Miscellany

There wasn’t any personal time in the last few weeks due to work load. Just got some breathing time now to read & write. Thanks to those who kindly enquired about my absence.

Bloglines doesn’t work at my workplace. Any recommendations for any other web-based RSS reader would be appreciated.

It is Spam Karma 2 which takes care of the spam comments in my blog. It is happily harvesting around 70+ comments left by ringtone makers & viagara sellers, though one or two manages to slip past Karma’s net.

With the way pay packets rise for IT folks in India, I was a bit worried that we are quickly out pricing ourselves. Few years back, there used to be a scenario that for the salary you pay for one person in US/UK, we could pay as many as 8-9 people in India for doing a similar job. The ratio has come closer now, though I don’t know the exact number. I was quite worried that it is a bubble waiting to burst. Looking at this news item on SAP Chief’s comments that “Indian programmers are expensive”, it seems that companies have started feeling the same. I wish that this is one off and not the tip of the iceberg.

Cruelty Free Page

Just like how ‘trouble free product’ means that the trouble is NOT free with the product, ‘Cruelty Free Page‘ is not about getting cruetly free. Rather, it is anti-cruelty page. My friend Poornima has put up a page on animal cruelty & strongly discourages animal testing. The page tells you how one can make a change, if you want.

I am just helping her spread the word across. I neither have strong views on animal testing, nor I am the person who says “I love rabbits, they taste so good”. May be, I will try to follow what she has said in that page.

ICICI

hehe.. Its not just me who doesn’t have any good opinion on ICICI. I wrote about it months back and many echoed their views. Simple fact is – their customer service sucks – be it in UK (via Sambhar) or in India. There is even a one-post blog about how great the bank is. With so many dissatisfied customers, wonder how they are pulling along? Is it because of the TINA (There Is No Alternative) factor? Or are the other banks worser than this?

Phobia?

I have this habit of checking for my wallet & house keys at regular intervals, whenever I am out of my home. Subconsciously, I would check for it and I haven’t thought about whether anyone has noticed me doing that. Recently, I noticed a colleague of mine doing something odd and I couldn’t help asking about that. He tells me that he has been doing that for many years as he always have a feeling at the back of his mind that he might have forgotten to zip up his trousers. 😉

Amway

Few days back, I got an email from someone claiming that he got to know me from my blog asking whether I would be interested in a global e-commerce business in UK. That e-mail appeared to be genuine and I sent him my numbers, after which he called from US. We spoke for a few minutes during which he said nothing about that so-called business, but promised to send more details about it in a e-mail and requested me to meet someone in London. Only when I received the e-mail, where in he asked me to attend a meeting in ‘business attire’, I suspected something foul and decided not to waste any more time on that. When that guy called me again two days later to enquire whether I have attended the meeting, I confronted him by asking whether they have anything to do with Amway and he said a reluctant ‘yes’. I snapped the call by asking him not to bother me again in future.

In the past, I have read bloggers from US telling such stories about Amway, but this is the first time I am encountering this. Personally, I have nothing against Amway, though I hate the concept of multi-level marketing. It is okay to market something you want to sell, but what good is the person who couldn’t even tell the name of the company he is associated with? And, what is this stupidity about global e-commerce business etc? Shameless fellows. Possibly, he might be reading this post. If so, let him get the message. Let the next guy ring me, I will see to that he won’t forget the call.

History Repeats

Just read this story of a mouse burning down a house in revenge by running back into the man’s house, who tried to kill it by tossing it on to a bonfire.

Replace the mouse with Lord Hanuman and the man with Ravan. Didn’t we hear it in Ramayan? History repeats itself. Characters may change, but not the moral. 🙂

NDTV

Thanks to a friend of mine, I am getting to watch NDTV for the past 10 days. Went a bit nostalgic as I remembered the days in late 1980s when I used to stay awake late watching the ‘World This Week’, that used to be presented Prannoy Roy. NDTV was a budding production house then. Their election & budget analysis beamed in our good, old Doordarshan were trendsetters at that time and were the one of the things responsible for my interest in politics & current affairs. I even remember being disturbed for a long time feeling sorry for my favourite NDTV correspondent Appan Menon – a regular face in WTW, who died in his sleep. The last time I watched NDTV was when they were still presenting some news related programme in DD sometime in 1996. I didn’t get to watch it after they moved to Star and later grew big on their own, though I was checking out their website from time to time. After a long while, it is good to see some old faces like Sreenivasan Jain, Maya Sharma etc still hanging around now. But it is also disappointing to see that the quality of presentation is several notches lower than what it used to be in its earlier days. I haven’t watched it long now to judge how unbiased they are in terms of political coverage, but it did disturb me to see Prannoy hand over the NDTV Indian of the Year – 2005 trophy to Sonia Gandhi. You too, Prannoy?

Straight from the Heart

Straight from the Heart – this is the name of Kapil Dev’s autobiography. When I bought the book at Chennai Airport last time, I didn’t expect to find any literary treasure inside the book. I bought it for the sheer pleasure of reading about my icon of several years and the book lives up to my expecations. Only just.

One thing that is very true about the book is its title. Kapil has used the book for conveying what he wanted to in his own way. Paaji doesn’t seem to bother about the niceties as he freely uses the terms like ‘gora’, ‘white man’ etc. While pooh-poohing gossips about his reported differences with Gavaskar, Kapil does mention about few incidents where both of them looked in different directions. Also, he doesn’t care a damn about jumping from the narration of some event to other and that made me feel that I am talking to the person rather than reading a book. Quite expectedly, the book also has his views on match fixing episode & more particularly Manoj Prabhakar. While the contents are good enough, they should have been a bit more organised.

Everyone is aware that Kapil’s English is only as good as mine. While that is the case, he should have evaluated his editor before handing him the responsibility of publishing the book. But, like his batting – I think Paaji rushed a bit in deciding the publisher. As per the foreword, the editor recorded in a tape whatever Kapil has to say and the rest of the job was done by the publishing team. I would rate the “rest of the job” as a very poor one with appalling spelling mistakes like ‘Jaunty Rhodes’ etc. Buy the book only if you are a hard core Kapil fan like me.

Anyways, Happy Birthday Paaji.

How to earn Million Dollars using your brain

It is often the simplest of the ideas that changes the picture altogether. Quite literally so. Can you believe that a simple idea of selling a pixel of your screen could fetch you more than million dollars and big fame. Sounds crazy? Check it out for yourself at the Million Dollar Homepage.

hmm.. even I have a home page. But what matters is the brain. 🙂

eBay

Visited the local bookshop to checkout the half price sale and was quite a bit surprised to find about 15+ books on eBay titled “how to make profits from eBay”, “eBay for dummies”, “Getting the most out of eBay” etc. I have traded in eBay in the past and to me, it is a great site that lets you conveniently buy/sell stuff. But obviously, there seems to be much more to it than what I had thought. One of the KRAs for 2006 would be to explore that area. Any pointers, any one?