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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Autposy of the I Vote for Nobody email Fwd

Post 26/11 Mumbai is totally different. In fact, it has spread across the country. Everybody is charged up and has an urge to do something, take an action, be a part of or trigger a revolution in order to take charge of the country. Citizens are putting their words into action and putting in all efforts to channelize their anger and pain into building a better, safer future for all of us.

Post the terror attacks, citizens are engaged in constructive activities ranging from organizing peace/protest rallies, candle lighting, debates, blood donations, creating FB orkut groups and discussion fora, writing blog posts etc. The motive being clear: to challenge the system and make sure that we create a diligent and safe society.

One such initiative was forwarding of this email across groups and individuals that challenges the politicians and threatens them indirectly by describing an option of voting nobody in the election.
This act however, also stands as an example of the trouble and confusion we might cause and create amongst ourselves if our initiatives are not checked upon with due diligence.

Here is the email as I received it:


Dear All,

Section 49-O of the Constitution

Did you know that there is a system in our constitution, as per the 1969 act, in section "49-O" that a person can go to the polling booth, confirm his identity, get his finger marked and convey the presiding election officer that he doesn't want to vote anyone!

Yes such a feature is available, but obviously these seemingly notorious leaders have never disclosed it. This is called "49-O".

Why should you go and say "I VOTE NOBODY"... because, in a ward, if a candidate wins, say by 123 votes, and that particular ward has received
"49-O" votes more than 123, then that polling will be cancelled and will have to be re-polled. Not only that, but the candidature of the contestants will be removed and they cannot contest the re-polling, since people had already expressed their decision on them. This would bring fear into parties and hence look for genuine candidates for their parties for election. This would change the way, of our whole political system... it is seemingly surprising why the election commission has not revealed such a feature to the public....

Please spread this news to as many as you know...Seems to be a wonderful weapon against corrupt parties in India... showing your power,expressing your desire not to vote for anybody, is even more powerful than voting... so don't miss your chance. So either vote, or vote not to vote (vote 49-O) and pass this info on...

"Please forward this mail to as many as possible, so that we, the people of India, can really use this power to save our nation".

Use your vote right for a better INDIA.
I was excited on reading it, as it seemed to be an interesting piece of NEWS. However, after scouting for related info over the internet I came down with the following notes:

  • Here is the link to an official government PDF that confirms the rule :
    http://www.eci.gov.in/PROPOSED_ELECTORAL_REFORMS.pdf (pg 15/32)

  • You dont end up voting for Nobody. You just identify and not vote.

  • This means --> that the polling officer will come to know of your decision in this case. This will be recorded.

  • Here is the pdf that gives info on the consequence of doing so:
    http://archive.eci.gov.in/handbook/PRESIDING%20OFFICER.pdf (pg 49/119)

  • Note that: Constitution of India has Articles and not sections! This particular item is a part of Rule 49 O of the Conduct of Election Rules

  • Beware : The original post has a lot of loose ends.Don't take it as is. If elections were to be redone in this manner, then the EC would end up spending loads of cash; there also exists the possibility of an infinite loop in some constituencies.
    E.g. :

    Candidate wins, say by 123 votes, and that particular ward has Received "49-O" votes more than 123

    Did he get 123 votes and win? OR Did win by margin of 123 votes?
It is very crucial for all of us to think rationally and with due diligence before we act; else there is a high probability of adding more to the prevailing anger and confusion instead of channelizing it properly.

Jai Hind!






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Sunday, August 31, 2008

ROCK ON ... and keep rocking


The Movie:
Rock On

Producer: Ritesh Sidhwani, Farhan Akhtar |Writer, director: Abhishek Kapoor |

StarCast: Farhan Akhtar, Arjun Rampal, Purab Kolhi, Luke Kenny, Prachi Desai



Plot Preview:

The movie oscillates between the successful present and the happy past of 'MAGIK'.

Magik is a band formed by the four protagonists in their early twenties, when they escaped the quarter age crisis by doing the thing they wanted to do.
The band that rocked the crowd and set the stage ablaze moved apart for self centric reasons to give some of its members a successful and 'well settled life': the life without a calling.
The story takes you across the split and merger of MAGIK with the magic of meaningful music combined with a coherent sense of direction.


USP of Rock On:

  • Emphasis on minute real life details:
    The viewer is an intelligent being. He will be impressed by fantasy if he is looking forward to it. So if a film maker shows a series of impossible acts, the viewer is bound to loathe it unless, the movie is called “The Miracle’ or ‘Mission Impossible”.

    With Rock On, we finally have a rare Indian production that shows a guy playing an electric guitar without a piano/keyboard/acoustic guitar playing in the background. It is every actor’s fantasy to be a rock-star and hold a Kramer; but then you can’t do hip hop numbers holding that electric guitar.
    Farhan Akhtar indeed has a sense of detailing, which he exhibited in 'Dil Chahta Hai', his directorial debut, by manifesting a no nonsense , no fantasy story of three young men on the crossroads of life. With Luke Kenny on board, Rock On had to strike the perfect chord with the subject technicalities.
  • Something to take back home:
    Rock On is about the youth too. It talks about a crossroad of life too. Yet, it was a totally new and refreshing experience. The movie focuses on a popular dilemma that everybody faces in the younger 20's and 30’s. The one that gives us a choice of doing the thing that we want to do v/s the thing that we are expected to do. Life goes on either ways; success would come to you both ways too. The root of the
    dilemma is, was, and will always remain about happiness and satiation'.


    Rock On
    beautifully captures 'the quest of the calling with the pursuit of happiness' and puts it in front of you in a captivating manner.

  • The Rock says:

    Rock on
    is a Bollywood flick and that too about a Rock Band. It is obvious that it would have several songs and, as per past trends, they would be wannabe rock tracks or rip offs.
    I am not a big music digger to guarantee their originality, but I can surely say the stuff was genuinely rock (formerly 'the blues') and in case my intuition counts they were far apart from the Indian rip-offs that we have been exposed to.

    The way this genre of music has been portrayed will do a lot of good to its image. It'll break the myth that equates Rock n Roll to sex and drugs, and limits its domain to sub-genres like Death Metal, Heavy Metal etc. which are perceived as a portrayal of sheer noise for the uninitiated. The movie will help the junta identify the Indian rock scene and respect the genre as a source of meaningful lyrics and passionate music instead of head-banging and mosh pits.
  • Silence is blissful:

    The adage has a lot to teach, especially to the Indian film directors. A complete lack of human and other artificial sounds including a background score adds a huge impact on scenes that are heavy on the emotional/senti side.
    The scene that features Joe (Arjun Rampal) sitting alone in his balcony with the guitar on his lap had only the sound of crickets playing at the back.
    This style of direction has been depicted in Dil Chahta Hai too. A few other directors like Nagesh Kuknoor have also deployed this fundamental of film making in their movies and has always been the differentiating factor.

The Verdict:

Two Time watch.
Rating: * * * * 1/2

Producer: Ritesh Sidhwani, Farhan Akhtar |Writer, director: Abhishek Kapoor |

StarCast: Farhan Akhtar, Arjun Rampal, Purab Kolhi, Luke Kenny, Prachi Desai

Image courtesy: www.daijiworld.com


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Monday, June 30, 2008

The Smart Shopper Series

Let me to introduce you to the smart shopper series that I propose to initiate here at !!pseudonormicks!!

This series would comprise of posts that deal with various aspects of consumer shopping spanning across topics like how business works, tips and tricks to smart buying and of course some great deal listings.

This is not a well thought of and a well planned attempt, so kindly bear with me if it doesn't live up.


Currently I am also researching on building up a service that caters to individuals who value their time and money while out shopping. For the same purpose I've initiated a survey that would help me understand consumer preferences.

The short questionnaire would take you approximately 7 minutes to fill up and you can find it over here.







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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Data portability on social networks : Bain or Boon ?



Last week's Trend Candy (Trendhunter’s weekly newsletter) got me a catchy piece of news in their Hot trends section. The head line went like “Celebrity MySpace Hacking - Paris Hilton & Lindsay Lohan's Private Pics (GALLERY)”. After being a spectator to most of their private videos, the ‘private pics’ dint lure me as much as the phrase ‘data interoperability’ which was featured as a teaser for the aforementioned trend.
I decided to Google the phrase ‘data portability” and came up with the observations:

• Dataportability.org is a work group, on the lines of ‘Open id’, that works on the philosophy of promoting the capability of controlling, sharing and moving data from one system to another thereby enabling the user to control, move and share all his personal identities and data.

• If enabled across a variety of social networks, it will allow the user to control all his accounts across these networks in a central manner. For example if you wish to change your email id from abc@xyz.com to def@pqr.com , then using data portability , you wont have to undergo the pain of changing this across every other social networking website.
Furthermore, the myriad web apps that drive users crazy can also interoperate the user’s data across various networking websites. So you can buy your friend a beer or buy him for $x at social networking site A and sell him for $y on website B. All thanks to data interoperability.

• Even though data portability lets a user access all his friends and media across all the websites and widgets, there is a possible downside to it. Different websites and web apps govern the users with their own terms of service (TOS). So In case if a user wishes to interoperate from a popular social networking site to a lesser known website then there is a fair chance of TOS conflict and in the process the user may lose his rights over his own data, very aptly phrased by Nitin Borwankar at Gigaom as
“The real problem — and the elephant in the room – is not whether web app vendors “allow” me to take my data and go play elsewhere, but whether they “play fair” with my data when it’s in the web app.”
• Going ahead on the TOS conflict, in case a user wished to delete his account from website x, he would do that in a simple manner, but website X might have already provided his email and other identity details to all the networks in the DP workgroup. Which means, there exists a possibility that the user wont be allowed to delete his account from website Y, that already posses the ID details of the user thanks to data interoperability. The argument can be furthered to a point where certain websites allow users to make different friends group thereby restricting certain friends from personal data like say ‘birthday’ or 'relationship status', while other websites in the network might not respect the same set of restrictions thereby ensuring that the users privacy is not guaranteed.

Some social networks who have already adopted data portability
|Myspace.com |Yahoo.com |Twitter.com |Ebay.com|
*courtesy Techcrunch


With all these pros and cons, it seems data portability is definitely a novel initiative trying to sort out the mess for web2.0 users; but for it to implement, a heavy collaboration amongst various social networking websites is expected else the user would eventually land up into a bigger pothole trying to save him self from a puddle of mud.Till then, I'd recommend that you read all the TOS and stop the old habit of blindly clicking on "I accept the TOS" for the sake of safeguarding your own sovereignty in Web2.0.
These are my views from a little bit of browsing across the web, I'd like to know your comments to reach a more stable conclusion.


* picture courtesy :dataporatbility.org




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Monday, June 09, 2008

Rechargable AA size USB batteries





Tired of buying the conventional Li-ion AA batteries that have to be either thrown out or plugged into an additional charging unit for hours to get back their power?
If you said yes, then maybe Moxia has an answer to your worries. The USB cell ,launched in Sept,2006 ,is just like any other AA batery just that when it gets discharged, all you have to do is remove the its cap and plug it into a USB port on your computer to charge.

Sweet ans simple, right?
Theres more to it:

  • Doesn't have to be thrown like the alkaline batteries creating a toxic waste.

  • No need to carry a charger, plug it into your computer,gamestation, TV or anything that has a USB port.

  • The rechargeable AA NiMH Battery gives 1.2v ,1300mah output.

  • The price is slightly on the higher side at INR 600.00 for a two AA cell pack (I bet fake models from China would already be available, so be careful)

  • Also in the pipeline are other forms of batteries like phone batteries (see adjascent pic) the 9V battery(pic below) and the AAA batery.



These batteries are developed by Moxia Energy, a UK based company that specializes in renewable energy power resources and related innovative design and engineering solutions. Their idea is to help the human to cut off from the electricity grid for petty issues like lighting, fans, charging etc. !!

With their cutting edge technology focusing on the need of the hour (especially because of the constant decay in the conventional energy resources the world over) they would definitely inspire many a young engineers to focus on this international reality.


Postroll: http://www.moixaenergy.com | http://www.usbcell.com





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Sunday, June 01, 2008

This job portal is shining

Shine.com went live this earlier this week and i caught it up on the very first day. They began with a catchy campaign that lured job seekers in on the basis of getting them a job that gave them the apt salary; also promising initial registrants a lucky draw prize comprising an entire months salary.

I thought I'd do some job hunting to while away my time and so I signed up for the same.
Like a traditional portal Shine would ask you to enter all your preferences and past work experiences along with your resume. But what makes this job portal different is its real time job matching technology, that gets you your median salary instantaneously the moment you update your profile. In case you're not happy with the indicated salary, you can test the effect of modifying certain elements of your profile (trial and error) to see how u can raise the median salary in your profile range. This real time tracking technology has been made with a collaboration with Redmatch, an international recruitment player.

A fresh and cool look with this powerful matching algorithm makes Shine look pretty bright. But time will only tell whether it'll have a monstor-ous impact in this naukri arena.


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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Microsoft Imagine Cup winners are Novices at Work

Paras Doshi, Veenit Mavani, Saili Dharia,Krunal Dedhia and Bhavik Vora from Vivekananda Education Society's Institute of Technology(VESIT) called themselves 'Novices at Work' when they unveiled their masterpiece 'Kalpavriksha' at Microsoft Imagine Cup 2008,Bangalore.

As their fate had it, the underdogs emerged triumphant at the software development contest of the Micrsoft Imagine Cup India finals and are all geared up to head to Paris this July for the World finale of the same Contest. We get up close with them and get it right from the geek's mouth.


  • How does it feel, after winning IC India, in the Software design Competition?

VM: It feels great especially since we had been there last year and we knew we could pull it off this time. We felt we were a bit under prepared last time, however we did our homework this time and made sure we dint leave any stone unturned.

SD: It feels like im almost on the top of the world;Ill be there when we get to france!! But,seriously, its an amazing feeling and i sincerely wish we cross a milestone in france too.

PD: From the moment our team’s name was announced by Mr. Ravi Venkatesan (Chairman MSFT India) till today, I have been reminding myself that this is not a dream.

  • What got u guys geared up for IC?

VM: This year’s theme environment seemed extremely challenging and it seemed our only way to payback to mother nature for all the atrocities that we do/commit and besides it was more about finishing the job we that we left half way last year.

PD: VESIT’s R&D lab has been working on development of Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) for the past two year. For creating sustainable environment, constant monitoring of climatic parameters is imperative. Here’s where WSNs play an important role. So basically we were geared up for the theme even before it was announced.

  • What made u team up together? Elaborate each individuals exclusivity

PD: To win IC one needs a team with great variety in talents. Ours is one such team. We call SD as PR GURU. She is amazing at handling corporate level presentations. By the way she’s already placed in Microsoft(MSFT). KD has a knack of working with MSFT technologies. VM is great at CS intricacies and coding. I have been working on integration of WSNs with .NET technology for quite sometime.

SD: Well, we all have our traits but work perfectly as a team. Krunal's extremely resourceful and knowledgeable, Paras is hell bent on finishing something once its begun, Veenit can get things done faster than you can blink..So, All of us coming together for IC was just a equation that fit perfectly.

  • Tell us something about your project and how is it in line with the MS sentiment of exploring your own creativity by creating software design solutions that enable a sustainable environment.

    PD:
    Our project ‘Kalpavriksha’ is a decision support system for precision agriculture. It breaks the conventional approach of considering farm lands as homogeneous. Instead we divide the whole land into smaller site to perform site specific crop management. We employ WSN to monitor the in-field variability of the soil and climatic parameters. Based on the collected sensor data, our application tries to optimize the utilization of agro-resources. Our main aim is to make sure that each site produces maximum yield. Agriculture has faced a major setback because of low yield and Kalpavriksha tries to solve it. This is how our solution adheres to IC’s theme.




  • What was it like to present in front of stalwarts from GE, IIMa, NASSCOm etc ? What was your strategy?
    VM:
    Its an honor to present in front of eminent personalities however the experience was worth taking the effort. Their thought process was way superior, as they delved into the intricacies of the system as if devouring each part of it and then cross questioning to test the knowledge of the presenter.

    SD: Well, its was intimidating to present in front of such knowledgeable people but they were perfect listeners and caught on to every word that was said. Their questions were also engineered with an outlook that was different from most people.
  • Did you guys get a pat on the back from any venture capitalist? What are the future prospects of this project?

VM: We did get encouragement via the panelists on stage. However R. K Misra showed keen interest in out project. He has an ongoing project called ‘change India and feels that out project fits in line with it. We will be contacting him soon. Moreover we also will be getting training from IIMA’s Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship regarding A-Z of incubation of projects and entrepreneurship. We are eagerly looking forward to it although it clashes with our Univ exams, we are ready to take on the challenge and make the most of the opportunity provided to us by Microsoft.

PD: Mr. Misra was really interested in our project. His speech inspires us to complete this project from a prototype to a complete system.

· Gyaan for the kids: ?who can goto IC

BV: Imagine cup is for those who can think creatively. Also it not only inspires u but also helps you to realise your potential by bringing the best out of you. Imagine cup is where talent meets innovation. IC is all around a theme that is a real problem. Its not a theme actually (but a real world problem).

SD: Imagine cup is all about the right mix of passion and dedication. You think your innovation can be implemented, then get out there and show everybody. Its all about making this world a better place using your innovative thoughts. So, your imagination->your implementation

KD: Imagine cup is, as(the) name suggest more of imagination and innovation. You need to take a step further to think above all (the) solutions available and proceed. It can be perceived as finding out new (a) solution or looking (at an) old solution in a new way and bettering it.

VM: Anybody who has passion for technology and thinks he has got in him what it takes to compete with the most innovative minds in the world can take part in the competition. All one needs is, to come up with a wacky idea in congruence with the theme and then build on it using Microsoft technologies.

· How was it to have a fellow batchmate(Bhavik Vora) to mentor the team?

SD: Bhavik's been a constant supporter and helped us out of many rough areas. He's really creative and has always been more confident about our team than we could ever be.

VM: Although quite a few people think that mentor should be some one older , however we feel a ,mentor is someone who can lead us and guide us. Bhavik did exactly that. He always kept on adding bits and pieces to our project idea trying to make it complete on all fronts. Moreover another advantage one has with a mentor of the same age is that there is zero communication barrier and hence easy flow of ideas and guidance.

KD: A mentor is friend at first place and Bhavik was really (the) one we needed. He has knowledge , brains (and he) knew us through .We couldn’t have expected more or given out more without him.

· Bhavik, tell us about your last years stint at IC that eventually got you placed at Microsoft.

BV: Well, the (top) ten teams were going be interviewed for the intership. I got through the tele-interview and had done an internship of 6 weeks. Well after that it was a cakewalk. The interview for recruitment was a formality.


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Monday, March 24, 2008

BARCAMP MUMBAI 3: It just got bigger

Barcamp Mumbai 3 is coming on the 29th March,2008 at IITB campus.The good news is that it just got bigger from its previous versions. Here are some highlights:


  • Accomodation (thats not lodging and boarding) for 300-400 participants has been arranged for; this time you might see mattresses on the IITB lawns.

  • BLOG CAMP MUMBAI STYLE is happening for the first time. Although the name and the logo are equally 'dhinchack' (flashy) this is something many would look forward to.

  • FIRETALK : the business idea and team development platform would be another stint that BCM has its tryst with. Although I am skeptical about the idea sharing affair: it has the potential of being an open source idea-snatching/robbing platform (it might just be the opposite,lets see how it is organised).

  • Sponsors: the wiki page shows a set of kewl sponsors , fat chance attendees might get some goodies and a fulfilling lunch :P

  • Over 300 candidates have registered on the wiki, so its going to be one hell of a networking event in mumbai.

  • I like the vada-pav logo (check it out on the BCM main page). Vada pav for mumbai: great(cheesy) branding.
PS: IF you have a question that goes like "WHAT IS BARCAMP?"
Ive written a paragraph from my first experience.
Tarun Chandel has summarised it beautifully (= precise and concise).


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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

peek-a-boo: Entrepreneurship and my escapades


This article was written for 'Vishwakarma', the annual magazine of Vivekananda Education Society's institute of Technology
(VESIT). Apart from the editor's request, the article was written to promote the spirit on entrepreneurship in my capacity as co-founder and promoter of The VESIT Entrepreneurship Cell (tVEC) established in Feb,2008.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Since the start of Feb,2008, there has been a lot of ‘buzz’ about entrepreneurship in the lands of VESIT. The launch and inception of The VESIT Entrepreneurship Cell (tVEC) finally took place after nearly four years of float-hood. Does it mean that VESIT has been hit by the entrepreneurial wave that’s spreading the world over? Have VESITians discovered a new career alternative that is poised to aid India becoming the next superpower?

The answer to those questions depends on the attributes of the aforementioned ‘buzz’. I decided to mingle with fellow VESITians to find out what exactly were they thinking about tVEC after the various smses, emails and word of mouth messages that were sent across inviting them to join in for a couple of activities and to apply for tVEC Associate without a formal orientation. Here are a few responses in random order:

“I got a 70% and the highest in my class is 78%.I don’t think I should engage myself into any activity now onwards.”
“I want to join in as an associate for tVEC, can you tell me something about this ‘society’ and what exactly is entrepreneurship?”
“Would I get a job through this organisation?”
“Why should I join in, what’s in it for me?”
“Keep up the Good work!”
“I’d like to interview an entrepreneur; it’ll be like an IV!”
My whole class is suddenly obsessed with flash cards and CAT! Where are the wannabe entrepreneurs of our batch really? Are there any at all here?”
“Aspiring for a better life is an entrepreneurial quality. I guess the whole class is on the right track.”

This experience taught me the importance of having FAQs on the website(tvec.vesit.edu), which was achieved immediately. However, this space should be used for a better purpose and so I’d rather focus on the brighter picture: A peek-a-boo on entrepreneurship and my escapades.

Enterpreneur:
Microsoft®Encarta ® defines him to be an individual who sets up and finances new commercial enterprises to make a profit; but I’d like to differ and define him as an individual who creates value and win-win situations by taking risks to optimise his resources. There is more than one way in which the term entrepreneurship has been defined, but each definition caters to the central idea of value creation.

I have an Idea but the bulb wont glow:

Entrepreneurship is often restricted to starting up a venture, so the first obstacle faced has to do with the idea. A student, who got four IIM interview calls, couldn’t see a point in associating himself with an entrepreneurship cell because he doesn’t have an idea. I think this guy represents a fair chunk of the student population who stop because of lack of ideas. The irony popped out when Vishal Prabhukhanolkar (Director, TenADay.co.in, Quetzal Online) told me about the fact that most students ,making it to a top B School interview, express their desire to be entrepreneurs when asked about their near future plans ( and the others are trained to say so). There is indeed some ‘cool’ associated with entrepreneurship if it is the ideal career alternative, at least for an interview. We’ll look into this at a later point.
A famous adage goes like “When you are thinking of an idea, someone is already implementing it.”

It sounds very smooth on the first read but has loads of experience stored behind it; a few weeks back, I learnt this the hard way. My exasperation was heavily exaggerated when I saw my book trading portal concept (designed for VESIT), being implemented in Georgia Tech University and now graduating into a Facebook Application. I dug out the pamphlet that we had distributed to test the market 2 years back; the promotional contents also resembled each other. The next thing that struck me after this adage is a common piece of advice that every entrepreneur gives: ‘Seize the opportunity, and implement the idea’ i.e. don’t wait for the bulb to glow.

The above example also shows that starting up is not all about having an idea. (Four years of rigorously referring to’ substandard textbooks’ gives us a fair tip about getting ideas.)

Network to Connect and Collaborate:

An intriguing attribute of entrepreneurs is their ability to interact and build relationships on the go. This inherent characteristic differentiates them from those who lack the mindset. Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia promoted the culture of collaboration (commercially known as user-generated content) in his recent visit to Mumbai. It is this collaborative effort that led to an avalanche in the accumulation of information that each of us use even for mundane causes. The habit of collaborating and growing is very prominent amongst entrepreneurs, which is contradictory to the bureaucratic introductions. All it takes these days is a couple of clicks on ‘Linked in’ and you get your man. tVEC is experimenting with tVECTribe, an online virtual network to facilitate collaboration amongst students, alumni and faculty (tvectribe.vesit.edu) .

Timing the Plunge | Should I work for some time?:

The idea looks awesome. You think it is the need of the hour. The team is pepped up. The finance jugaad is not a worry. The picture is rosy, yet there are doubts .It’s absolutely human and normal to feel so. The big question is to worship Nike (‘just do it’) or give a second thought?
How one tackles this dilemma depends on the strength of the entrepreneur’s character. If you keep thinking twice, you might find your idea in a Georgia Tech. On the other hand if you ‘just do it’, then there is a chance of meeting the fate of ‘aTEEtude Inc.’-another escapade!

I floated this venture with two friends: a designer from Sir JJ Institute of Art and a management undergraduate. We provided designing solutions in paper projects and T-shirts and set our eyes to compete with greats like Tantra and design sweatshirts for every college/university. Just out of the 12th grade, starting up was more of a glamorous fad than a well thought of plan; it had more to do with the cool, associated with advertising and branding than the much required supply chain building. We realised our follies and tried to improvise; bagged a few orders (including my class t-shirt) and moved at a slow rate; but it faded away, it had to, as it was just a passing fad that taught us a few tricks.

‘Floating the idea is an essential tool to test it’
I experienced this while working on my ventures and interning at start ups. My most recent intern stint was at MagNet Technologies, a 10 year old start-up, where I was evaluating the techno commercial feasibility of a VOIP based enterprise telephony system- Another shot at float- to- test; but the here I got to learn a set of seasoned tricks for testing the feasibility of the idea.

The underlying idea is to get hands on experience. Practical learning (entrepreneurial or academic) doesn’t happen reading TechMax Publications or Vidyalankar notes, it is via work experience (internships and floating ventures) that one learns the tricks of the trade; moreover they also help you in evaluating your future path. The question is whether to learn driving in your own car or at the training school?


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Monday, March 17, 2008

Virgin Mobile

"VIRGIN'S GOT MOBILE FOR IT'S NAMESAKE"


That would have been an apt headline if most of Indian youth were yet to have their tryst; but nevertheless theyll have their tryst with a VIRGIN now.

Sir Richard Branson, the man known for exhibhitting a brilliant combination of entrepreneurship with a taste for the adrenaline pumping adventures, once again suprises the masses with what seems to be the next big thing in consumer comunication.

Virgin Mobile was launched just a month ago and with what style! I heard that Branson did a bungee jump from aobove the Hilton Towers with a masisve Virgin logo as his backdrop. Thats how you welcome your guest- show them how happy you are to see them; by literally jumping (no sarcasm).

The more intriguing aspect about this uber cool brand targetted at the youth is the schemes it offers. One hplan that caught my eye is 'The Simple Plan'
Cost : Rs 99
Call Rate:
outgoing - Rs 1per min for the 1st 2 mins in a day. Rs 0.50 per min from the 3rd min onwards.
incoming- free + GET PAID to get calls at 10 paisa per minute!!

Now that's what a plan should be like and you call it a simple plan- too kewl!
(Technically if the cost of the plan is to be borne on a monthly basis, then the incoming profits get settled for; but nevertheless the outgoing is quite a bargain)

Surfing over their website I came across the Jobs link and one of the criteria for a prospective job seeker is :
'Drive them Crazy: The competition. We like driving them crazy. Can you do that? Can you play a part in creating offers so unique even we din’t hear of them earlier. We like setting trends and not following them. And that’s what we want - trendsetters."

The attitude, the branding, tv commercials and print ads look in pretty good shape,taste and place. I definitely see Virgin mobile taking over the young Indian market ahead of the other CDMA (and GSM too) operators.



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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

DESI NEWS(read ABUSE) CHANNELS


Yesterday I was surfing through almost all the channels listed in the acceptable spectrum for my 20 year old Onida with a desire to get a glimpse of Robocon 2008 on Sahyadri (now you know why I had to surf hard). I happened to pause at three Hindi News Channels : News 24, Aaj Tak and India TV.

News 24 is the same channel that had Shah Rukh Khan spending almost an hour at their studio, trying to understand (read: raising his eyebrow),for a promotional channel-launch gig in its initial days. They were trying hard to show how different they would remain from the other Commercial News channels.

Aaj Tak, (I had an impression) was pretty decent until 'kal tak'
Oh and India TV, lets not get in there; they deserve and entire post.

The basis of classifying these channels into a common bracket is because of the type of news they were broadcasting at the same time (when I needed to locate Sahyadri urgently)

SO what was that intriguing piece of news?
Channel 1:
Irfan Pathan extends his stay in Australia because it seems he has found his soulmate over ther in a 19 year old engineerig student in Cannberra.
Next, they interviewed one of his friends to ask how he feels to know Irfn has found some one in Australia; the friend was a footage lover and he spoke as if he had just released a big budget bollywood flick
The backdrop video was mercilessly looped and made me feel hazy so i flipped the chaneln to land on another hindi news channel.

Channel 2:
BREAKING NEWS!!! Sreesanth has expressed his feelings of love to Priyana Chopra. We've got hold of a tape whose authenticity we are not sure of (but we'd still love to spend some freely available air time to boost our TRPs)
The tape was then played. I heard it for the fun of it; fliped the channel when they began analysing the tape

Channel 3:
Yuvraj Singhs heart has been broken. He has split from the new kid on block-Bollywood, Depika Padukone (her pic with Ranbir Kapur is flashed now). After his split from (another actress) Yuvraj seemed to settle down, his family also had approved of the girl, but now its all over.
In such a situation,Yuvraj would now sing the song "Oye Raju pyaar na kariyoo kariyo,dil toot jaata hai" the song played in the backdrop and I remembered something : I was hunting for Sahyadri!

Immidiately the Auto search option was selected more due to the fear of stumbling across another Desi News channel; lets do them some branding 'Abuse Channel'


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Monday, February 18, 2008

Jumbo King takes on Mcdonalds

I came across this print ad over the window pane in a Churchgate fast the other day.
The print ad is from Jumbo King. The branded vada pav vendor seems
to have rolled up his sleeve to match it up with Ray Croc's networking burger franchisee. I had once spoken to Ms Gupta (founder of Jumbo King) regarding an event sponsorship and she politely declined, emphasising that they target the railway commuters and promote their brand much in and around the railway stations. I can say , they have lived upto the claim , but branded themselves around the Mcdonald's theme.

Looking at the red and yellow theme of the print ad above very few would be reminded of McDonald's, but moving ahead to the tag line "always loved it!" with an inverted "M" from McDonalds; there would be very few who would not be reminded of the burger brand that is currently using the tag line "I'm loving it!"
After 4 crore vada paavs (burp!) being sold, do we get to see another desi -multinational acquisition?






copyrights reserved by Pseudonormicks and boy luvarien.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed are solely the author's and are subjective.They are not intended to influence,offend or hurt anybody living or dead.The articles may have a tendency to be satirical and or sarcastic.


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Friday, February 08, 2008

PRATIBIMB ‘08

- FestBitch

If you heard the chants of “Aamchi aai tumchi aai, Veermata Jijabai” on the 1st and 2nd of Feb this year, then you probably were hanging around in Matunga, in the vicinity of VJTI. The sounds were getting ‘reflected’ from Pratibimb , the annual intercollegiate cult fest of VJTI, that saw over 15 colleges participating. The crowd was low in number but the VJTIans certainly knew how to dhamaal. This year, Pratibimb manifested a lot of creative events spread across various domains and they were all pretty smoothly managed.

Day 1 saw people running around the campus playing detective in the event called F.B.I. While the classroom events were buzzing on and off with participants, the quadrangle looked pretty empty (see pic). Mega events like The Apprentice (similar to the one by Trump and there was some CEO judging a round too!) and Press conference kept the participants busy for both the days. Press conference tested the journo-capability of the participant by means of tasks ranging from debating, attending a press conference and acting elite journos in a (M)UN session :shooting queries to the delegates in order to write a report. The quadrangle was catering to mega events like solo singing and blast of bands contest; however the lack of crowd in a decent number just made it look like an ordinary event during the afternoon. However, the few people were evacuated from the quadrangle to enable security check for the blast of bands in the evening. As usual, the quadrangle was arranged to divide the guys and girls into physically isolated regions, with the section behind occupied by the impulsive dancers. The contest saw a few amateur bands trying hard to rock the crowd, but the VJTIians ain’t that easy to please. ‘Ehsaas’ , a 3 day old band, bagged the trophy given to them by members of the band Talaash who were judging the contest. Later the MC introduce 64-bits as an ‘angrezi band’ for those left behind by the ‘angrez’ (did someone talk about globalisation?)However, the treat of the day was Talaash, they rocked the juntaa to the core.

Day2 marked the continuation of Press conference, The apprentice and the culmination of other events. The crowd wasn’t seen in the quadrangle until the evening, so participants of events like the personality contest missed the desired crowd encouragement .The MUN club of VJTI had organised the VJ MUN which saw the session of the security council on day 2.The event was brilliantly planned and executed ; in fact, at first sight, the conference room seemed like the actual UN council conference room( maybe because I haven’t seen the actual one for real )The delegate of USA from RJIT won the event bagging a crystal-glass trophy and some goodies. The evening was euphoric! The solo and group dances were won by some scintillating performances from VESIT. The catch of the event came in the end: NEON DANCE! You should have been there to see the awesomely unbelievable performances by BES College,Borivali and Tolani college who jointly won the event. BES’ performance was centred on FIDO DIDO and they live performed the ping-pong matrix video from Youtube in addition to the triple role dance by Fido. Tolani’s theme was based on the co-existence of aliens and humans , but the crowd was turned on the moment they performed the MARIO! An entire level of Mario , including the 1ups,kicking the mushrooms, speed ups, headers to the ?-bricks all synced with the original background sound of the game was performed live!

video


Overall Pratibimb ’08 was a fun place to be and has certainly come ahead from its previous versions. Known faces like Arzoo Govitrikar, members ofAasmaa , Ruslan(MP3 fame) etc were seen during the fest. However, there exists some scope to improve: Most events were judged and headed by second/third year students and VJTIians were allowed to participate; this obviously was the reason why external participants cribbed of biased results. The MCs can be given a crash course on anchoring a ‘mega’ event with due emphasis on learning newer action words other than variations of ‘rock’. The prize money concerned a few participants, as the amount seemed to be too low to accept (for some).With such a varied kitty of events, a couple of Crossover events can certainly be implemented with very little brainstorming. Given the capability of the VJTI students, with these factors taken care of , Pratibimb surely looks to grow faster and get even more impactful with time.




copyrights reserved by Pseudonormicks and boy luvarien.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed are solely the author's and are subjective.They are not intended to influence,offend or hurt anybody living or dead.The articles may have a tendency to be satirical and or sarcastic.


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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales at Techfest '08

"Imagine a world where anybody has access to the sum of human knowledge"
And if Wikipedia is the first search result that you imagined, then you're right there!
Jimmy Wales, the funder of Wikipedia was in town and the quote above was according to him responsible for the Genesis of the revolutionary encyclopedia.

Wales walked up the dais to a standing ovation by the enthusiastic crowd only to figure out a mic failure at IITB's convocation hall. However the dint goof up for too long and Wales announced to that in addition to the Techfest trophy just given out ( to IITB of course), he'd like to give out another award to the crowd: that of the biggest audience he has ever addressed.

Wales presented on the history of Wikipedia, its present and the future course of path.He emphasized on the importance of the collaboration culture while giving out various facts and figures that also included a video of the Wiki projects in Africa.

Wales' philosophy of a collaborative culture is to make things as open and public as possible ad keep open the possibility of spontaneous goodwill and discover the bad possibilities in the due course as against the very popular idea of apprehending the negative outcomes and taking precautions in advance.
He thinks, by doing this we can make it cheaper for a person to do good deeds and raise the cost of the bad deeds/possibilities. Wikipedia blocks users and IP addresses to moderate content and keep away the bad guys.

Wales also stated the importance of blogging and that the best of bloggers are akin to the opinion columnists at the NYT.

  • When asked about the uncyclopedia, Jimmy Wales said that he loved the spoof so much that they bought it and is now a part of wikipedia.
  • On Google's Knol: A leading magazine had nicked him as a threat to Google, but Wales says they're friendly with Google and Knol is not a competitor because of its nature of operation.
  • On when will Wiki saturate: Wikipedia English may be done with on this Tuesday, or maybe Wednesday.. its like a lot of new info is coming up and we cant really say when we'll be done with. But theres a lot of scope in the other languages especially Indian and African languages.


Jimmy Wales if not the best orator Ive heard is certainly got the vision it needs to change the walk of world. All in all, hes not another brick in the wall.








copyrights reserved by Pseudonormicks and boy luvarien.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed are solely the author's and are subjective.They are not intended to influence,offend or hurt anybody living or dead.The articles may have a tendency to be satirical and or sarcastic.


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Monday, January 28, 2008

BarCamp Techfest 01

Its been long since I wanted to be at a BarCamp, and finally i got a chance this Sunday at Techfest '08 IITB .Before listing my notes Id like to share what fascinated me in this concept and a little insight about what a BarCamp is all about.

The barcamp has got nothing to do with the booze and the bar.This concept was started by Chris Messina and the name is inspired by FooCamp that has restricted membership. The BarCamp is an open platform to share and gain knowledge in an informal way. Its like one of those dream classrooms where you don't need permission to walk in or out and you could do that even mid way if you're not enjoying the discussion; just to walk into another classroom. As far as the discussions go, anybody can take up center stage for about 20-30 min max and present on any topic to an audience who're either wi-fied with their laptops or just glued to their notepads. In fact I just missed this little school kid present on an offbeat topic, and boy! The kid was all pepped up with his laptop as a member of the audience later.The BarCamp also exhibits tremendous potential in terms of a networking platform. The boards outside these classrooms had various chits stuck onto them offering job opportunities and collaboration invitations; I just happened to get a freelance opportunity because of this. Moreover, the BarCamp has no shape, you can mould it the way you want to. A couple of entrepreneurs exploited this fundaa to launch their companies at BarCamp Techfest.

Notes:
1) Mykavita.com launched. A webportal based on the wordpress platform supported by the creative commons liscencing that allows users to upload poems in various Indian languages.

2) Language translation is a highly sought after tool on the internet. Research on ease of translation from any given language to any other language and vice versa(not just english to langage x and vice versa).

3)Mobile devices going a long way with the open source platform. If there ain't Linux down ur mobile phone , you better shove it up or get one with it.

4) Nokia cellphones not to be addressed as 'cellphones'. They are refered to as 'computers' at their Finland base. Its akin to a crime for an employee to use the term 'phone'.

5)The ipod touch has everything that an iphone has except phone calls and smses. Atul chitnis recommends the pod ,as the phone has poor voice quality and can send only a single sms at the time(no group smses).

6)Open Moko, the ope souce phone has come up with an improved GUI and a rare 640x480 touchscreen.

7)The major cost of developing a cellphone lies in the software and not in its hardware.

8) BarCamp Rocks!


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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed are solely the author's and are subjective.They are not intended to influence,offend or hurt anybody living or dead.The articles may have a tendency to be satirical and or sarcastic.


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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Elecrama '08: the industrial electronics hub

  1. Its not the best thing to do when you decide to visit Elecrama on the last day, not only do u gasp at its humongous outreach as a first timer but you are also left asking for more.
Ive been postponing my visit to this international industrial electronics exhibition ever since my first year in Electronics engineering, but now in the final year , the guilt was to high to ignore, so i made a business class visit with my uncle.
Elecrama '08 in its eight year had over 1000 exhibitors in addition to select student projects spread across the entire areas of the Bombay Exhibhition Center. That just explains why people ain't done in a day(no pun intended).The event was held for four days and manifested a smooth and delightful visit for the guests.

VESIT has been consistently winning the trophy in the students category, and this year too they bagged the first and third prizes from among the five projects they submitted.The winners had designed an excellent solution for industrial power distribution by making it completely wireless(thats like wi-fi switch controls for machines from a central room). The runners up were from K.J Somaiya's Baraccuda team (the F1 car they recently produced), but the project was to lame for the second place. Why would you replace a remote by a wheel-paddle setup to drive a toy car with a camera? Well engineers don't take Economics too seriously, so real estate is literally a bubble.The 2nd runners up again from VESIT, had presented a prototype of an uber cool wireless telemetry system named 'Scryer'(see pic). Apart from technical excellence, the VESIT exhibitors manifested professionalism in their attire, presentation ; they even had brochures stocked to distribute akin to the industrial exhibitors, that made my uncle ask what exactly was I doing in this engineering college,just to get back a smirk.

All said and done, this place is certainly worth a visit if you looking for some kind of a solution for your business or just wish to keep yourself abreast with the latest happenings in the industrial field


copyrights reserved by Pseudonormicks and boy luvarien.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed are solely the author's and are subjective.They are not intended to influence,offend or hurt anybody living or dead.The articles may have a tendency to be satirical and or sarcastic.


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