doing yourself a big favor.

In the words of one reviewer:

We are built to see patterns, to find causes for things, and to believe in our own rationality. We cannot help doing it. The attraction of Taleb's book is that he is very well aware of this. He knows nothing he says can dispel the illusions created by randomness, and that he is as susceptible to them as anyone. His only advantage is that he is aware of the failing, and can try to play tricks on himself to circumvent it - by denying himself access to junk information, for example. The book's short but excellent final section deals with this Zen-like problem of trying to break oneself out of a mould of thinking that cannot be broken, even though one recognises its shortcomings.

Once you finish that book then you can come back to the fun game :)  of placing bets.  Having put the disclaimer of "game" right there I am free to place my slot machine bets. Here they are :-

  1. Google will buy a big non-technology company for their information assets.
  2. Microsoft will open source their application suite - Navision or Great Plains , causing big shake in the Linux market as well as in enterprise software world.
  3. Big game changing deal will be signed by Chinese communications equipment company (OK this was easy)
  4. Starbucks floor panners will add kinko type services to serve latte-sipping free agents as this market keeps growing. Small meeting room with a presentation screen is a logical addition. Pricing will be bundled with wifi/latte/backup/presentation/music download. There will be podcast DJs hosting coffee parties in those rooms.
  5. 90% of the software startups getting funded will either have hosted offering or will have dual
    licensing (supporting open source from the get go). Other 10% will be serving niche markets.
    Atlast one major Indian SI firm will buck the trend and spin off a product based company, stock market will punish them for taking unnecessary risk and will boot the CEO. But eventually this will start a broader trend of "productized" services companies.
  6. Leading companies will start mining blogs and thus paving the way for eventual replacement of pricey industry analysts. Bloggers wont get a dime from this.  Eventually this dollar will go to the likes of Yahoo and Google.
  7. Microsoft will announce an attractive package to counter Google's adsense offering,  marketing promotion which will make many bloggers jump ship and move to MSN Spaces. Microsoft will subsidize this service to get many more subscribers to their search service and other MSN properties.
  8. There will be more lawsuits involving bloggers
  9. Cisco, Oracle , Intel and other big company's marketing folks will search for an in-house answer to the Scoble phenomena. 

This is like a tired slot machine ritual which can go on and on.  OK I am done here,  I will go and  join my other friends who are probably paying poker in some other casino.

Update:  Will collect all signals and undercurrents which come close to what I predicted.

This one for point 4.  Starbucks definitely need to work on more power outlets.

December 30, 2004 in Random Thoughts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 25, 2004


As part of the ongoing effort to clean up and get my acts together on this blog, I finally updated the blogroll today. It was a 10 minutes job but it took me quite some time !

Thanks to all the folks whose blogs I have been reading, I must say I learned a lot from all of you. Most of these folks  I don't know and sure they don't know me either.  Still we are connected in a weird way.

My good friend Mehul introduced me to this whole blogging rage back in the middle of 2003.  I was sufficiently intrigued at that time.  Initially I was mostly reading Rajesh Jain's blog, and became a big fan of his tenacity and discipline.  Hats off to you Rajesh. 

Eventually circle expanded and now I can say proudly that I made lot of friends through blogging. Many of them I eventually met face to face.  Tomorrow I am meeting Pankaj again, this time to see if we can cook up something for India using cellphone and TV, and in the process help make non-knowledge workers more money (remember all the good things go to those who are bound to the broadband and a keyboard !).

Now blogging is  part of our life, so much so that we also decided to add our own little contribution to this whole social computing phenomena. Stay tuned for more on that.

December 25, 2004 in Random Thoughts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 24, 2004

Good times ahead..

Happy season's greetings to  all of you !


December 24, 2004 in Random Thoughts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 16, 2004

It's time..

Its time to give a new spin to this blog. What started as a "test drive to understand blogging" has become a must participate avenue for online socializing and thought sharing.

Also to start talking more about the things I do during day job and stop throwing random long short comments and ahas ! Its very easy to talk about some big vision. Challenge is in connecting your daily activities with that overall vision and writing about that in a convincing way. Its like walk the talk.

Will be updating the templates with links, blogrolls and better categorization.


December 16, 2004 in Random Thoughts | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 14, 2004

Dumb dumb dumb

They should take away his IIT degree for this.

December 14, 2004 in Random Thoughts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 01, 2004

Month is a long time

Month is a real long time on blogosphere. Much has happened since I last posted. Lets do a quick wrap up of all the events which are worth filing it in this "other" memory.

Met lot of interesting people in recent time, including Lawrence Rosen (whose new book I am currently reading - highly recommended), Lawrence Lessig (His work demands more attention in the mainstream media) and Dan Gillmor (most well-mannered blogger in the whole blogosphere, delighted to get his signed copy of the book with a catching line - "From one blogger to another blogger").

And there were random SDForum meetings, always revitalizing. Its a great forum to get the normalized view and sync-up with some really smart people.

On the business front, most of the current focus is now on Apptility. There is a tremendous scope to pass on the cost savings to customers by leveraging open source technologies. Its slowly evolving into a mission to drive the open source adoption in safe and efficient way. Goal is to build tools and processes to establish Open Source as a vendor of choice.

Open source and it's spread in India is another dimension we are carefully planning. There are lot of interesting possibilities when you put open source against the broader outsourcing trend. Economics and legal regime frictions alone can generate many new business propositions. There are some real problems to solve in this area. Anybody who has seen companies running away with the open source technologies and not thinking through the legal issues are in for a surprise down the road. Open source is free to use but not entirely free to "sell". There is lot of wrapper selling going on in the name of open source. Its a welcome trend as it expands the market but it has to be clean as well. We are going to focus on making sure that the planned adoption takes place.

There are other themes like Trust, Reputation and Influence which are playing critical role in how businesses conduct their operations on the Internet. We will continue to invest our efforts in prototyping new concepts in those areas. Trust is a big deal. It's not getting enough attention out there.

On other developments, Pankaj rolled out a spiffy looking hindi group blog - Akshargram. If you like reading and writing in hindi then this site is a must read one.
I wish I could devote more time to my writing interests. Also old friend Krishna is helping get the RoorkeeInc website out of the gates. Stripped down and minimalist interface based interview format is on the way. I hope people will like it.

Will try to be more regular with my posts. Yes I have a long rant on Salesforce.com support. Don't they eat their own dog-food ?

October 1, 2004 in Random Thoughts | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 06, 2004

Lovin' iBook

Joy in becoming a part of the club. Yes I finally succumbed to the ease and beauty of Mac. Bought iBook for my niece and she is loving it too. So now I have personal goal of making sure that every kid in my family has one iBook (even if their uncle has to put in extra hours on the grindstone). Though support in India is still catching up, I wish Apple could do more penetration in India. ibook

And the other thing is - Chacha, what is blogging ? Which I am going to explain by setting their accounts now. This is fun stuff. Though the bandwidth sucks. Earlier in the day I called the cable guy to know details about the broadband connection and to that he replied (rather triumphantly) that nobody in Kanpur has a cable Internet connection. This is really disappointing (and frustrating because my place is just 2km away from the computer center IIT Kanpur , where Media Lab Asia is piloting long distance wireless access for rural populace).

July 6, 2004 in Random Thoughts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 15, 2004

Settling in ..

Blogging had been extremely slow in the last couple of weeks. Now that I am settling into our new Bangalore office hopefully I can write with more regularity. This is my second visit to the city within the span of 6months. With all the IT-driven changes happening, one thing remains same - non stop construction activity. I guess it's a sign of development.

Funny incident happened in the office while requesting bai (maidservant) to clean up the rooms. Not able to understand what I was saying She looked up at me and said "Kannada" and "Tamil" only. To that I replied "Hindi" and "English" only. Conversation stopped right there.

I should pick up atleast one south Indian language.

June 15, 2004 in Random Thoughts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 02, 2004

Catching up on blogosphere

It's a challenge to keep pace with writing/reading in blogosphere. Lately I have been busy preparing for the India trip. Will be in India for more than a month. Will be working from Bangalore office.

Plenty of time during the long flight to catch up on blogosphere.

June 2, 2004 in Random Thoughts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack