Know Everything!

stock-vector-jack-king-queen-of-spades-vector-28951519When I was doing my undergraduate I was used to be regularly questioned by my friends on my interests in information technologies being a Chemical Engineer. I used to reply back stating that I am trying to find a link between the two. Though at that time my interests were not really based on what I claimed, I found my job requiring skills in both the areas and hence helping me perform better.

Today I find knowledge of ‘finance’, ‘history’, ‘psychology’ and ‘economics’ are essential to move up. Many technical people want to stay focused in their areas of interest which are mostly very narrow and expect to gain expertise in that field. But the whole idea can be challenged. Lack of knowledge in subject areas which seem totally unrelated can be a hurdle to professional growth even on technical areas of focus.

Knowledge of ‘history’ and ‘culture’ is very important to understand why your counterpart in an overseas affiliate behaves differently, knowledge of ‘finance’ is very essential to understand why and how top management decisions are made, knowing ‘psychology’ can help handle your sub ordinates better. Applying technical judgments in business world will fail miserably. Many technical people feel decisions are forced upon them because they fail to understand business needs and in a globalized environment they feel deserted when they fail to understand the history, culture and psychology of their colleagues.

Even technically many people want to ‘focus’ their expertise only on certain technical areas. Either they consider other areas not as challenging as their areas of expertise or they feel even their focus area is too much for their lifetime. And even to reason this behavior, knowledge of Indian culture and psychology is important. In Indian society ‘engineering’ enjoys higher status as compared to basic sciences, literature… And if you apply some ‘statistics’ you will find that this is purely linked to the higher average pay engineering graduates enjoy. Whether the JOBS really do any ‘engineering’ is a BIG QUESTION! I personally felt science more challenging and difficult than engineering. And today when I read the ‘history’ of ‘science’ itself it is difficult to make judgments on the validity of engineering we are doing now which are again based on science.

From childhood this idea has been drummed into us again and again: stay focused, jack of all trade makes king of none etc.. It might be true if our objectives are broader considering our lifespan on earth. Pathetically these objectives are too narrow or too ‘technical’ that it prevents achieve these objectives. Most of the seemingly unrelated subjects are highly correlated and technologies have very small lifespan. Hence to be successful it is essential to ‘KNOW EVRYTHING’

Note: The word ‘technical’ is not used with the right meaning in this blog. Even I was stamped non-technical by few people. To them technical is IT and rest of the world is non-technical 🙂

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Endhiran – Tamil Cinema 2.0 : DOT!

image ‘Where there is a will there is a way’ – Applies to Endhiran and also getting a ticket to Endhiran on second day of release. Getting a ticket to Endhiran itself was an experience. Having never planned to buy a ticket and searching for the ticket on second day of release for evening show is real madness. With all the media hype pre and post release it is near impossible to book a ticket online. But to our (Me and Priya) luck we found 2 tickets at INOX Jayanagar. We were appreciating our luck without common sense. Oops! No matter how many times we tried that ticket could never be booked. We drove to the theatre to find out if these tickets could be released for us. To our surprise we found a dozen people complaining about the locked tickets and get them issued to them. They were complaining several issues including the jammed INOX website and SMS booking. It was easier for INOX management to complain the Ayodhya verdict for the issues they were facing with online and sms booking.

We called the manager and told him that the ticket got blocked because of us and asked him to release the tickets to us. After several arguments he insisted to come 2 hrs before show when he will have the authority to release the blocked tickets. I left my mobile number with him. We came 2 hrs earlier to the show just to find that the manager was having problems releasing the tickets. Then came in one gentlemen with a bundle of tickets (around 10) as his plan for watching the movie with his friends got cancelled. People surrounded him like a swarm of bees but we managed to get two tickets to the evening show.

We entered the cinema hall at last. When you watch a movie or review them, especially when they are Indian and Rajinikanth’s there are few things you need to switch off (Logical Analysis and Common Sense). A film is meant for entertainment and purely entertainment. It would be your mistake if you try to apply the laws of the physical world.

Having known tamil cinema one would be curious to know how certain contrasting features were matched (Science Fiction and Masala, Scientist and Rajini, Rajini and Aishwarya). Kudos to director Shankar. The film goes so well that you never think about these till the end of the film. First the movie is not a normal Rajini movie as one would expect. It is a different experience, a Hollywood movie with Indian masala flavor. It is purely an evolution of Tamil Cinema taking it to the next level as in one of the very few punch dialogues in the film (Upgraded Version 2.0). But it is difficult to match with first grade Hollywood movies as seen in many reviews. The special effects are superb for Tamil movies but not without flaws. The stunt scenes in the train are excellent. The climax action scenes are good but exhausting. If something is very bad about the movie it is the editing. One could judge well ahead if a song is about to begin and which song would that be. For a film at this budget poor editing can no way be justified. The song sequences do not go along with the movie. The BGM is not noticeable and is poor.

With all its flaws Endhiran is still superb. With a three year waiting and huge expectations it would be really a challenge. It still impresses for all the hard work, the constraints of Tamil Cinema, the performance of a sixty year old man, the dreams of director Shankar, the vision of Kalanidhi Maran. It has given a message, A movie at this budget is commercially viable and could be made successful. It is has opened the gate for a new breed of Indian movies.

It has also proved that piracy is not a constraint for a good movie to be successful. I still remember when I paid 15 SGD in Singapore for Sivaji none of my non Indian colleagues believed as by the rule and by their experience no movie ticket can cost beyond 10 SGD. And for Endhiran I have legally paid something near by that price. DOT!

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The Google Threat

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If you have watched movies like Die Hard 4.0 or War Games you can potentially know how much can be done with information on centralized systems. Though the themes of these movies are fiction, reality is quite close or even worse.

Consider the amount of information Google has. They have an awful lot of data. They record everything. They have your IP address, your search requests, the contents of every e-mail you’ve ever sent or received. They know the news you read, the places you go.  They’re even collecting real-time GPS location and DNS look-ups. They cache web pages, have history of pages that don’t even exist currently. They know who you friends are, where you live, where you work, where you are spending your free time. They know about your health, your love life, your political leanings. ‘They even know what you are thinking about’ – quotes Marlinspike

While it is being claimed that IP addresses is kept for 18 months and anonymized immediately, privacy experts have alleged that even with anonymized user data, where bits of the IP address are changed or deleted, it is still relatively easy to correlate those addresses with user cookies to get a lock on a search engine query author’s identity.

I was myself surprised to see that Google web history not only records what I search but also what I browse. With it wide rage of services and rising popularity Google will be set to have more information about the whole world than sum of other organizations put together. While Google is an organization people trust, security of its systems especially from Chinese hackers is a big question?

Ref: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/security/google-even-knows-what-youre-thinking/6291

 

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India’s gateway to Internet

During a casual discussion with friends I was imagining how Governments are able to block web content. During my visits to countries abroad I was frequented by government notifications stating the site visited is banned (worse was that even Google apps was banned), but not such a single website was showing such notification in India. Curious to know I googled it to find such ones.

Indeed Government of India has its own short list of banned sites with its 13th July 2006 circular.

  1. http://www.soniamaino.com/ not working since Aug 25, 2006
  2. http://www.hinduunity.org
  3. http://mypetjawa.mu.nu
  4. http://pajamaeditors.blogspot.com
  5. http://exposingtheleft.blogspot.com
  6. http://thepiratescove.us
  7. http://commonfolkcommonsense.blogspot.com
  8. http://bamapachyderm.com
  9. http://princesskimberley.blogspot.com
  10. http://merrimusings.typepad.com
  11. http://mackers-world.com
  12. http://www.dalitstan.org
  13. http://hinduhumanrights.org/hindufocus.html
  14. http://nndh.com http://bloodroyaltriped.com
  15. http://imagessearchyahoo.com (should probably be http://image.search.yahoo.com)
  16. http://imamali8.com
  17. http://rahulyadav.com

These websites could not be accessed but however no notifications came up. The following message came up on a chrome browser.

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It seems the system of blocking is not without loop holes. The cached copy of page from Google gives latest updates of the website. One such blog with banned in India can be seen below.

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I was also curious to know how internet is brought to India and how many gateways the Government should control to censor web content. While I imagined several gateways there are only  eight gateways (called landing stations) that connects India to the world of internet.

  

  1. SMW3w : Stands for  South East Asia – Middle East – Western Europe this cable connects Western Europe, Middle East and South east Asia. There are a total of 39 landing points through the cable’s journey and it touches India at Mumbai first and connects the rest of Asia through Cochin. The landing station in Mumbai is owned by VSNL/Tata.
  2. SMW4 : Stands for South East Asia – Middle East – Western Europe, this cable connects Western Europe, Middle East and South east Asia. It has around 17 landing points and touches India in Mumbai and Chennai. Landing station in Mumbai is owned by VSNL/Tata and landing station in Chennai is owned by Bharti Airtel.
  3. SAFE : South Africa Far East Cable. This cable comes from Melkbossstrand in South Africa, linking Durban, Mauritius on the way to Cochin, India. Landing station in Cochin is owned by VSNL/Tata.
  4. FLAG : Stands for Fiber Optic Link Around the Globe. This cable runs through the Suez canal connecting middle east and touches India at Mumbai. The cable network is owned by FLAG Telecom which is bought by Reliance and is now a Reliance company. The landing station in Mumbai is owned by VSNL/Tata. From Mumbai the cable goes to  south east Asia.
  5. i2i : Airtel SIngtel joint venture company is responsible for this 3100 km long cable from Singapore to Chennai. The landing station is in Chennai. From Singapore it will connect to SEA-ME-WE 3 and APCN 2.
  6. TIC : Following the same route as i2i, TIC stands for  Tata Indicom India Singapore Cable. It  connects Chennai and Singapore. TIC is owned by VSNL with the landing station in Chennai. In Singapore the landing station is in Changi.  The cable is 3175 km long.
  7. Falcon : Europe-Middle East- India cable with landing station in Mumbai. The cable and the landing station is owned by Reliance.
  8. Indo-Sri Lanka Cable : Landing station is owned by BSNL and this cable connects Tuticorin and Colombo, Sri Lanka.

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and finally some stats

Note: The contents of this article are from various web sources. I have not done any research to verify the correctness of the information presented.

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India – Top Websites

Below is the list of top websites (Top 20) in India as per Alexa as queried today.

All websites are known but what surprised me is the IRCTC website on number 19!

  1. Google India

    google.co.in

    Indian version of this popular search engine. Search the whole web or only webpages from India. Interfaces offered in English, Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi and Tamil.

  2. Google

    google.com

    Enables users to search the Web, Usenet, and images. Features include PageRank, caching and translation of results, and an option to find similar pages. The company’s focus is developing search technology.

  3. Yahoo!

    yahoo.com

    Personalized content and search options. Chatrooms, free e-mail, clubs, and pager.

  4. Facebook

    facebook.com

    A social utility that connects people, to keep up with friends, upload photos, share links and videos.

  5. Orkut.co.in

    orkut.co.in

    orkut.co.in

  6. Blogger.com

    blogger.com

    Free, automated weblog publishing tool that sends updates to a site via FTP.

  7. YouTube

    youtube.com

    YouTube is a way to get your videos to the people who matter to you. Upload, tag and share your videos worldwide!

  8. Rediff.com India Ltd.

    rediff.com

    Online portal with free e-mail and many other services.

  9. Wikipedia

    wikipedia.org

    An online collaborative encyclopedia.

  10. Indiatimes

    indiatimes.com

    Portal site; includes news stories under subject headings, and links to other information sources.

  11. Twitter

    twitter.com

    Social networking and microblogging service utilising instant messaging, SMS or a web interface.

  12. Windows Live

    live.com

    Search engine from Microsoft.

  13. WordPress.com

    wordpress.com

    Free blogs managed by the developers of the WordPress software. Includes custom design templates, integrated statistics, automatic spam protection and other features.

  14. Microsoft Corporation

    microsoft.com

    Main site for product information, support, and news.

  15. Microsoft Network (MSN)

    msn.com

    Dialup access and content provider.

  16. RapidShare

    rapidshare.com

    Users can upload up to 100 meg files for sharing. Provides downloads of 100 megs per hour on the free service. Premium service also available.

  17. LinkedIn

    linkedin.com

    A networking tool to find connections to recommended job candidates, industry experts and business partners. Allows registered users to maintain a list of contact details of people they know and trust in business.

  18. IN.com

    in.com

    IN.com gives you a short @in.com email address, and lets you find the best of News, Music, Videos and Games, from more than 16,000 websites.

  19. Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation

    irctc.co.in

    Offers online rail ticket booking, and checking of ticket reservation status. Includes train schedules, availability of tickets, and a travel planner.

  20. Cricinfo

    cricinfo.com

    International cricket news, live scores, photos, columns and player profiles. Provides archive scorecards, statistics database, ratings and email newsletter. Part of ESPN International. UK.

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