Friday, August 26, 2011

Funny Quote from Internet Explorer Fans

It's really funny and made me lol. Tried accessing http://joydefinesthefuture.com/ on my iPad.

"This is an experiment that demonstrates the latest emerging web technologies. As a consequence, it will only work in the latest and most powerful browsers, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 Beta."

lol.

Fight Against Corruption and Parallels with Treating Cancer

Below is an excerpt of some thoughts shared on a different discussion on the fight against corruption and argument that Anna's bill doesn't change a thing because most people are corrupt and we need a social transformation rather. The argument further goes to say that Anna should instead focus on educating people to elect honest representatives to solve the issue at its root. 
I do not say we shouldn't try to fix the root cause, but we should be practical and consider the approach based on where we are now.
Corruption in India is like a cancer evolved over generations. It would be a better and quite practical solution to do a surgery and use chemicals and medicine (even though they all have quite serious side effects). Fixing the root cause really mean reversing the evolution (social and systematic) and kind of irreversible (or impractical). We can start over after the surgery, for sure, and take steps for a grass roots approach. But grass roots approach alone is like learning and maintaining healthy habits and avoiding carcinogenic substances after diagnosed with severe cancer. In today's world, there are only so many things practical to avoid even after you survive from cancer. 
Lokpal may not be the perfect solution or complete solution, but a great start even if we could implement 50%. Given the circumstances, odds are quite high to implement it successfully. But that shouldn't deter from trying to achieve it.

Friday, August 19, 2011

David Blaine : Breaking The Breathless Record

For the first time, David Blaine shares his story about breaking the world record for holding his breath at TEDMED. Simply amazing!

You Can Work For Your Own Company on H1B

Can you start a business if you are on H1B ? And Can that business sponsor your H1B and hire you as an employee ?

Yes and Yes. 

Under the previous interpretations of CIS rules, a highly skilled worker who is legally in the United States on an H-1B visa could start a company but could not work for it. CIS updated the H1-B guidelines to “clarify” that business owners on H1-B visas could work for their own companies, provided that they work full time for the company and are treated like an employee. For example, the company could have a board that is able to hire, fire, pay, supervise or otherwise control the worker like they would any other staff member.

Source : On Immigration, a step in the right direction, Vivek Wadhwa

Its really wonderful news and clarification to both questions. Even though many people knew that they could start a business while on H1B, its always a rather gray area with too many interpretations.

Infographic : Non-Tuition Costs of Education

Nice info graphic illustrating various non-tuition costs of Education. I never thought students will spend so much on alcohol, coffee and entertainment ($2600, $1800 and $4000 respectively, about $700 a  month). 

The Non-Tuition Costs of Education
( Source : http://www.coursehero.com/)
Compare it to expenses of students coming from abroad, as I heard,  through friends that did Masters in the US, that they could survive at $350 to $600 on average per month (total expenses for month, excluding tuition). 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Nandan Nilekani on Corruption & Jan Lokpal

Its rather intriguing but totally reasonable critique of the euphoria of Jan Lokpal bill. Glad not all people are simply carried away with emotions.
He did not answer the question on the big ticket corruption as much convincingly as he did for the retail aspects, probably his work involved more of the later than the former. And strikingly, the JanLokpal addresses the big ticket corruption to a large extent.

By no means, I am against the Jan Lokpal bill, but I don't believe in those wild fantasies that it can somehow magically eradicate corruption. An independent body with powers is the need of the hour, but setting up a whole new body without checks and balances is set for disaster.

Why not make some of our existing bodies that are setup to fight against corruption independent. After all, even the Lokpal is supposed to execute the law through these bodies. 

But none of those above objections call for dissing the whole movement. Its rather a great start to go in this direction than not doing anything.

JanLokpal : Arvind Kejriwal @ IIT Chennai

Arvind Kejriwal @ IIT Chennai explaining the Jan Lokpal Bill, background, history of the movement and clarifying so many frivolous objections raised by the Government.

Part 1

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Groupon : How Good Of A Deal It Is For Investors?

Must read for everybody. Entrepreneurs, investors and some of you may start with a pinch of salt but to most people that are aware of how most of these hyped VC darlings and highly ‘valued’ companies work, should be just a reminder of the hard reality and what to focus on.

There was a lot of discussion on ‘Custom’ metrics that Groupon came up with to show to the world that it is actually doing great and making profits. But it turned out, they are all ‘gimmicks’ to hide costs and show profitable when it is actually loosing money.

"Alright, you caught us. We're actually not making any money. In fact, we are really losing a lot of money."

This is the essence of Groupon's declaration last week that it will remove the controversial accounting metric called Adjusted Consolidated Segment Operating Income (ACSOI) from its financial statements. ACSOI essentially measures Groupon's profits before subtracting its subscriber-acquisition costs and stock option-based compensation. The metric was an attempt to put a thin veneer of respectability on what are extremely disconcerting profitability numbers for the company. In the first quarter of 2011, Groupon posted a net loss of $113.9 million. Yet, the company reported ASCOI of positive $80.1 million. In most recent quarter, Groupon's losses continued to mount as it begrudgingly abandoned the ACSOI metric amidst criticism and incredulity from the SEC.

Source: Groupon Doomed by Too Much of a Good Thing, Harvard Business Review

Text highlighted by me. Some more key excerpts that are kinda shocking to most unaware readers but totally in line with most ‘valued’ startups of the day.

Groupon's fundamental problem is that it has not yet discovered a viable business model.The company asserts that it will be profitable once it reaches scale but there is little reason to believe this.

The real cause of Groupon's problem is that it had too much of a good thing. With over $1 billion of venture capital money to invest in growth, what manager has time to worry about profitability? Groupon's "bad money" — investments that were patient for profit but impatient for growth — did not instill the discipline needed to enable the company to emerge as a successful standalone venture.

The story would be much different if Groupon did not have nearly unlimited access to funding so early in its corporate life

The Economy Of Patent Lawsuits

Wonderful info-graphic on the economy of patent law suits from http://www.focus.com/images/view/30296/:

Monday, August 15, 2011

HTML5 Boiler Plate for Google App Engine Projects

While searching for something on Github, I stumbled upon a pretty comprehensive HTML5 Boiler Plate for Google AppEngine Projects. Looks great to use as the default Google App Engine project template.
App Engine Boilerplate is a versatile yet minimalistic setup for new App Engine projects.
  • html5-boilerplate 2.0
  •  (including it's automated build toolchain for minification and concatenation of js+css)
  • Memcaching setup for requests and responses
  • Flexible user-preferences model (with Gravatar link)
  • Templates and template addons
  • Tools such as is_testenv() and slugify(url)
  • app.yaml
  •  configuration for admin areas, static files
The source is available on Github. Will be using it in an App Engine project that will be kicked off towards the middle of the week and will share more about it. 

Google To Acquire Motorola for $12.5B

It’s a great news in many aspects, that Google is buying Motorola, the pioneer of Mobile handsets for $12.5 Billion dollars.

Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Motorola Mobility Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: MMI) today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Google will acquire Motorola Mobility for $40.00 per share in cash, or a total of about $12.5 billion, a premium of 63% to the closing price of Motorola Mobility shares on Friday, August 12, 2011. The transaction was unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies.

The acquisition of Motorola Mobility, a dedicated Android partner, will enable Google to supercharge the Android ecosystem and will enhance competition in mobile computing. Motorola Mobility will remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open. Google will run Motorola Mobility as a separate business.

-- Google Press Release

For starters, that will renew a fresh lease of life to Android market amid growing concerns of security, fragmentation, looming patent wars and an exponential growth. So, can we expect now end-to-end controlled android device much like the Apple’s iOS devices?

Good competition will definitely bring the best of each. So we can expect a much brighter future and fierce competition in the mobile markets.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Here’s What an iPad Looked Like in 1994


It's quite strange, it took almost another 15-16 years for iPad. If it had been successful some how right then, imagine what 15 years of iterations and evolution could have done to the whole tablet market. Glad at least, Apple made it real this time. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

TED Talks : Trial, Error and the God Complex

"God Complex" is a strange word but quite a pervasive feeling. Believe it nor,  we all have it. Not just a little, but quite in abundance. A little humility is all we need to will help us to experiment and innovate. Incredible talk.
Economics writer Tim Harford studies complex systems -- and finds a surprising link among the successful ones: they were built through trial and error. In this sparkling talk from TEDGlobal 2011, he asks us to embrace our randomness and start making better mistakes.

TED Talks : On Being Wrong

Another wonderful TED Talk.
Most of us will do anything to avoid being wrong. But what if we're wrong about that? "Wrongologist" Kathryn Schulz makes a compelling case for not just admitting but embracing our fallibility.


The most shocking and totally pervasive is this 'series of unfortunate assumptions' when some one doesn't agree with you.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Employees to Contractors to Entrepreneurs ?

Most people with full time jobs I know of hate their jobs. For a variety of reasons. And a majority of them have been dreaming of becoming ‘entrepreneurs’ and building businesses of their own. 

And almost all of them (that decided to venture out) have started or about to start a business of consulting and work as independent contractors. Doing the same or similar work they have been doing all along (software development projects for instance, as most of us are Software developers), though now they think they are well represented and compensated for their hard work.

Is becoming an independent contractor a necessary step in between an Employee and an Entrepreneur ? Or being an independent contractor itself is the business? Is this what they really wanted ? or its just an easy start to get something going, on your own, so you can think of ‘real thing’ later on ?

This great snippet by Seth Godin “Building a job vs. Building a business” put these thoughts in perspective. Read on.

Like Seth Godin says in that post, both of them are good and will work. But they are totally different things. For some, one may lead to the other, but most (almost all) it will not.  If we are totally convinced of doing one thing or the other and go do them, it is totally fine.  We just need to have that clarity in our dreams and ambitions.

If you hate your job working in your current company and want to come out and do same or similar job as an independent contractor (and eventually become a consultant and later on assemble a group of such people and call that a business), that’s fine. There are so many great and successful businesses of that sort. Just make sure that’s what you have been dreaming of.

Or you wish you could do something different ? Then, Do something different.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Pulse : 10 Hacks to go from Idea to #1 App

Just watched 10 Hacks to Go From Idea to #1 App (October 29, 2010) - HD on Active Player.

Source : 10 Hacks to Go From Idea to #1 App (October 29, 2010) - HD from Developing Apps for iOS (HD) ( Feed ) via Active Player

Adobe Releases a HTML5 Design Tool, Edge

Adobe released a preview edition of Adobe Edge, a Motion and Interaction Design tool that generates output NOT in Flash but in HTML5, JavaScript and CSS.

Adobe® Edge is a new web motion and interaction design tool that allows designers to bring animated content to websites, using web standards like HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS3.  -- Adobe Edge

Anybody already started reading between the lines ?

NDTV.com : Fact or Allegation ? Just another twisted title for sensationalism

This is yet another example of NDTV.com’s sensationalism twisted titles. The title says, as if this was a fact, woman made to urinate in pub...