Friday, December 14, 2007

Start Ups and Free/Open Source Technology

I am starting my first tech blog [hoping more will follow] . The topic i choose is Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) not only because its what i work on but it is something that can cause a revolution if isn't already.

What revolution am i talking about ?
The same revolution that enables Computers become personal [PC] and available to all, or the Interne t which allows access to whole load of data stored anywhere around the world. All this is a cliché but nonetheless true.
Such is the potential of FOSS. In my opinions, Start-ups and/or SME (Small/Medium Enterprises) are the ones which can/will exploit FOSS in many ways.

One of the biggest hurdles start-ups can face is investing a lot of money in buying licensed copies of Propretiary Closed Source Non-free Softwares like Windows/Office or some SQL database like Oracle.This may or maynot directly even help product development.
It is easily possible to use open-source alternatives which are freely available and can give equal if not greater quality of software.
This is very important. People may think free/open software may mean less-than-standard software. That is not at all the case.
Fedora/Ubuntu Linux Distributions have matured over the years and have become very stable. OpenOffice can provide great office productivity. MySQL is very good competitor to any SQL solution available.
These are just few examples. There are many such solutions available.

Another Issue is Development Tools . IDE's like Visual Studio again cost a lot.Linux comes with a default compiler for C/C++.
Development Tools for technologies involving langauges like Python, Perl, PHP, AJAX etc are freely available on Linux. Hence building applications using these technologies as simple as it is in Windows.Also programmers for above mentioned can easily migrate from Windows to Linux.
As Initial investment comes down, lot of businesses/ideas can actually see the light.

The latest buzzword in the industry these days is Web2.0 . A lot of start-ups rushing to provide their services. And Obviously Open Source solutions are present here as well .Linux, Apache, MySQL, Ruby on Rails, Python, Django, PHP, and AJAX. You just have to name it.
Start ups like YouTube (now owned by Google), Facebook, Mugshot (a venture by Red Hat), Twitter, Stumble Upon, Reddit, Digg, LinkedIn, Dopplr, Tabblo, Pownce are all major users of Open Source Technology.

Another area that is largely benefitting is embedded devices. Linux is easily portable to the ARM architecture[which is predominantly used for embeddedded devices]. There can be cheaper handheld devices as the cost of Operating System will be negligible. Openmoko is one such example. Also Google introduced the Open-Source Android Platform which will foster development of hundreds of applications.
Unlike Symbian or Microsoft based mobile phones, Linux-based Mobile phones can allow 3rd party applications to run flawlessly.OpenMoko supports the GTK+ Platform which means any GNOME based application can run on it.
Althought business opportunities here maybe restricted; Once 3G networks become a norm, it can surely foster a growth of services for mobile-devices.
Startups in this market can surely leverage FOSS for their advantage

Setting up the internal infrastructure for a startup like setting up IMAP,DHCP,DNS servers, providing home-users access to the network usings VPNs, Securing the network etc is an area costing a lot of dollars. Open Source solutions can bring down not only the initial cost but also the maintenance cost.
What about Desktops/Laptops for developers and other staff ?
One Licensed Version of Windows Vista costs around Rs 10,000/-and assume there are 20 Desktops. You don't need a math genius to figure out where those precious dollars are going.

Last word.

I am surely not criticizing or against propretiary software or the amount of money they charge. Its another business model ,so is FOSS. The point here incase not clear is start-ups can "start" up easily with availability of high quality software at low costs .


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Thursday, December 13, 2007

India After Gandhi .

At first i was sceptical of picking up this book, as i wasn't sure of the author.
I had seen Ramachandra Guha mostly of NDTV Big Fight; nothing beyond that.

A bit sceptical at first ; I picked the book anyways.
One of the first things i noticed is that the author had done extensive research; he knows what he is talking about.

So What is this book about anyways ?
As the title mentions its About India after Independence, after Gandhi.
As Guha has rightly pointed out, in schools history ends with our independence.
It may extend uptil Liberation of Hyderabad and Goa, but nothing beyond that.
Also the history i have read during school were prejudiced towards the Indian Government.
Well in the end who publishes those books.
Coming back to the main point, History for us in true sense begins after Independence.
1950s-60s were infact one of the most tumultuous periods of Free India and what most of the pages of the book talk about.
There were many issues Kashmir Independence, Naga problem, Reorganization of states based on Languages, Demands for New states,The wars against Pakistan and China,Famines/ Rise of Naxalites, Refugees inflow from Bangladesh[ formerly East Pakistan] etc etc.
We are taken through all these times and gives views of what Nehru, Vallabhbhai Patel and Other Eminent leaders thought and did. There is also views/opinions expressed by foreign media/reporters.
This really is very insightful into understanding how the nation has shaped up after some many years and also understanding views of other countries.
One of the points i personally really appreciate about Guha is that he never tries to provide his judgement/views because as he says, which is rightly so that he wasn't there then and neither is he an expert in state-affairs.
Also, standing out is the author's unbiased attitude. This is true, especially when it comes to the Kashmir Issue.
In the books/articles that i have read ,there is always a bias ;either criticizing the Indian Government or praising it.
There is never a part in the book, where there is either repetition or of being monotonous.
Towards the end, there is nice small chapter dedicated to Indian Entertainment which is obviously Movies and Sports, how that also influences our culture.

I would surely recommend this book to everyone who has prejudices regarding India and our past leaders.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

How often do you let other people's emotions change your mood?

Here follows a really good forward I got in my mail in recent times:

How often do you let other people's emotions change your mood?

Do you let a bad driver, rude waiter, curt boss, or an insensitive employee ruin your day? Unless you're the Terminator, for an instant you're probably set back on your heels. However, the mark of a successful person is how quickly one can get back their focus on what's important.

Sixteen years ago I learned this lesson. I learned it in the back of a New York City taxi cab. Here's what happened.

I hopped in a taxi, and we took off for Grand Central Station. We were driving in the right lane when, all of a sudden, a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his breaks, skidded, and missed the other car's back end by just inches!

The driver of the other car, the guy who almost caused a big accident, whipped his head around and he started yelling bad words at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was friendly. So, I said, "Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!"

And this is when my taxi driver told me what I now call, "The Law of the Garbage Truck."

"Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it. And if you let them, they'll dump it on you.

When someone wants to dump on you, don't take it personally. You just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. You'll be happy you did."

So this was it: The "Law of the Garbage Truck." I started thinking, how often do I let Garbage Trucks run right over me? And how often do I take their garbage and spread it to other people: at work, at home, on the streets? It was that day I said, "I'm not going to do it anymore."

I began to see garbage trucks. Like in the movie "The Sixth Sense," the little boy said, "I see Dead People."

Well, now "I see Garbage Trucks." I see the load they're carrying. I see them coming to drop it off. And like my Taxi Driver, I don't make it a personal thing; I just smile, wave, wish them well, and I move on.

One of my favorite football players of all time, Walter Payton, did this every day on the football field. He would jump up as quickly as he hit the ground after being tackled. He never dwelled on a hit. Payton was ready to make the next play his best. Good leaders know they have to be ready for their next meeting.

Good parents know that they have to welcome their children home from school with hugs and kisses.
Leaders and parents know that they have to be fully present, and at their best for the people they care about.

The bottom line is that successful people do not let Garbage Trucks take over their day.

What about you? What would happen in your life, starting today, if you let more garbage trucks pass you by?

Here's my bet. You'll be happier.

Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so. Love the people who treat you right. Forget about the ones who don't. Believe that everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, TAKE IT!
If it changes your life, LET IT!
Nobody said it would be easy...
They just promised it would be worth it!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Love, Actually !

Yesterday I finished seeing the movie:Love, Actually!!

It started and ended with scenes from Heathrow Airport . The scenes are of people reuniting ,hugging and kissing.Husbands and wives;girlfriends and boyfriends; parents and children.

The background commentary is says:
"On 9/11 when the planes crashed into the WTC. The messages sent from the planes werent of hatred and animosity but of love !"

Love has different forms like puppy love,crushes,infatuations,true love etc
It can be between friends,lovers ,parents, children,grandparents, grandchildren etc

What the form of love be; love is unconditional !

If we see , love, actually is all around us !

The Pursuit of Happiness

In the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence,Thomas Jefferson wrote:
“ We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

How did he know that happiness is something that you cannot have? You will always pursue it.

For some having a lot of money is happiness.So he will pursue it. For some maybe being highly successful is happiness .So he will pursue it. For
others being with their loved ones.
But the thing about happiness is that , you will always keep pursuing it.
Why do we always pursue it ? Why can't we always be happy ?

Unless we dont succeed , we are not happy.
When we struggle to achieve something, why cant we struggle happily ?
When we fail miserably, why we are pathetically sad ?
Why cant we fail happily ?

The reason is because we associate happiness or being happy with some achievement or object of desire.
We cannot just be happy,naturally !

Happiness is like love.

Do we say that , 'only if you do this , I will love you !' to our loved ones ?

Well I believe happiness is the same. Unconditional !
Love is always there , in your highs and your lows ; in your success and failure; in your gains and your losses.
Same is true for happiness .
We should feel happy irrespective of the situation we are in.
Being happy and positive will also help us , to think clear and come up with a solution which otherwise may not be possible.

I always feel happy even if it is a normal day with nothing great happening.
When you are happy , you are positive; you create a lot of positive energy around you.
Your interactions with others will be much more enthusiastic making them also happy.
You will say , thats a cliche now.
Well , Yes it is cliche but a true one !!! I speak from personal experience not from some self-help book.

Try it sometime !

Lets not pursue happiness , lets always be happy !

Monday, April 02, 2007

Bombay trilogy !!

I have finished reading Suketu Bhatt's Maximum City. In some sense the trilogy is complete. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra and now Maximum City. Its all about one thing and one thing only Bombay or Mumbai.

All authors give us a glimpse of this Country within a City . A nation state where despite all its problems people from every corner of India come in search of fulfilling their dreams.

Shantaram is the author's story. He is escaped convict from Australia . Here we learn about Slums , people living in it, their dreams and aspirations. We understand how foreign national people here survive forever. We learn all the illegal business conducted by the mafia.

Sacred Games is a fictional story about a Mumbai cop and a underworld mafia don. We see Mumbai through the eyes of these and more characters. We get the glimpse of the underworld , wars among various companies. How the cops are all integrated into this. How each cop works for either of these companies.

Maximum City is a first person, non fiction story where the author meets all sorts of people . People involved in killing muslims in the riots, people who are shooters for the mafia, gangsters, bar girls, bollywood people,politicians, business men et al.

I have learnt that there are two cities Mumbai for the Maharashtraians , for Shiv Sena and Bombay(Bambayie) for the cosmopolitan,the “other state” people doing business; how these two worlds clash and it can get bloody at times. But when it comes to Business , it doesnot matter whether you are in Mumbai or Bombay, whether you are a Hindu , Muslim , Sikh or Christian. Its just business as usual.

I learn that , there is nothing right or wrong. We all live in the grey area . Thats what Bombay teaches .

Bangalore !!


Its almost three weeks now , that I am in Bangalore now. Its obvious that a lot of people will ask me how do I feel ? How is Bangalore? . So here goes......

Bangalore ,by and large is like Pune's elder brother . Its bigger in terms of pollution ,population , traffic and sizes of malls compared to Pune. Rickshawallas equally loot you here. Two things worth contrasting here are the roads and the traffic sense . Almost all the roads here are in good condition if not the best . The traffic sense among the people is much more better. Its much more civilized than Pune. Very rarely will you find a Schumacher here driving at the speed of light cutting across traffic as opposed to Pune where every second one is a Schumacher.Traffic in the evening is bad as expected. Also there are many one ways and no U turns allowed here , that one wrong in the evening and you are stuck forever.
One of the most peculiar things about Bangalore is the names of restaurants . All of them end with a Sagar. Shrindhi Sagar , Shanti Sagar , Shree Sagar. Every area has its own “New Shanti Sagar” . I am not sure whether its a franchisee or not. Also , here one will find a juice centre in every corner of the street. Most of juice centres have only two names Shree Ganesh or only Ganesh Juice Center. Whatever be the name , the food and drinks that you get are delicious and cheap.
So for people with a large appetitie and a light pocket , hoarding with these names are a sight for sore eyes. As it is with every big city , you will find KFCs,Pizza Huts, in every area.
Bangalore being the home town of Cafe Coffee Day. Almost Every major road will have at least two. No room for a Barista here.
Bangalore has shortage of multiplexes. Only three to cater to this Mammoth population. Although the ticket rates are high (150 and above), the movie viewing experience is great. The seats have head support and lot of leg space. The screens are big. You feel “paisa vasool” especially after going to E-Square in Pune.
Pubs/Discs here dont have cover charges. Yes you read right no cover charges and the ambience is awesome. We had been to “Legions Of Rock” an amazing pub in Koramangala . It has three floors. All with really screen , constantly churning out videos of rock concerts complemented with an equally mind blowing audio system. The food was also good.
Here again you bound to find a lot of “Mall Rats” . Mall Rats are people like you and me who have nothing better to do on weekend and neither have the money to blow , so we just roam around in the Air Conditioned Malls enjoying the AC, enjoying the crowd. This species consist of people like software profs, BPO employees , college students etc. A Saturday evening in Forum Mall will be like 9am at Dadar station. Same is the story about of Brigade Road or Commercial street.

Language can be barrier at times. Many lower class people dont understand Hindi/English . But keywords are sufficient. Learning Kannada is one uphill task.
“Bangalore is a happening City !” , one friend in Pune told me once. I saw the papers and said “Yeah!” . Lots of bandhs , torching of buses etc over issues like Cauvery River dispute Karnatak has with Tamil Nadu and Belgaum issue with Maharashtra.

I am bound to miss Pune. I miss the mountains being so close to my house. I miss “pohe” which you get only in Maharashtra. I will miss the potholes too......happily.

So now I hum the song “ Here I am , This is me ,theres nowhere else on Earth I rather be !”

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Well This is the first blog , I am writing out of my new laptop the Lenovo ThinkPad T60p which I got from IBM.
Its a “Intel Core Duo”, indicating two processors ( for the uninitiated) working at 2.16 Ghz with 2 giges of RAM . Its comes packed with a ATI graphics card (256 MB mem) , Bluetooth enabled , Wi-fi support , Infrared port and Dual Layer DVD Burner.
To top it up , there’s a 100GB SATA Hard Disk Drive.

All have to people reading this is BURN BURN BURN !

Review: ThinkPad T60p


“Scream for me Bangalore !! Scream for me Bangalore “, the voice echoed across Palace Grounds on Saturday 17th March. 25000 + responded. This was the power of Bruce Dickinson. This was the power of Iron Maiden.

Fans here were waiting for such a thing to happen. It was a short concert (90 min) but something we will remember for a lifetime. Bruce’s energy , the amazing backdrops and ofcourse Iron Maiden.

The show started with an amateur band , winners of Campus Rock Idol which failed to impress the crowd. Parikrama came on next . They had a completely original set. They churned out some amazing numbers . Here the crowd was introduced to Imran , violinist. The jugalbandi of Imran with Parikrama got a lot of applause from the crowd.

Next on Stage was Lauren Harris (Steve Harris’s daughter supposedly) . Her band had two male guitarists and one female drummer. She is supposedly , upcoming act or band to watchout out for.

She thoroughly failed to impress. Her vocals were totally out of sync with the rest of the band. The guitarists were top notch , but Only One thing I can say about her is that even Britney Spears is better.

By the time this band finished , we could here only one anthem “Maiden, Maiden”.

In about half an hours time Iron Maiden were on the stage. They started with a couple of numbers from their brand new album ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ . This started setting the mood . They churned out a mix of classics and new ones like ‘The Number of the Beast’ , ‘Run to the Hills’ , ‘Trooper’ ,’Iron Maiden’ along with which the crowd was headbanging. With numbers like ‘Fear of the Dark’,’Hallowed be thy Name’ , we felt we were truly in the presence of the Metal Gods.

The backdrops changed depending on the album , which was truly amazing visual experience. Then there was Eddy! The props used were also great. We had a big tank appearing out of nowhere and Eddy popping out of it ,seeing through a binocular. Another Avatar of Eddy appeared as a Policeman .

So Overall , the crowd was treated to some amazing out of this world experience which none of would forget in our lifetimes. Iron Maiden did promise to come back in less than 17 months.

Till then there will only one voice in our heads,...... ”Scream for me Bangalore

Official Report: From THE HINDU

Friday, February 23, 2007


Long back I read a book Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts . It follows the life of a convict escaped from Australia living in the slums of Mumbai. Living there he sets up a free clinic. He also joins to Mumbai mafia , gets involved into smuggling , drugs etc. He also forges passports. He works in Movies . He helps agents get find actors. He also joins the Mujahudeens in Afghanistan .
He has a mentor Khader Bhai . The conversations between the two is food for thought . The philosophy behind this story is great. The descriptions of characters and pace of this semi autobiography is really good. It gives peek into Mumbai, life in the slums and mafia there.

All in all , the characters described and their stories are surreal. Worth a read to find out different ways of life people lead.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Butter Chicken in Ludhiana

I just finished reading Butter Chicken in Ludhiana by Pankaj Mishra.
The author narrates his journey throughout small towns in India , from North to the South. It really gives a picture of how things in small town India has changed over the years.It also gives an idea of how attitude of people has changed . He travels from states of Bihar , UP to Rajashtan . He moves to the South close to Bangalore . Along this long journey he narrates some really good stories related cultural clashes, generation gaps and politics.
A must read for anyone interested to know about India

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Bond with the Best !

A lot of things have happened in the past couple of months.

I finished my Engineering and now am working at Nevis Networks , Pune .
I recently got engaged to the love of my life , Leena which my family think was forced on to them as I am too young (just 22 you see) . The smiling faces in the album will surely not reflect this sentiment.

I now realize that , not being close to Parents has a lot of downsides. Firstly , they will never really know whether to trust their children in whatever decisions they make.
There is fear and doubt in their hearts when we take radical decisions on whether it will be right or wrong.For them this fear is rightly justified . The other side has another story altogether.
The kids think that , 'why can't the parents trust their decisions ? What are they scared of ?'

And What follows is an perfect recipe for disaster . Every one is right in their own position.
The problem is not even that . It is but obvious that everyone is going to have a view where he/she expects the other to be more compromising unless of course you are a saint.
The problem lies in the fact none of the sides are even bothered to understand what the other side is trying put forth. Especially when all have big Egos and big expectations .

So coming back to the main idea. Parents and Children all should realize that , living in an Indian Society , all their destinies are bound by the parent-child relation .
Strengthening it of utmost importance. A lot of us misunderstand this concept of strengthening this bond. Just by giving into all the wishes of any one be it a child giving into his parent wishes or vice versa will not strengthen it.
The key to strengthening a relationship is communication ( a lot of it) , understanding what the other is saying and showing confidence.

Eg . I wanted to go to Leh for a vacation with a group of friends. Instant reaction from my parents was no !!!. Without consideration or regard the answer NO !!. Why ?? Obviously I had to bully my way through ( as I always have done) . Every action has a reaction with equal if not more magnitude. Especially I am bound to be pissed , when my parents give examples of how this guy is not going or that guy listens . When the approach itself starts out to be negative , the results are bound to be negative .Then I am blamed to have used techniques of emotional blackmailing and all.This is a typical example of many that has severed our bond.

Fear and Doubt is going to be there in everyone's mind . But by showing obsessive-compulsive behavior , Are We getting anywhere?

Children should work more positively towards reducing this fear and doubt . While Parents should be willing to see other side and not be stubborn.

Communication is the key!!
Also the communication that takes place should be devoid of contempt , spite or ego . This is the most important thing .

The Parents should realize that in Today's World , Kids are more independent ( moneywise and otherwise) than ever and may never come back if they overly strict. Also by giving into their wishes all the time will only make them egocentric .

The Children should realize that , when they are going to be stuck in a soup the Parents surely are going to be there to bail them out.

We cannot have a World where all Ideas match , especially across generations (its more tough , believe me!!) .Thats Leads to Generation Gaps .
But we can surely bridge these Gaps by acting more understandingly and giving our egos a little break :) !!