Showing posts with label Hell Yeah !. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hell Yeah !. Show all posts

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Winter in the city

Brrr…Chilling out there. Today the whole city was covered in a thick layer of mist. Only the bottom few storeys of each high-rise was visible. Checked the temperature; 5 degrees! Haven't seen these temperatures outside for the last...well..many years. That was when I was in Europe, where it went below zero in the winter. 5 degrees is what they call spring time. I started recalling the tricks we used to use during those frigid European winters, heaters on, warm fluids. Even the fill-the-warm-water-bottle-under-bed hack.

It is good to be away from the heat, though we still do get some sun, but its not that harsh. That was really missing in Europe, the winters there are long and dark. Even at peak noon, the sky just turns a little light blue. And for the rest of the day, it remains dark. Street lights are on all day. In office all the blinds were down, otherwise you just wouldn't feel like working. I used to carry a torch to use near my apartments back then.

So this is what a Melbourne winter feels like. I think I am going to enjoy the next few months.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Throwback to the Satyam scandal


Remember 2009 ? Me vaguely. This was when smartphones were still only for the filthily rich, in countries with very high wireless speeds, orkut was the facebook of the time, and flipkart still sold only books. The tech industry in India was hit by a huge scandal that year. One of the more prestigious software services firm revealed that they have been cooking their account books for years, and was actually in massive loss. The Satyam scam was at the same time shocking and unbelievable, because the company had a rags to riches story and aleady has branches in many foreign countries and hundreds of clients. And I think it was also shameful, because the name ‘Satyam’ in hindi/telugu/(insert any south Indian language here) means ‘Truth’. Talk of punctured balloons.

I remember the day when the scam was revealed, mostly by SMSes and rapidly forwarded e-mails. Most of the engineers on the floor I think did not see the seriousness of the scandal, and were actually looking for a way to cash in on this in the stock market. You see, when the truth about the scandal was made public, shareholders began dumping Satyam stocks. Like garbage. People on my floor (looking at you, Ankit !) had plans to buy Satyam shares when I hit rock bottom, confident that the issue would be resolved in a few days and would pick up soon. Time enough to make some money !


Remember , this was all happening during the last recession. Engineers employed by Satyam began looking for jobs frantically, flooding jobsites with their resumes. Most were even willing to take a paycut just to move to a better job. Some took drastic steps. Even today people are hesitant to admit they worked for Satyam.

Anyway, I divert. The big question everyone was asking how come such a huge financial scam was hiddden. Surely there were multiple people in a co-ordinated cover up. Satyam’s books were audited by the …ahem…prestigious PriceWaterCoopers. Apparently they were auditing only the physical books the Chairman had specially cooked for them, instead of actually double checking with the banks.

Had this been any other country, the courts would have dealt out something in a matter of few days. Maximum a few months. But nobody is in a hurry in India. The court battles began running marathons, and justice was delayed. This week, more than 9 years after the scam, Indian courts have banned PriceWater from auditing any listed Indian company for two years, effectively affecting their direct revenue. This was in addition to who knows all the fines they will be charged.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has barred Price Waterhouse from auditing any listed company in India for a period of two years for its alleged role in the Satyam scam.The regulator had also directed the auditing firm to disgorge 13.09 crore along with 12% interest per annum since January 2009.In 2010, SEBI issued a show-cause notice to Price Waterhouse, among many other entities, after it emerged that the accounts of Satyam were falsified and inflated.

I was thanking my good fortune. When I was a fresh graduate looking for an IT job, I had attended a Satyam job fair in Kochin, Kerala, a few years prior. I had cleared all the rounds and was rejected by their HR-asshole in the last moment. Some of my juniors got through though. Had they selected me, I would have taken the offer and stayed employed with them in 2009, when all hell broke loose.

PWC had a nice run all these years. Meanwhile the chairman was pronounced guilty only in 2015, and Satyam was taken over by Mahindra’s software division in 2012.

When I joined there a few years ago in Bangalore, I could notice the older Satyam logo at multiple places in the campus. An old logo on a building was removed but grafitti remained. On stickers on old furniture and computer systems.

Its a scandalous past everybody just wants to forget. But the cases will still continue in Indian courts…

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Got it. Finally.

Today is an important milestone for us. The date has always been special. But now its also the date we cleared a milestone. Slowly , very slowly, things we put in action almost a year back are falling in place. It could have been earlier, we could have achieve it sooner. But, you There will always be hindrances. And better late than never, right ?

We are moving. We are leaving this company. This country. And moving for good. Abroad. Today we were granted our 189 independent visa for Australia.

After dreaming about and planning about this day for months, we have climbed one more hurdle. And something tells me there will be more hurdles  down the path for us.

We’ll take it one at a time.

Puttakke putaakkee karimeen puttakkeyy, we are going there ! All our dreams will come true. We will make them come true.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

United States Wins 1,000th Olympic Gold Medal


The United States won its 1,000th Olympic gold medal on Saturday when the American women swimmers won the 4x100 meter medley relay at the Rio Games.  Not 1000 medals. 1000 Gold medals !




Now that’s just awesome ! This is due to the high importance given to all kinds of sports there.


Thursday, May 26, 2016

പൂട്ടിയ ബാറുകള്‍ തുറക്കില്ലെന്ന് എക്‌സൈസ് മന്ത്രി


Excise Minister T.P. Ramakrishnan on Thursday said the LDF Government's liquor policy would focus on abstinence to bring down the consumption of liquor gradually even while reiterating that the closed bars would not be opened.  Mr Ramakrishnan told DC that the government would soon launch a people's campaign to create awareness.

"We are for abstinence. Our efforts would be directed at reducing liquor consumption in society in a phased manner. As far as shut bars are concerned, there are many which are functioning as beer and wine parlours. So we have to look into all these aspects before taking a decision on our policy. People will be taken on board for state-wide campaign,'' he added.

The LDF leadership believes that not even a single bar had been closed in the state. Most have been converted into beer and wine parlours where beer and wine with high alcohol content was being sold. According to Left leadership, spurious liquor was being supplied through various outlets.

Moreover, a number of studies had pointed out that the use of drugs, psychotropic substances were growing alarmingly in the state. Houses, vehicles have turned into bars rendering the previous government's liquor police totally ineffective.

“CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury had also made it clear the Left Government's  policy would be to further reduce the impact of liquor consumption in Kerala society which has already demonstrated new social problems. The efforts would be aimed at further reducing liquor consumption," he added.


Making the first announcement after assuming the office and putting the concerns about the excise policy of the new government to rest, the government has declared that it has no intention to reopen the closed bar hotels.

Talking to reporters, excise and labour minister T P Ramakrishnan said here on Thursday that the government will not reopen the closed bar hotels. He said that the governments policy was to reduce the consumption of liquor. For this, the government will launch mass campaign. He said that the LDF had declared its stance in the manifesto, from which the governments policy is clear.

Though there are promises in the manifesto on alcohol and curbing the drug menace, the promises are too shallow without any concrete framework, even the excise department officials feel. According to excise officials, the consumption of drugs has easily increased for two reasons- less availability for alcohol and ready and cheap availability of drugs like ganja. Officials say that a detailed survey will have to be undertaken to find out the intensive users of drugs, who will have to be subjected to medical treatment.

The officials in the cutting edge level in the filed have found that the users of drug themselves are later becoming the sellers. So the officials say that unless the distribution chain is cracked down at the root, the awareness or a peoples movement for awareness will become futile exercise.

Meanwhile, there are also sources who believe that the government might adopt a new liquor policy from the next financial year, that would give more stress on awareness campaign and not prohibition, that may lead to relaxation of current policy of not granting licenses to any hotels below five-star category.


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Myntra’s App-only U- Turn


Big Tech news today is Myntra’s decision to relaunch its desktop web site, reverting their decision to have only a mobile app as an interface. Looks like they maybe losing a lot of business with their app only strategy, and this u-turn is to make up for lost business.






Media is celebrating this as a victory, for the decision to go App only was received at that time as ridiculous, and customer unfriendly. It was surprising that parent company Flipkart would try to enforce their viewpoint on millions of reluctant customers, just to maybe speeden up development on their UX side. Personally I have never liked the mobile form factor for online browsing of products. The space and layout of the vertical larger desktop screen provided more options and flexibility. Neither the company nor the customers were ready for it.

So anyway, its good to know that inspite of smartphone penetration, the importance of desktop systems cannot yet be written off.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Non-Karnataka Vehicles Need Not Pay Lifetime Tax


The big news and hot topic of discussion today was not the cricket matches, or the looming elections, or the political cacophony, or Mallya’s escape. The big news is the Karnataka High court ruling in favor of owners of vehicles not regsitered in Karnataka. You see, any vehicle with a non-KA number is instant feast for the traffic police. If the vehicle is in Karnataka for more than 30 days, they have to pay lifetime tax. And vehicle taxes of Karnataka is highest in the country ! The high court on Thursday quashed the amendment (to Karnataka Motor Vehicles Taxation) by the state government to collect LTT from the vehicles registered outside the state and plying in the state for more than 30 days.


The court also quashed the demand notices issued by the Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) to owners of several such vehicles to pay the tax. Several non-KA numberplate bearing vehicles were seized by the Transport Department for non-payment of tax and plying in Karnataka beyond 30 days. The state government had implemented the rule by notifying it in the gazette on February 28, 2014.

In the first year of implementing the rule (2014-15), the transport department collected a whopping Rs 40 crore by initiating action against over 4,000 'defaulting' vehicle owners.In the last two years after the rule came into force, RTO managed to collect Rs 100 crore through LTT and penalties.


Road tax on passenger vehicles is the highest in Karnataka, across all price slabs. Overall, road tax is more than 10% in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal. Rates in northern states, which comprise a high volume market, are between 8% and 4% for cheaper cars and around 8% for mid-segment cars. But as car prices (ex-showroom) rise, road tax rates go up even in states such as Delhi and Rajasthan.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Primary Function Of Water Towers Is… pump Water !


I didn’t know this. All these years I used to look up at water towers and say “Why did they have to build them that tall ?” Here in India, water towers are used primarily as…landmarks ! The Koramangala water tank is well known, then there is the Sankey water tank. But today I learned that the reason of building the water reservoir on a tower is to let gravity act on it, and the water pressure thus created will let the water rise up into higher floors in buildings. Look at the diagram: jp jw pj js rj rp rw ri cp md.ic.r6R8ub0OBN

At first glance, it would be easy to assume that water towers exist to store water. They are, after all, giant above ground vessels filled with anywhere from tens of thousands to millions of gallons of water.

But whether you’re talking about a modest little water tower perched atop an apartment building in New York City or a giant municipal water tower, water storage is not the primary function of the tower (if water storage was the only goal, it would be significantly cheaper to build a reservoir). The primary function of water towers is to pressurize water for distribution. Elevating the water high above the pipes that distribute it throughout the surrounding building or community ensures that hydrostatic pressure, driven by gravity, forces the water down and through the system.

The design helps keep the cost of water distribution lower for two reasons. First, it allows for centralization of pumping and pressurization, and decreases the number of pumping stations needed in the vicinity of the water tower. Second, it allows the water company to pump water up to the tower during off-peak energy times to decrease the expense of running the pumps.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Microsoft Open Sources and Forks Windows Live Writer into Open Live

Yeaah !!! This is probably the best news I have head from Microsoft this year.Microsoft Open Sources and Forks Windows Live Writer into Open Live Writer.  The latest binary installable can be downloaded now and the project is now on GitHub.

But unfortunately, Google too this update news to turn off legacy support of its authentication  APIs. So now, the new as well as older versions of Live Writer, cannot connect to Blogger. :-(

The product that became Live Writer was originally created by a small, super-talented team of engineers including JJ Allaire, Joe Cheng, Charles Teague, and Spike Washburn. The team was acquired by Microsoft in 2006 and organized with the Spaces team. Becky Pezely joined the team and over time, the team grew and shipped many popular releases of Windows Live Writer.
As Microsoft was planning for the version of Windows Live that would coincide with Windows 8 operating system release, the teams that built the Windows Live client apps for Windows were encouraged to focus on building a smaller set of Windows 8 apps designed to work well with both traditional PC input mechanisms and touch. With the rise of micro-blogging platforms and other forms of sharing, eventually this team decided to conclude their work on Windows Live Writer with Windows Live Writer 2012.
Even though there was no active development, Windows Live Writer continued to be a favorite tool of a passionate community of Windows PC users for authoring, editing, and publishing blog posts. Data from at the time suggested that Open Live Writer (even two years after active development ended) was the #1 app for authoring a blog post to from a Windows PC.

A few employees at Microsoft took an interest in reviving Live Writer as an open source project in their spare time. By January 2015, a group of about a half-dozen engineers interested in spending some of their volunteer time to help release an updated version of Live Writer had found each other and began work on getting this open source fork of Live Writer formed and ready to ship. In December 2015 Microsoft donated the code to the .NET Foundation and this passionate group of volunteer engineers rapidly assembled the first open source version.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The long awaited death of Google plus



The buzz on the interwebs is that Google is in the process of shutting down its current social network Google Plus. This will be the newest addition to a quite a long list of Google Failures. But unlike previous cases of services shutdown, this time, no-one seems to be complaining. In fact, I would say people are delighted ! I certainly am.

When they were shutting down Google Reader, netizens put up protests and petitions to keep it alive.  But with Plus shutdown, people are actually happy.

I always had a loathing for any page on the internet where they asked for my date of birth and mother's maiden name. I understand they need this so I can recover my account, but can't they just let ME frame a question to which only I know the answer ? Anyway, social networks have scared me, because people end up putting their darkest secrets and precious moments there for anyone to see. And I liked the anonymity the internet provided me. I never joined Google plus, used to opt out on any service they needed my Google Plus profile. I never joined Facebook , for that matter. I am pretty happy being social in the real world where no one can poke me publicly or post things on my home wall. But Google's plus scared me. It was forced, unfriendly, and to put it simply, a cheap copy of Facebook.

The first thing they got wrong was to force people to use their real name on the network. It made sense to use real names for interaction, but other networks always provided the flexibility to change these. Then they forced Plus accounts for Youtube comments. But all their forced rules could not hide the fact that Plus did not have anything special about it. It was just like any other network.All this fanfare and then they developed something that in the end was quite ordinary.

So, I am now waiting for the the last nail on the coffin. Off to history for you, Google+. I just need a free service to check my e-mail, don't force me to create circles for that.




Here is a list of other Google failures.



Sunday, July 19, 2015

Apollo 11 - 46th anniversary



Sadly, no one is talking about this.




Twelve of these astronauts walked on the Moon's surface, and six of those drove Lunar Roving Vehicles on the Moon. While three astronauts flew to the Moon twice, none of them landed on the Moon more than once. The nine Apollo missions to the Moon occurred between December 1968 and December 1972.



Forty six years ago today, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first two people to walk on the Moon, and Armstrong snapped this iconic photo of Aldrin (and of himself, too—that tiny little astronaut reflected in the visor is Armstrong). But it wasn’t until today that Aldrin finally gave it the perfect caption.




Strange facts:


1.You would expect that when NASA asks you to be the first man to walk on the Moon that they would consider the possibility of things going wrong. Well for Neil Armstrong he couldn’t afford the life insurance policy for an astronaut. However, along with Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin he wasn’t alone. All three astronauts of the Apollo 11 mission decided to create a plan of their own to support their families if something bad was to happen. Before the Apollo 11 mission in July 1969 when all three astronauts were in pre-launch quarantine, they signed hundred of autographs and sent them to a friend. If anything was to happen to the astronauts during their mission, the entrusted friend was to send the autographed memorabilia to each of the astronaut’s families. This way they could make some money by selling the signatures of the Apollo 11 crew.


Neil Armstrong can smell the moon dust after the first moonwalk. (Image credit: Buzz Aldrin/NASA)

2. One thing that surprised the astronauts who visited the Moon was the strong odour of the lunar dust which they were only able to smell when they got back inside the Lunar Module. While conducting experiments on the surface of the Moon the astronauts’ spacesuits gathered the moon dust in the creases of the suit, once the crew returned to the LM and removed their helmets the dust got everywhere even on their hands and faces (some astronauts even tasted it). After coming into contact with oxygen for the first time inside the Lunar Module, the four billion years old moon dust produced a pungent smell. As most of the astronauts had a military history they could compare the aroma to that of gun powder. Neil Armstrong described the dust’s scent as similar to to wet ashes in a fireplace. This distinct smell remains a mystery as moon dust and gun powder have no similar compounds and the exact explanation remains unknown.


Suit for a moonwalk (Image credit: NASA)

3. There’s no doubt that the people behind the Moon missions were smart and skilled. The kind of expertise required seems beyond our general understanding. The spacesuits that the astronauts wore in the Apollo 11 missions were made by little old ladies, a bit like the ones in the Shreddies advert. NASA approached the International Latex Corporation (ILC) to produce a suit alongside the aerospace company Hamilton Standard. However Hamilton Standard became wary of the ILC and designed their own suit which after being submitted to NASA was refused. Hamilton Standard blamed the ILC causing the fashion company to lose their contract.

However, that wasn’t the end of the International Latex Company as a few years later NASA advertised a competition for a new suit. A handful of retired ILC employees saw their chance and broke into their old offices, stealing back their original suit designs that had previously been overlooked. After a lot of hard work the employees submitted their design to NASA who were impressed. They choose the ILC’s suit as the competition winner and deciding that Hamilton Standard would provide the oxygen tanks for the suit which we can only imagine may have been a little awkward given their previously rocky relationship.

Since their success with the original space suit, the ILC has supplied NASA with numerous items for space exploration. Along with the new next generation Z-1 suit and the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) suit used on the International Space Station, the ILC also designed the airbags that enabled Spirit and Opportunity, the two Mars rovers, to land safely on the Martian surface.

4. As you can imagine, in the microgravity of space, there are a few things you would have great difficulty with. I’m not talking about things like typing with those thick gloves or attempting to get dressed when one sock wants to head left and the other is determined to go right. Well as you can imagine everything in microgravity floats and when I say everything I mean everything…therefore going to spend a penny in space is not easy.

Nowadays astronauts staying in the International Space Station have a specially designed toilet that they can seatbelt themselves onto whilst a suction device can aid them with any waste disposal. However during the Apollo 11 mission, the solution to this all natural issue hadn’t really been solved yet and one astronaut in particular spent the entire mission on tablets that stop diarrhoea just to combat the problem. Michael Collins said himself that ‘The drinking water was laced with hydrogen bubbles’ which produced “gross flatulence…resulting in a not so subtle and pervasive aroma which reminds me of a mixture of wet dog and marsh grass.” He wrote about this in his autobiography, Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut’s Journey (1974), and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the most pleasant memories of the crew’s trip to the moon as they were crammed together in the Command Module for three days.

5.When the Apollo 11’s Eagle Lunar Lander was separating from the CSM Colombia there was a loud pop, a bit like the noise of a champagne bottle being opened. This was because the cabin in the LM hadn’t been fully compressed before the separation. Some claim that this minor fault actually pushed the LM four miles off from where it was originally supposed to land.


Aldrin climbing down the ladder. He was careful not to close the hatch. (Image credit: Neil Armstrong/NASA)

6. When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were heading out to explore the Moon they both had to remember not to fully close the door on the Landing Module behind them. The door was closed to prevent heat escaping from the cabin but not completely in case any the cabin  was somehow repressurised, which could make it difficult to get the door open. Aldrin and Armstrong joked about leaving the door open:

109:41:28 Aldrin: Okay. Now I want to back up and partially close the hatch. (Long Pause) Making sure not to lock it on my way out.

109:41:53 Armstrong: (Laughs) A particularly good thought. (From )

Since then some websites have claimed there was no outside handle to get back in as the engineers back at NASA thought that the weight of a handle would affect the calculations of the descent so decided to leave the door without one! Well there was indeed a handle on the hatch complete with instructions!


This diagram of the LM’s landing leg indicates that it was designed to compress up to 32 inches on landing.  Apollo 11 landed more softly than expected. (Image credit: NASA)

7. We all know the famous first words of Neil Armstrong as he stepped foot onto the moon, ‘That’s one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind.’ However Armstrong’s first step out onto the Moon wasn’t small at all, in fact Armstrong had landed the Lunar Module so gently that the shock absorbers hadn’t compressed. So his first step out onto the Moon was actually close to a four foot jump onto the lunar surface.


Aldrin and Armstrong raise the Stars and Stripes rather too close to the LM. (Image credit: NASA)

8. Whenever you ask children what the astronauts who visited the Moon have left behind, the first hand up in the room always mentions the American flag. However, the fate of that flag is quite sad as it was later knocked over when Armstrong and Aldrin launched the Lunar Module back into lunar orbit to join with Collins in the Command Module. After Aldrin hit the button to begin the launch he looked out the window and watched as the infamous flag was blasted away with the rest of the material left behind on the lunar surface.

9. As you can imagine, the first men to land on the Moon was a global event, everyone that could, would be watching. Due to this, NASA asked the astronauts on Apollo 11 not to engage in any religious activities that could offend, insult or isolate the rest of the world. However, Buzz Aldrin felt the opportunity was too great to let pass by. Therefore once Armstrong and Aldrin had landed safely on the Moon and were waiting to take their first steps, Aldrin radioed back to Earth asking anyone who was listening to reflect on that moment in history. Aldrin gave thanks for the opportunity and produced a small flask of wine and a piece of bread which he then consumed whilst reading from the Gospel of John. From that moment Buzz Aldrin then became the first and so far the only person to participate in the Christian ritual of Communion on the Moon. Neil Armstrong watched on in respect but never participated.


The front section of the LM’s interior. The banks of circuit breakers are to the left and right (Image credit: NASA)

10. After gathering some Moon samples, taking some pictures and raising the American flag, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin returned to the Lunar Module, only to realise that a switch on a crucial circuit breaker had broken. This particular broken switch left them without a way to ignite the engine, so they tried to sleep while the mission control team at NASA tried to find a way to repair it. Eventually Aldrin decided that enough was enough and jammed his pen into the mechanism creating a make-shift switch. Surprisingly enough this quick-fix worked and launched both Aldrin and Armstrong off the lunar surface.


The leaden hand of bureaucracy or a joke? (Image credit: US Government)

11. As the Apollo 11 team arrived safely on the Earth, the crew were brought to Hawaii. Despite being the three most famous men at the time, as they had just landed on the Moon safely and returned, they were still asked to fill out a customs and declarations form at security. As you can imagine, in the section asking “Departure From:”the Apollo 11 crew had to write “The Moon”.