Friday, March 23, 2007

Browsing the Web, their way!

I just happened to be gazing at nothingness for a while now thinking about why and who decides how one can browse through the net. If you dont understand me yet, then you are doing well, dont lose hope yet! What I am talking about is how browsers save your tree of visited links, a history of browsing - to help you go back and forth. You can choose "back" to go back to the link where you came from and choose "forward" to come back to where you started. Now the oddity is you go back and "branch" to another link, you cant come back to where you started! Well... you just cant get "Back to the Future", can you??!! It looks like time has passed while you were in the past and your future is erased! Welcome to the present!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Beethoven's sixth sense!

Beethoven, a musical genius! and I wont say more because all of my creative words will do no ounce of justice to the great that he was, is, and will always be! To think and live through multiple threads of melody from different instruments when all in a symphony evokes the deepest emotions is hard enough, and to do it when you are almost deaf is... "Bethoven"!
Listen to my favorite Beethoven's symphony - the romantic 6th performed by a veteran conductor Karajan (thanks to YouTube). It has the typical four movements but the best part is it has his experiment with programmatic music that beautifully evokes emotions (especially the first movement)!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Redesigned template

Ok, so google has at last added some what you can call cool new features to the much neglected I realized it when I tried to change the blog template and I accidentally erased all my previous customizations - thanks to the ubiquitous "warning" dialog that we are all so used to blindly clicking 'ok'! I dont understand why blogger cant save the old structure. After my anger died down, slowly I crawled at sewing the bits and pieces of my old structure I had in mind. And in the process explored some new features of template customization, most of which can be achieved using mouse clicks but you also have the option to hand edit the template. My knowledge of XHTML is not great, but the beauty of XML is how much one can guess and learn from its structure without ever opening "XHTML for dummies"! So there... I hope you like the new content here, especially the new RSS feeds...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Five months of hibernation

Hmmm... feels like waking up from a long night of uninterrupted sleep. The last few months of hibernation have been quite a journey of troubles and triumphs, failed actions and perseverance, of lightning strikes and eclipses, new thoughts and nostalgia, of acceptance and fight... of laughter and despair. And the journey of life continues with new dreams... hope to continue to pen a piece of my mind here as I face clear skies and new storms...

Monday, October 02, 2006

Mediocre mentality

A lot is said about the mediocre mentality in India. They say quality sense is absent, there is no attention to detail etc. Comments like these come from none other than our own people. I cant blame them. But I'd like to know why this accusation is landing on the very same people who designed an organized language like Sanskrit. People who knew quality methods of agriculture and cultivation when much of the world was still hunting. People who brought out the temple architecture - with a distinct flavor of sculpting in each part of the country. The carving of facial expressions, the beading of stone rings (found in Sringeri) - if thats not quality and attention to detail I dont know what is. But why are we still mediocre?

Well, I think mediocrity crept in during the post independence period. Its amazing how economics can affect the attitude of masses. Take for instance, the economic theory adopted by Nehru that encouraged monopoly in every area. With monopoly there couldnt have been innovation - both the public sector and private monopolised in their areas. Without the much needed innovation there couldnt have been quality. The post independence generation were consistently exposed to low quality high cost products forcing them to believe India cannot produce high quality products. Not to mention the other side effect it had on people - get a government job and get paid salary regardless of performance and a hefty pension after retirement. Absolutely no competition!

Other post-independence government policies also affected the attitude - reservation encouraged only mediocrity. Trade unionism also made sure that people were averaged than distinguished. No incentive to perform, no need for innovation, no improvization, no expectation only meant degradation of quality. In fact a similar thing happened in China, only difference was the way it was reversed by the communist govt. With coalition politics in India, such a reversal is indeed just a hope.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Configured wifi on Fedora

I finally succeeded in configuring the wifi driver for my netgear pc card a fortnight ago. Since then I also downloaded and configured some new windows look-alike fonts, some browsers, a movie player etc...! Everythingz fine now except the graphics - windows graphics looks far superior on the same lcd... dunno if thats the best linux can perform - am trying to tweak the X server installation. I also want to replace my ATI video card with a better one...

PS: For some reason I am unable to publish this blog from linux - I dont think its the browser, I tried firefox, mozilla and netscape. publishing from windows for now ;)...

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Encouraging efficiency

The IIMs are in the news again. And yet again for reasons not related to their excellence, but related to government interference. When will the fat political outfit get any sense into their minds? The IIMA's placement services will now come under the service tax net. Why? Because its easy for politicians to tax the efficiency in the premier educational institutions. When IIMs proposed to increase the fee structure to improve facilities and educational standards of one of world's most prestigious institutions, the stupid government had to put its foot down against it for reasons of affordability by the poor (which in itself is because of the government's other policies!). They want some useless ministry to monitor the profits and earnings of the institution (for lack of any better work to do). The education ministry has done nothing to promote education in urban areas, forget rural ones. But when it comes to taxing, no stone will be left unturned. The thugs are thinking of reservation in private companies, control in private and public supported institutions of any kind and now, tax the placement services of IIMs. Wah!! When Karnataka and Maharashtra attract foreign investment and bring in more money in taxes, the central government gives as grants to states such as Bihar for a laloo to fund his scams. Less productive states get more grants because they are "poor". They are not poor - they are only poorly and disgustingly managed. Show me one policy that rewards high productivity and efficiency?

The IIMs have long enjoyed the autonomy and autonomy has been the pivotal reason for their success not just as a premier institute but also as a great incubator to some of India's best managed rural businesses. The IIMs are run like efficient business houses, with a lot of collaboration from universities and industries both at home and abroad. The 21st century has brought in technology that has unprecedented ramifications in the education sector. However it takes careful investment in the right technologies to sustain the premier status of these institutes. They have to continually think about new ways to fund their activities. If the cost of business education in the US is any indicator, we know how the IIMs are struggling to keep pace while being haggled by the government. Besides, most of the placement service charges the institutes collect are spent on arranging the interviews, the facilities such as overhead projectors, printing scanning and other equipment. However, the companies may pay a higher gratuity (meaning extra) for having the luxury of handpicking their apprentices and for the institute's premier status. If this money is well spent on advancing the institutes fundamental agenda, I see the service tax as just a low hanging fruit for the government. Besides its not that they are not going to mop up millions from that, are they? While local private colleges are running scams by accepting huge sums of money supposedly meant for infrastructure, but misappropriated elsewhere, an efficiently run institute gets the axe for performing. Welcome home!