Saturday, July 31, 2004

Dinner with Bill

Check this account of an intern about his dinner with Bill Gates. (Via Kiruba).

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Friday, July 30, 2004

My Experience with Picassa

This is a package that is being offered by  to Google write photo blogs.  I find it good and easy to use, given the fact that I don’t have any storage in the web for uploading photos.  Combine that with another software Hello, it provides the power to transfer the photos to the web.  Presently, this feature is free and I pray that it would remain free.  So that, I can make use of my presently idle gadget to better results.  One problem remains though, I have not figured out how to save the changes to each photograph.  Have some exploring to be done.  But the interface is very good and does not consume more memory like popular photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop, which has a great fan following.  Picassa also incorporates a scanner and camera wizard.  And, it displays JPEG and all other graphic files, GIF, BMP, PSD, PNG and also movie files.  And, a small variation, it also plays music files while slideshows are being displayed.  This is just a small introduction for a good software that provides online storage and basic photo editing features, hope you guys use it and get benefited by it.

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Thursday, July 29, 2004

Our Leaders

How do we, as public, ensure that our leaders in the Parliament and the State Legislative assemblies are not the most capable to govern our country?  Tough question eh? Some of the measures presently in practice like making the election contestant to declare a list of civil and criminal proceedings against him / her is good, but is it making a big change?  As we all know, an individual becomes a state minister or cabinet minister only after years of long service (!!)  to the party and to himself / herself.  Some of the screening processes for a person to contest an election maybe enough to do away with some of the lesser known fugitives who have made the ordinary thefts and burglaries from the elections.  But, why are ministers like Shibu Soren still left in the wild by the Indian Govt?  Beats me.  I feel that if charges are brought upon an incumbent minister he should be fired from the cabinet rather than being offered a face saving gesture of asking the person to hand over resignation papers.  And, this should be directly done by the President of the country, no questions asked by the govt.  This maybe also a way to make the President to be more involved in the running of the Govt, rather than meeting the PM in fortnightly tea sessions or meeting the PM when Pakistan moves its armies by 2 kms towards the Line of Control.   

Our President, Abdul Kalam, has already proved that he is more than the other Presidents India has had, except, for instance, S Radhakrishnan, though he functioned in a different era.  As an ardent fan of Kalam, I can only wish that he does something to bring about a radical change in the handling of such cases. 

In continuation of my previous post, I agree with Chakkarapani that all those people that I had mentioned made it big in their world and came over to politics.  But, who should be made as a Finance Minister of the country?  Somebody who has lived in riches all his life or somebody who knows nothing about money?  Better the one with riches, because he might not go crazy over the money.  But, the Minister in charge of the Law dept should be not be one who has had troubles with the Law all through his life, though that might be a novel approach.  He can point out the loopholes in the system that he had exploited.  I have not read the whole of the Indian Constitution, but I have enough belief in it that it ensures good governance.  So, where are we falling short?  Ensuring that all these laws are being followed correctly.  A good leader should make sure we follow the laws correctly rather than making new laws each and every time. 

When will the leaders of our nation start to think of global competitiveness and be freed from the internal fighting of our politicians?  When can our Home Minister start thinking about protecting India from external enemies and when will our Finance Minister can be really work towards bringing in more FDI, rather than desperately trying to bring out the crores of rupees in black money out into the nation’s economy.

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Sunday, July 25, 2004

A Career in Politics

How many of the management and the technology graduates think of politics as a career ?  Not a question that I am capable of asking, but this was a question posed to a group of management students at IIM, Bangalore by Anil Ambani.  To the unknown few, he recently became a member of the Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh as an independent.  Many of the students of the present day education system might need to think this over.  Politics as a career ?  Famous examples are available to provide emphasis.  P Chidamabaram, Subramaniam Swamy, Arun Shourie, Arun Jaitley, Kapil Sibal ... Of course, some of the actions of S Swamy are to be overlooked here while considering this question.  As Anil points out, you have to be inside the system to talk about the changes and to enforce them. 

Also, a career in the Indian Administrative Service is also noteworthy.  A true blend of the right bureaucrats and the informed politician is what India needs to be in the running for the global superpower mantle.  True, we have established our status as a global software superpower, thanks to visonaries like Narayanamurthy, Premji and Ramadorai.  But, just like a university is not considered as a good one based on the achivements of one particular dept, the overall rating is always dependent of the achivements of the Linguistics dept as well in addition to the Computer Science dept.  Likewise, India needs to be competent enough in all the areas, Manufacturing, Mining, Banking .. the list is endless.  The money that we might make in taking a decision for joining the Civil Services is less compared to the salaries offered by MNCs, but think of the India that we might help build for the future generations.  An AIDS free India, a poverty free India, India the Superpower. 

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Thursday, July 22, 2004

New Laptop

I bought a laptop - Toshiba Tecra day before.  It took me the whole of yesterday to configure the laptop and to install the required software.  Needless to say, I am pretty excited about this.  The whole thing along with a dapper looking bag and optical mouse cost me $1498.  Actually, it was a classic case of impulsive buying (am I suffering from that too much ?).  I had to go along with Amit for buying him this one and fell in love with the laptop as soon as I set my sights on it.  It is not exactly not top of the range model, it contains a Celeron 1.3 Ghz with 256 MB RAM and a 40 GB HDD.  I just felt that it would be enough for my Java programming and net browsing.  And, it also has a DVD Player CD RW combo, for the movie and mp3 freak in me.  It weighs 2.6 kgs and looks slimline.  I have named the computer as Osiris.  Later, I looked the word in the reference and seems like Osiris was the god of underworld in Egyptian mythology !! 

Did Amit also buy the laptop ?  Of course.  I am still not able to forget the look on his face when I told him that I would also buy - shocked was too small a word to describe it.

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Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Idle Gadgets

Sometime back, actually, in Dec 03 I bought a Kodak 2 MP digicam. The thought at that time was to get up in the morning, look out of the window, and shoot away at my whim. To which end, I bought a 64 MB memory card to boot as well. Now six months down the line, all I have managed to do is to shoot some photos of the new year celebrations in Melbourne myself. The camera was also loaned to couple of my friends when they went on trips, apart from that, it is just lying idle. Since last week, I have been wanting to get out to the Botanical gardens to shoot some pics or down the Yarra river. But, laziness and my new season four of Friends DVD overcomes everything. I am remembering the thoughtfilled words of my dad, when he asked me 'Would you be using the camera like the toothbrush every morning ?'

The same way with my mobile phone, the NEC e616. I am just paying for the phone itself, without using much of its services. My total bill never crosses $25 every month, out of which $19 is for the phone. A lesson learnt from this - I did not invest in a new digital MP3 player, rather, asked (begged) my roomate to let me use his Sony MP3 Discman. Now that is a bit of enlightenment from all these experiences.

I also went for Spidey 2 last Friday and should say that Spiderman has become Emotionman in this movie. All that he manages to do is try to manage his Aunt May and MJ emotionally and romantically. Not the way I expected the movie to turn out.

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Thursday, July 01, 2004

Best Blogs

I have just read the June 28 issue of Time and there is an article about blogging. This is a list of some of the mostly admired blogs in the world - viewership in a month - in millions.

Drew Curtis @ Fark.com
Cary Doctorow @ boingboing.net
Glenn Reynolds @ Instapundit.com
Ana Marie Cox @ Wonkette.com
Rebecca Blood @ rebeccablood.net

Funny quotes from the Level 10 bathroom at my office :

Sorry this toilet is broken, please use floor below !!
Sign at a fitness store - Store closed due to illness !!

And this is my latest photo.

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