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Placebo Actions

Flickr Image courtesy Mr. Conguito How many of you know that the close buttons don’t close the elevator doors in most elevators built in the United States or that buttons below the signal at crosswalks "meant" for people to trigger the signal change are mostly all disabled! [ Source ] Well - I just realized that there are several actions we do which are also such "placebo" actions. One example is pressing a "Ctrl + Home" or "Ctrl+End" on a browser. Pressing the Control key makes sense only in either a Word Processing software like MS word or when you are typing inside a textarea (like composing a mail etc.) wherein pressing a "Home" key will take you to the beginning of the line you are typing in while pressing a "Ctrl+ Home" will take you to the beginning of the document / text. However, when we are browsing a webpage on a browser - there is absolutely no reason to press the Control key because either ways pressing &qu

Practice means Freedom!

Photo by Flickr user lrargerich  I am sure all of us are taught the virtues of practice in Childhood - most often "Practice Makes a man perfect" or familiar Kabir's doha: करत करत अभ्यास के, जड़मति होत सुजान   रसरी आवत जात ते, सिल पर पड़त निसान We are taught to rote the mathematical multiplication tables or to mug up nursery rhymes ... the list is endless. And we all HATE IT! Even as we grow up we start disdaining and condemning the method of rote which is perpetuated across the educational system. However, secretly we all know that we benefit somewhere from some of the rote we did. When you secretly calculate the percentage of your increment or the approximate EMI required to fund the next investment we remember our math tables. Yesterday, as I was watching Mtv Unplugged , I realized one more advantage of practicing any activity or art. As I watched the guitarist or the tabla player play their instrument so effortlessly and then experiment with it during the eve

How the Cloud is transforming IT departments

Image Credit:  Kevin Dooley via flickr The Cloud is often considered an amalgamated progression of web2.0 (SaaS) and virtualization technologies(IaaS) - which it indeed is! However, the emergence of Cloud Computing also draws from a organizational shift in IT departments - from in-sourced to outsourced. What started in IT depts as routine maintenance outsourcing is now taking shape in form of the Cloud which promises to not just outsource routine operations but everything including financial management (move from  Capex to Opex ) of IT infrastructure owned by the company. As the organizational structure shifts from in-sourced IT to the Cloud - it impacts the role of the CIO, which has been a much talked about topic. However, what has not been talk about much is how the Cloud will impact the rest of the IT department and the roles of techies in it. To understand the impending metamorphosis - we need to understand the existing position of the IT department. Across organization

The most exciting period of Computing!

[Warning: Suited for techies and tech enthusiasts; others may find it boring] I was talking to one of the new joiners at our firm today - we were talking about a client using Sun's hardware for a project when he asked why Sun ran only Solaris and no other OS - I started to explain him that Solaris was actually a Unix variant when the conversation turned to free software, Linux etc. and generally into  the lineage of operating systems, the history of modern computing etc. During our brief chat I realized that for most of us post-90's generation, the seeming "excitement" times in computing were either the mid-90's when Linux and GNU/ FSF grew or it was even later when Web2.0, Software as a Service etc grew. But I think the most exciting times for the computing industry when the real "pirates" swarmed the industry was the period of 60s / 70s when the foundation of the personal computing world was being laid. The foundation of personal computing - unlik

In Memory of Steve Jobs

I read through this awesome interview with Steve Jobs taken way back in 1995 before he created the second revolution of his life (iPod et al). While each section of the interview is breathtakingly awesome, I wanted to reiterate some gems specifically, hence quoting them here. For the whole interview transcript go to this URL 1. ...a lot of people come to me and say "I want to be an entrepreneur". And I go "Oh that's great, what's your idea?". And they say "I don't have one yet". And I say " I think you should go get a job as a busboy or something until you find something you're really passionate about because it's a lot of work ". I'm convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance. It is so hard. You put so much of your life into this thing. There are such rough moments in time that I

Management Is

Management  = Art + Science Management is the Science of converting business activities into measurable inputs and the art of converting management theories into mathematical equations (read: business models), in order to predict outputs of such activities with reasonable accuracy and reliability. Management is application of scientific methods to business situations. Management in all business and organizational activities is the act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives using available resources efficiently and effectively. Management is the process of dealing with or controlling things or people Management is finding a convoluted way of arriving at the same results which otherwise can be arrived by heuristic capabilities of experienced professionals. Management is the art of faffing so as to make 'hunches' look like scientifically derived results. Management is the art of (mis)leading the workforce into believing that there is a

Why is UK Burning?

This discussion on Facebook got me thinking - are the riots in UK a result of simply unemployment or immigration of unskilled labour? I think the answer is not so simple. Let's look at the facts: It isn't the immigrant labour force which is engaged in rioting. A lot of rioters are 15-18 year old natives of the UK - born and brought up in the UK. Born to parents who themselves were NOT immigrants but locals. A lot of those who claim they are unemployed and can't make ends meet are also those who often "refuse" to work.  I think what we are seeing in the UK is a combined result of bad educational set up and uncontrolled immigration of skilled as well as unskilled labour. The educational set up in UK has lost its synchronization with the demands that its local economy makes of it. Universities churn number of students who are qualified in subjects which have no practical use in the real world. This isn't very dissimilar with the set up in India in the 197

Why aren't companies honest about their Cloud Capabilities?

Reader Alert : Controversial and based on non-verifiable facts As a part of my day job, I often interact with vendors - IT service providers, equipment manufacturers, software / middleware providers, and even consultants like me. Ever since the market for Cloud based services has opened up (sometime since 2009) - vendors across the board have come up with their variation of Cloud services. As I explore more and more Cloud products on the ground - I find that vendors are mostly rehashing old products and technologies under the Cloud label. Well, this isn't surprising because the Cloud is not something completely new. As I have previously written , the Cloud is just an evolution over Web2.0. However, what concerns me is that vendors are brazen enough to go to market without even making the minimum necessary changes to these products before they can be labelled as 'Cloud'. Simply rehashing the packaging and some time not even that. Let me elaborate - true that if you a

Yahoo Groups Spam

In the last few days, I am getting a lot of spam from YahooGroups. Spamsters have found a simple way of spamming: create a group, add people's email addresses to the group suo-motto! The spamsters are so brazen to create group names which look Spam in the first look. This is not so much trouble than being an irritant, because as soon as I see the invite, I quickly go to the group and "leave" it. But thanks to the cumbersome process flow of Yahoogroups, to do this, I have to spend at least 4 clicks to do this. Go to YahooGroups Home → Click Manage Groups → Browse to the concerned Spam Group  → Click 'Set Profile'  → Click Edit Membership  → Click Leave Group. And this is assuming you are a seasoned YGroups user who knows his/her way around (folks like me)! Though the simplest way is to unsubscribe by replying to the 'add' mail; but the on-screen process can be simplified by providing a "Leave Group" button on the Manage Groups page itself.

My latest phone

My track record of buying new phones is not very aggressive but not too dull as well. I  last bought  my HTC P3000 in late 2008 and my latest phone is the Blackberry torch which I bought in March this year. In fact, it was bought by Shubham for me from the US. As yet I am quite liking the phone - blackberry's app ecosystem may not be as  ecstatic as Apple or as explosive as Android but its a good mix. I have downloaded a couple of apps mostly for quick updates from social networks, email client for GMail, news updates from sites like ndtv, bookmyshow app for movie ticket booking and stuff like Google Maps and Waze. I think blackberry is a good option if you are one of those office users of phone as you get a good mix of social apps and office email (which is the core functionality) together.