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Should you let Kids Use iPads?

Steve Jobs didn't let his kids use iPads (as per  this website ) - even though he invented them himself. A lot of parents might want to follow him. " Especially in Silicon Valley, there is actually a trend of tech execs and engineers who shield their kids from technology." The claim is that technological addiction prevents kids minds from becoming creative " setting up our children for incomplete, handicapped lives devoid of imagination, creativity and wonder when we hook them onto technology at an early age. " To me this is an extremely biased and dystopian view of technology exposure - though it is nothing new - the same type of concerns were raised few decades ago for TV and before that even for newspapers. My view is that it depends on how and what kind of exposure you give your kids. For ex. kids today already know the whole ABC, 123, almost all poems by the age of two. This is all thanks to nicely made kids rhyme videos which you can play in ab

2013

2013 has possibly been the busiest year of my life till date; it was busy as hell and the hangover still persists. The year started with a Baby Shower in mid January, after which Divya went to her parent's place - beginning a persistent nomadic life for me for more than 6 months. I would dash through the week, managing groceries, maids and bills and run off to either Indore or Pune over weekends to spend alternate weekends with Divya or my parents. If there were weekends when I would be in Mumbai, there would be enough office work piled over to catch up. I spent several train and bus journeys working on my laptop sitting in awkward positions, and being the source of the dim (and for my co-passengers - irritating -) light emanating from my laptop screen. I have been on con-calls at all kinds of odd places - the hospital, highway Dhabas, on way to Mumbai-Pune expressway and Food Plaza on the expressway near Lonavla. Also spent several Monday's coming back from work and goi

Lessons from an evening in Ladakh

I visited Ladakh close to two years ago with my parents; since we went there close to beginning of winters, we had to keep our trip short and that left us with less time to acclimatize ourselves to the weather. Out of the 4 days we planned to spend, my parents felt a little sick on the second day and could not join us for the sightseeing. On that day, we had planned to visit places around Leh which included the visiting the Thiksey Gompa (Monastery). I liked the place so much that I wanted my parents to visit the place - so on the next day, after we finished our day long itinerary, I insisted we take a shot at visiting Thiksey again. As luck would have it, we reached the monastery just when it started getting dark (after which usually the doors are closed to visitors), but chanced to get entry into the main gate. However, to my disappointment, the doors of the main temple were closed by the time we climbed up. We were about to turn back when my brother spotted a young lama, in h

End of Expressway - 4 days ahead :-)

My life has been running at express speeds for more than the past 6 months and I mean it quite literally. It started in December when my cousin got married in Nagpur, a day after my third wedding anniversary (which we celebrated with the whole of my paternal extended family on the eve of my cousin's wedding). We returned from the wedding and within days proceeded to Pune for the Baby Shower, which was immediately followed by Divya moving over to Indore for the next few months. I went to escort her to Indore, and directly flew to Kolkata to a close friend's wedding. Since then, my schedule has been pre-decided for every weekend - a compulsory travel to Indore every fortnight, and spending many (or rather most) in between weekends in Pune with my parents (except the few when they came over or I had too much office work piled up to manage a Pune trip). So much so that, this Friday, when I told the maid to come on a Saturday, she gave me the look for the boss who asks you to w

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.

Life after Marriage

No! This is not a rant! Its just an update on this blog about my life in the past 4 months after my marriage. As expected, life after marriage has been busy marked by weekends spent either traveling to some place or playing host to parents / friends at our newly set up home. Gudi Padwa at Home Travel with my Mom-Dad to Sardar Sarovar Dam In the backdrop - Sardar Sarovar Dam Dad, Divya, Mom In the Valley near Sardar Sarovar My Brother (Abhishek), cousin (Manasi), wife(Divya) and me(Nikhil)! My In-Laws: Mom, Dad, Wife and Sis-in-law (Neha, sitting) Visit to Hanging Gardens Mumbai Visit to Nariman Point Me and Bro - Riding uphill in the trolley at Champaran / Pawagarh near Vadodara Climbing up the last few steps My Brother: While Climbing Down For more photos goto: http://picasaweb.google.com/kulkarni.nikhil/56Home?authkey=Gv1sRgCKTai57x8PT73gE#

The Courtship

I haven't updated much about my personal life during the past 6 months ... probably the most 'unusual' 6 months of my life. I met Divya exactly 6 months ago on July 12th (this was at the Oberoi Mall, Goregaon), and probably the first time I drove her back to her office in KulupwadiBorivali (also the locality where she stays .. till now). Sidethought: I am feeling spooky about my life again! My courtship is ending in an exact 6 months (a limit I secretly desired for my courtship period). I got engaged on 15th August and am getting married on 25th December. Something is really spooky ... why does my life have so many 'perfect' endings? Since then there have been numerous trips to Borivali - in fact averaging 2 per week - one each on Saturdays and Sundays. Today, as I was driving back on the Western Express, I suddenly felt nostalgic realizing the fact that today was the last time I dropped Divya off to 'her' home in Borivali; the last time I was driving back

My latest figure is 57-63-104!

Follow me on twitter www.twitter.com/kulkarninikhil My previous figure here

The day Could not have started worse

Image Credit: deen I took about 2½ hours to reach office today. Apparantly some truck has oveturned near Chembur and hence all traffic from the Sion-Trombay highway has been diverted towards the Suman-nagar flyover (where Eastern Express enters the Island city). This has resulted in a huge traffic jam at Sion. The small incident explains how fragile the infrastructure demand-supply equilibrium is in Mumbai. The roads are just about sufficient to support traffic. So, if it rains or a truck/bus stranded on the road side - it creates queues of traffic kilometers long. Image Credit: Marc van der Chijs This is because of multiple reasons - first of course being that road-space is narrow. The others are like: There are no alternate routes to reach the Island city apart from the arterial roads. The JNPT road remains unutilized even at the time of the traffic jams and natural calamities like water logging. The Highway Maintenance services such as towing trucks to clear stranded vehicles

The day Could not have started better

Image Credit : Abhijeet Rane I took the Bandra-Worli Sealink to work today and as I started on the Sea-Link the song "Yeh Tumhari Meri Batien" from rock-on started playing on the Radio. Reached office from Borivli to Lower Parel in flat 40 minutes - the day could not have started better. Mumbai's infrastructure has been improving by the day. This city which looked "more like a conglomeration of many small cities from Ghatkopar to Andheri joined together" [ ref ] is now starting to take shape of a real megapolis. In the past 5 years, almost all roads have been cemented, pavements redone and flyovers has been made on most major traffic signals. To add icing to the cake we have the first phase of Metro (Andheri-Ghatkopar) coming up by 2010-11 and at least 3 monorail (Bandra, Santa-Cruz, Borivli) coming up by almost the same time. But a lot of this good work is undone by - hawkers who still occupy the pavements and footpaths (and often uproot the tiles on them

My figure is 54-36-54!

Yeah! That's my Twitter Figure. What's yours?

Conclusion
Bloozle – the Startup that never was (Part VI)

Continued from Environmental factors (Bloozle – the Startup that never was - Part V) We are confident that we will get customers and we will be able to multiply our customer base fast once we cross the incubation stage. But reaching that stage needs massive amount of research and development effort. And that cannot be sustained by us on our personal savings – and definitely not without quitting our corporate careers. And to do all this we need Seed Funding – it’s a vicious circle which probably every entrepreneur faces. Most entrepreneurs overcome this phase by sheer determination of cutting through the hardship – even borrowing money to run their dreams. We would probably have done the same – if this was a smaller venture which could be incubated on less money, but we don’t think it is like that. And so the wait is on – for the VC who would help in Seed Funding and kick starting. Till then – we reminisce on the mistakes we committed and try to learn from them. May be for this ventu

Environmental factors
Bloozle – the Startup that never was - Part V

Continued from Product Development Mistakes (Bloozle – the Startup that never was - Part IV) We probably still would have survived, because at the end of the whole charade – we still had a working prototype*, a proof of concept and most of all a revenue model – which hardly any online startup in those days had. But unfortunately for us – recession had to set in just when we were readying our b-plan and reaching out to investors. In the months since October 2008 and today – we have heard responses from umpteen VC’s^ that they are not even considering investing in seed stage startups till the recession goes away. Most of them of course camouflage their response by saying that they would have invested if we had customers (essentially saying no to Seed Stage and asking us to reach beyond that stage). Unfortunately for us, personal lives are at a cornerstone where we could not have risked our personal savings (beyond what we already had) in taking this concept beyond the seed stage. We

Product Development Mistakes
Bloozle – the Startup that never was - Part IV

Continued from Product Vision mistakes (Bloozle – the Startup that never was - Part III) If the service is not ‘personal data service’ (like email), then one should try providing as many features as possible, without requiring users to log in/register. Registration and Login is a big barrier in enticing new users (especially non-techies) to try the service out. If you cannot provide the service without registration, try to provide screencasts and previews or even better, guest logins (slideshare does that!) for new users. Its important to get at least one section of your site work completely and bug-free than have your complete set of services rolled out but all in a half baked shape. While it is true that beta users are usually tolerant, but they can't be tolerant towards a product that looks full blown, but doesn't work even for some basic requirements. They would rather have fewer sections - but those few work well. Project Management lesson - make sure you get your prior

Product Vision mistakes
Bloozle – the Startup that never was - Part III

Continued from - The Concept (Bloozle – the Startup that never was - Part II) ‘Identify a need’ – it is said. We did exactly the thing – the need was clear: information overload requires an aggregator (or segregator as we called it); we wanted to build one. But call it limitation of technologies of the times (2004-6) or our inability (ignorance?) to harness them, but the concept of aggregating feeds based completely on automated algorithms did not appeal to us. Instead we decided to develop a Feed Reader for users which would be our means to enabling aggregation. However, once we set out to build an RSS reader – we got too engrossed in it. The means became the end – we got lost in the barrage of features which we needed on the reader to make it more user friendly to our users. Even worse, unfortunately for us, we came up with a RSS reader just when RSS reader usage peaked and was just about to start its decline [ RSS is dead ]. Being at its peak, the major user share was taken by

The Concept
Bloozle – the Startup that never was - Part II

Continued from Bloozle – the Startup that never was Bloozle is an information segregator (our own twist over the rising din of ‘aggregators’ online) which would allow the user to surf through the sea of blogs according to his/her tastes. The idea is simple – also a clever combination of various existing concepts like Social Bookmarking, FriendFeeding, RSS Readers, news rivers, co-ranking (digg/stumbleUpon): Users would subscribe to their favourite blogs in our custom developed feed reader. They would read their regular blogs and would rate and tag blog posts they read Incoming blog posts would also be automatically tagged based on the labels/tags which the authors attach them when posting. Going forward the system will also perform intelligent tagging based on factors like source, number of times a word appears in the post body, words in the title etc. The rating and tagging would be aggregated by our server and then blog posts would be rejigged (segregated) – grouped under tags and

Bloozle – the Startup that never was

This is the story of a startup that never was. It’s a story which I want to document to crystallize learning which I myself have had from this experience and also for several wannabe innovators/entrepreneurs to read and take lesson from. The Story In the heady days of 2004 when me and Hemant were incubating MastishK , our talk sessions lasting into the wee hours of the morning often threw open many revolutionary ideas which we canned and kept at the back of our minds for future use. One such idea was to create a newspaper out of blog content – essentially as we realized later, we wanted to build an intelligent aggregator of user generated content. Fast forward to 2006, when I conceptualized the idea in words and posted a prelude to it on my blog. The idea then developed further on in discussions with Aurko, Shubham and Manish. I developed a very basic prototype of the idea (I learnt Ajax during this development phase) but it was looking very amateurish. About the same time, I got h

Main Chalta gaya .. Car'waan Banta gaya

Its been 8 months since I got the delivery of my Car (on August 7th, 2008); I recently clocked the 10001st kilometer on the road in my car.  A couple of days before that, I clocked 9337 kilometers - so what's so special with that. Just that my registration number also happens to be 9337 and I was fortunate to notice the meter when it turned to 9337.      My experience with driving my own car has been great till now - the machine - Maruti WagonR Duo runs pretty cool. Except for a little lack of pick up at high speeds, the LGP engine works just like Petrol hile saving money and of course environment as well.  I have done 2 Pune trips, 1 Lonavla drive, 1 trip to Daman and numerous trips to the Palm beach road and South Mumbai - trust me having your own car to drive around gives you a feeling of freedom - Iyamlouvingyit ...  Here are some snaps of my Lonavla trip with friends (way back in September). [Click the images below to get enlarged Flickr versions] The Mumbai-Pune Ex

Bhopal - the city of passion

Living in Mumbai, its not difficult to find people who have no idea even about neighbouring cities like Nasik, leave alone cities like Bhopal. It pains even more when people are all praises for cities like Chandigarh (which is a good city, but to be frank a little hyped) and treat Bhopal akin to a village.  Being born and brought up in Bhopal, one knows that this is a city with many positives; to enumerate a few: A beautiful landscape dotted with parks, ponds and lakes. The hilly terrain on which the city is built gives it a unique ambience - roads rising up and down the slopes, formations of row houses on ascending tracts, long winding roads along the lakes and parks ...  Superb infrastructure compared to the size of population it supports. Unlike most old cities in India, Bhopal has very good amenities - whether it is underground drainage or roads and traffic signals. Smooth roads in most arterial tracks Cleanliness in most of the new Bhopal areas is a lot better than other cit

My Cellphones

I would not be too far from reality if I said that internet is my food and cellphones are my drinks. Yeah .. I am constantly using one of these two things - whether I am at work, at home, or on a vacation. So its particularly painful when my cellphone breaks down   And so it was even more troublesome when this time my phone's keypad went bad and after 15-20 days of enduring it, and trying to get it repaired/replaced, I was told that it was beyond repair. So finally, I decided to spend some more moolah on another phone ....  I bought a fully loaded HTC Touch ( P3000 ) - Windows Mobile, 64MB memory, 2.8" touch-screen, 2 Megapixel Camera. What I am going to use most if the internet and To Do list features. The battery seems ok - runs 2 days flat without any problems. Tried the Google Maps app for starters - and 'twas awwsome. So that takes my cellphone tally to 3 .. my previous 2 phones being Nokia 2865 LG RD2130  Post inspiration : Shubham