Thursday, December 23, 2010

A window thats seen many years and a plant thats seen a few: Photograph

Some photographs are best black and white and this was one of them - This is in old Bombay near Chowpatti

A window that has seen many years
.... and a plant thats seen a few

I had just charcoaled the picture except the window/plant.

For those who want the original pic it is here

Babulnath Mumbai Blog post earlier

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

My new Chinese Tablet - The A Pad Eken M002: A review and my experience

I was scouting for book reader and came across this M002 Eken A-Pad - Chinese equivalent similar to an iPAD.

This was among the many firsts for me -
1. Touch screen - I found that the screen was not as responsive as the iPod or the iPAD. In fact , it is quite hard. Fortunately, I do not use it for gaming - mostly for reading books and seeing pictures/movies
2. Android - I like it as it is free (as in Beer) and runs several apps - most of all I liked the app market
3. Book reading - I found this 500+Mhz processor more than sufficient for most book reading. I thinks its great as a book reader as the page turning effort is close to  physical paper (Not as slick as a iPAD) and the speed is just right

Top things to do when you start with your tablet
1. Install firmware upgrade from thee site - worked fine for me and really helped (1) Movies ran only after the update (The small ones ran even before but a 2 hr movie ran only after the upgrade) (2) The screen seemed more responsive after the upgrade (3) Booted faster
2. Install aldiko book reader
3. Setup the language properly and also the locale settings - this stuff comes with Chinese or some other language as default
4. Remove crappy apps to make it faster
5. The app market does not run properly - you may be better off downloading apk files and installing them
6. Get a high GB micro SD card to load once and for all
7. Switch off wifi when not browsing to improve battery life
8. Play around with the touch screen calibration to improve the touch-performance and also help in scrolling
9. Get loads of books loaded to start getting RoI on this book
10. Learn how to put a nice scratch gaurd - you will touch it with greasy hands and will need to wipe it often.

1. Screen - obviously not suited for gaming
2. Wireless - drops often and cant pick signal as well as a laptop
3. Slow - cant game - even movies and pictures take time to respond
4. Booting - sometimes reboots without info if you run crazy apps
5. Camera - sucks but who needs it anyways

1,2,3,4 - Price, Price, Price, Price
5. Good as a book reader
6. Great aspect ration and looks really sexy when carried around (until you switch it on and show of the performance on intense apps)

Here are some great videos/pics/resources
2. Firmware update -

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Read: Clue of the silken ladder - Penny Parker Mysteries - Mildred A Wirt

Reading this for the first time - though I have read Nancy Drew earlier - which is also by the same author

I was so surprised that this book is of 1941 Vintage and still interesting. Its out of copyright and is available in Project Gutenberg for free

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Friday, December 3, 2010

Book: Mahabharata by Rajagopalachari

First time I seem to have enjoyed and read the Mahabharata by Rajagopalachari - what a story teller!!!

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Irrational buying behavior : Gold ornaments , Dresses and Cars (and married men!)

I recently went shopping for a gold necklace with my wife. We spent 2 days and about 8 hrs deciding what to buy (and of course 3 shops) - Rs 113000 (thats about 14000 per hour invested)

I went shopping for my car - 3~5 days of internet research ~ 48 hrs of research and test drives. Cost 5 Lakhs (Thats about an investment of 1 hr for every Rs. 10000)

I went shopping for Sarees with my mother and wife and took about 4 hrs - cost Rs. 22000 (Thats about Rs 5500 per hour)

Lets take stock after 2 years  -
gold has doubled (going by last 2 years trend) - annual depletion as % of original value - -100% per year
car is 3 lakhs or depletion is 1 lakh per year or 20% per year
saree - probably Rs 200 or 90% in 2 years but still 90% per year (as it is worth the same across years)

Lets tabulate the results
intensiveness (Rs/hr)
Value loss per
Gold 14000 -100%
Car 10000 20%
Sarees /Dresses 5500 90%

Why do people still spend so much time on Gold purchase (or house purchase) when they need not ? My case rests for ETFs - Gold is best bought as Exchange traded funds (But then... its the same as the (irrational) reason for getting married and and then they do several more irrational decisions to support their first one!!!)

Case rests...

Here is an interesting article about how men behave (like chimps) in reducing loss rather that increasing success and why it leads to irrational buying behaviour

Well this book should be re-labelled as Dummies for Dummies!


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Friday, November 19, 2010

A mathematical model: Why are large organizations slow to change and how to make them faster


Recently, in a meeting, a person mentioned that the organizations are like a sliced pizza. Each slice a function or a business. We were discussing change management and he said that any change that cuts across all the groups (of a delta r) would have a change impact of r-squared.

Not quite, as I thought about the problem he had made a mistake, the impact is more 2*pi*r*delta r. However, the mistake was not quite as important as the corollary on organizational change management.

A large organization is like a large pizza. Trying to make a change is directly proportional to the size of the organization (2*r*delta r where r is representative of size). Well, it is mathematically proven that elephants can't dance.....

Well, while we discussed the same, we were also quoting the example of a smaller BU that had implemented the same change and was very successful. Mathematically, all that the BU had done was to reduce 'r' and hence made it easier to provide the 2*r*delta r change!!!

While it looks simplistic and too obvious, its rather rare that a lack-lustre meeting with an analogy can provide this practical insight! (Its also shows that meetings close to lunch time can provide better time for introspection!)

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Vidya Mandir School Project Day Play 2010

The feathered friends was the title of the Vidya Mandir School Project Day (Mylapore Luz VM). It was a fun trip down the mermory lane for me.... I still remembered the enthu we used to have to explain the charts to innocent bystanders!

Look at the fantastic color (and VMs classic childlike amateur and homely) production... after all in a school dance drama it is the enthu that counts to produce results like these - not the stage , the speakers or the equipment.

The videos are in three parts (about 1 minute each and my son is in the 3rd part!)

(Well this was shot in the 4 PM show which was the 4th for the day and the kids were quite tired)

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Calcutta: Stuck in the past but still so beautiful : A photo story of it uniqueness as I saw it

These pictures were taken on a brief visit to Calcutta and Champadanga. There are so many things that make Calcutta CALCUTTA. Just captured a few on my trip

The sun is setting on Champadanga, but.....

From Calcutta

 but Kali maa is invoked to protect it
From Calcutta

This place is struck in the past, but....
From Calcutta

But it has this modern Chinese powered vehicle too!
From Calcutta

All the same the place is so beautiful with lush undergrowth and ponds for each house!
From Calcutta

From Calcutta

From Calcutta

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Photography Tip: How to correct if the object is dark and the background too bright using Photoshop

Very often when we take a photograph (typically a closeup) ,the object is underexposed and the background is too bright. A common solution suggested by many is to use a fill flash

I find that the fill flash restricts aperture or shutter speed (if inbuilt) and the pictures turn out over exposed.

I have kind of optimized on taking the shot without the flash and then using the Histogram tool.

Click on Adjustments > Curves > Increase the lower levels (See Picture)

The impact of this transformation on this picture is show below
After using Adobe Photoshop


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Thursday, November 11, 2010

A practical 3 step approach to kicking off programs in different Business Units (BUs)

Okay, your company has committed to a PMO and has agreed formally or informally to the overhead. Having implemented in a BU, senior leadership is finding it useful and wants to rapidly expand the matrix organization.

Programs are kicked in different BUs and PMO is asked to sync them up and run them up to a common process. While the tactics may vary  from organization to organization (As there are different types of PMOs) , my experience is that it is possible to classify actions into just 3 broad steps

1. Setup Governance
2. Establish Teaming
3. Sign-off on portfolio/program scope [Not the project scope which is usually part of the Project itself]

What do I mean by this?
1. Setup governance - Getting the sponsor and resource managers to agree about project objectives and agree to review the same (together is important). Setting up a chair to resolve conflict if there is disagreement and agree on time commitments/schedules for reviews

2. Establish Teaming - Getting atleast the PM nominated (who will then estimate and track resources)

3. Sign-off on program scope - especially important as there will be a lot which will not be covered in the first pilot . Important to say what will not be in the new process

While there is a lot of verbose documentation on how to setup programs and follow a standard process, I feel that this is a kind of jumpstart guide (3 steps) to PMO nirvana rather than stall and run in circles in a large organization. Communicating this to executive management and getting their buy in is also easier.(Most of it is their intervention in these tasks)

References of some links on PMO setup (Talks of a parts but not quite the steps)

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Telugu Name (and Initials) Generator

We have all seen those long telugu names PVSN Rao, LVLN Sriram, PGVSSR Sastri. Having seen this, I feel it is possible to generate Telugu names. Please do suggest some more names to make this generator complete

Initial 1
  • Potti
  • Pota
  • Pubba
  • Potha
  • Gade
  • Golla
Initial 2
  • (Always)Venkata
Initial 3
  • (Usually)Sathya
Initial 4
  • Ramiah
  • Subbiah
  • Sreerama
  • Subba
Initial 5
  • Rao
  • Sastry
  • (or) i ending names (Kesineni / Dasari et al)
  • Naidu
Some points to note
  • A common point is that these penta/Hexa initialled names usually have a common V or an S.
  • Just in case this 11756 (26^3) names falls short (pun intended)[Not 11.8 Million as V and S are common], you may prefix village names such as Khammam, Cudappah
  • Just for personal aggrandizement you may also add Veera, Bahadur as prefix
  • Given that a lot of Telugu speaking people are in US, the western influence coupled with an increasing population may lead to overlap of 2 people having the same COMMON and SIMPLE name such as PKVSMP Rao, in which case they may start suffixing it with numbers. Example PKVSMP Rao IIs grandson-in-law PKVSMP Rao IV [After all most Telugu speaking people are renowned for their prowess with numbers]


Having written this name Generator I remembered this famous Bond Joke (Reproduced for easy reference)


On a flight James bond was sitting next to a Telugu guy.

Telugu Guy: "Hello, May I know your name please?"
James Bond: "My name is Bond" Continuing in his inimitable style,
"......James Bond."

Then Bond asks: "And you?"
Telugu Guy: " My name is Rao...
Siva Rao...
Samba Siva Rao...
Venkata Samba Siva Rao...
Yarlagadda Venkata Samba Siva Rao...
Rajasekhara Yarlagadda Venkata Samba Siva Rao...
Sitaramanjaneyula Rajasekhara Yarlagadda Venkata Samba Siva Rao...
Vijayawada Sitaramanjaneyula Rajasekhara Yarlagadda Venkata Samba Siva

Warning: No offence meant to people who may have been mentioned inadvertently using this generator as examples.

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Srirangapatna (Mysore) - Part 2 of 2

The second part of Srirangapatna is the Tipus gardens and palaces. Tipus summer palace Daria Daulat Bagh is a place to visit. Surprisingly, it is very well maintained! The place charges an entry fee of just Rs. 5 for adults (probably because it is maintained by the archeological survey of India)

Here are some pics I took

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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Srirangapatna (Mysore) - Part 1 of 2

Srirangapatna was Tipus capital and is a nice place about 20kms from Mysore. There are 2 places to visit - the Ranganathaswamy temple and the palace/tomb of Tipu Sultan. I visited this place during the Mysore Dasara festival 2010.

Part 1 - Ranganathaswamy temple

The ranganathaswamy temple is located on the right when you come on the Mysore Bangalore SH-17 highway from Mysore. You will see a large board welcoming you to Srirangapatna - heritage town. It belongs to Mandya district but is closer to Mysore.

The temple has Vishnu in a reclining pose similar to Srirangam (Trichy). I got a couple of photographs below

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Gopuram Inside
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Well maintained lawns in the side of the temple
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At the entrance - my kids were sitting here riding these stone elephants!
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Intricate carvings
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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mysore palace lighting during Dasara

The whole Mysore city was actually lit up during the Dasara festival. We were unable to park it anywhere near the palace, but I still managed a few photographs around the palace from the Innova we were travelling in.

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Chamundi Hills in Mysore during Dasara Festival (and also the bull temple)

The Chamundeswari Temple located near Bangalore is about 30 mins drive up a short hillock near Mysore.

We went during Dasara and here is a short photo essay.
Chamundeswari Temple entrance
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I have a unique view of the Bull at the temple.
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There was also a band playing folk music at the Chamundi hills (outside the temple).

A regular view - look at the size of the bull statue
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A view of mysore from Chamundi Hills
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A view of the temple - see the lights for Dasara festival
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Cow at the temple
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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Brindavan Gardens and Krishnaraja Sagar Dam: Travelogue and Photo essay

The Brindavan gardens are about 30 kms from the Mysore city and takes about 30~40 mins. They are located at the Krishnaraja Sagar dam.

We went at 4:30 PM during Dasara. Generally, there is a musical fountain and a show at around 6:30 PM. It used to be a great show but now there are several such fountains and its kind of lost its charm.

It is best to go a little early and you have to cross a long bridge or go in a boat to the musical fountain. We skipped it as we were with a small children. The garden itself is a good place for hanging out though it was very crowded due to Dasara season in Mysore.

I have taken a few photos of the dam arounf twilight hour and they are quite beautiful.

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