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Facebook and Google are Apple and Microsoft of post-Web Tech rivalry

The Tech Geek world is quite dry and mundane to the outsider but for insiders this is filled with philosophical nuances and comparisons. In the recent years, Apple has become the cool company thanks to the iPod and iPad while Microsoft has lulled thanks to the development hell most of its products are going through. However, reverse to the 80s and early 90s - Apple and Microsoft were two icons of the Tech world competing with each other and yet not directly competing with each other thanks to the divergent philosophies adopted by them. Apple believed (and still believes) in tight integration between Hardware & Software while Microsoft believes in decoupling Software from Hardware. Macintosh computers differ from competing Windows systems in that a single company is responsible for both the operating system and the hardware on which it runs. Windows computers are made by dozens of different manufacturers, and Microsoft cannot control either the minimum baseline of the hardw

Work-Life Balance is more about one's own Ego than real work

Flickr photo by mohit_k For the past few days, I have been trying to analyze office situations - how people in authority (including myself at times) react, how subordinates react and how simple work situations often get complicated impacting personal lives of individuals. Of most interest is the matter of working on weekend. In the 24x7 corporate culture of today - weekends occupy a safe haven status. Infringement of time over weekends hence has most impact on the perception of work-life balance of people.* In my reading, work-life balance - especially that which requires people to work over weekends is more often a matter of personal egos than real importunity of work. Think of the many times you were forced to work on a weekend because you were tasked so much work on a Monday, with a targeted closure on a Friday, which you could not finish in 5 days time. And so, you had only two options (a) accept the blot of being 'incompetent' in front of your Boss (b) work over th

New cinema for the new India

There is no doubt that Indian society has transformed in the past 2 decades and our cinema has transformed along with it - everything has changed. Indian movies are nowadays technically far superior, editing and conceptualization of sets etc are good, and finally story lines are far more mature (though many of them still continue to be copies of Hollywood counterparts). Nevertheless, Indian cinema continues to differentiate itself from Hollywood in that its essence is closely influenced by human relations, beliefs and metaphysical constructs (religion, love The latest two movies I watched - Morya (in Marathi) and Kahani (Hindi)- reinforced my belief that Indian cinema is transforming itself while maintaining that differentiation with Hollywood. Morya portrays the rivalry between two chawls in Mumbai in organizing the local Ganesh pandal festival - illustrating how the festival which was conceptualized a public organization by Bal Gangadhar Tilak to unite people against

Inspired Living

Edison's Menlo Park Lab; flickr photo by roger4336 In the whole din of work-life balance which surrounds the corporate world today, professionals - especially young professionals - often loose the sense of real achievement. We often get confused about what exactly does success and achievement mean - is rising faster in the corporate ladder success, or is it doing meaningful work, or even more fundamentally is it about doing work enough to earn you a good "life"? The MBAish answer would be - it depends - depends on the kind of person you are, the kind of goals that satisfy your internal compass, the kind of success that matters to you most, your value system etc. But this answer is as good as the fact that ' the total universe is still finite '! A professional's moral compass or measure of success depends on the very system in which they live - if your company's leaders spend their night thinking about business and treat anyone who does not as &#

Does Facebook take serendipity out of your online experience?

While reading this article on RWW , I went to Mark Zuckerburg's Facebook profile and lo! I see all of my own contacts on that page as people who subscribed to Mark. What I was probably expecting to see on Mark's page was a list of his close friends, a few close facebook employees or industry veterans etc; not people whose status updates I anyway see on my Facebook stream every few hours.  It's true that seeing that some of my own Facebook friends follow Mark's stream means that I too would be tempted to follow Mark - in fact this is even more true if the page I was visiting for not a public figure like Mark but a mutual friend of a friend, whom I wouldn't follow / subscribe to otherwise. However, Facebook takes the concept of familiarity to a complete extreme. In fact, wherever I go on Facebook, my own network follows me closely. For example, I go to a new Facebook page through someone's recommendation appearing on my FB Stream, it is usually the s

Lavasa - for luxury or productivity?

Couple of weekend's ago I visited Lavasa  - build about 50 kms away from Pune in the Sahyadri range of hills; its a good attempt to create a Dalhousie or Mussourie equivalent for Western India. While the weather conditions in Western India do not give you the luxury of creating a 'cool' hill station - it sure isn't a bad place to spend a weekend lounging and relaxing. However, as I read through some pamphlets which we got during our trip and researched a little more on its concept - I was intrigued by the tall statement made by Lavasa Corporation which claims that "Lavasa is envisioned to be a more liveable city of the future where residents can live, work, learn and play in harmony with nature ". While I could fathom the live, learn and play - the 'work' aspect didn't quite convince me. My wife suggested that the 'work' aspect probably relates to the workers in hotels, resorsts, hospitals and schools located in Lavasa; but when I dug

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