Twilight of the Cockroaches

Have you ever found yourself late at night heading to the kitchen ?
I do this all the time: on a clandestine mission to finish off the last piece of guava cheese before other members of my clan can get their paws on it, not to mention the dog.Gropping for the wall I walk guided only by the faint light percolating from my distant room behind me. Finnally I reach my the rendezvous point and then proceed to search desperately for the light switch. Sometimes I wish I was tiger. No, I have no yearning to be on the endangered species list, I just heard they have 40% percent better night vision than humans. Just imagine, if you had 'tiger vision'. You easily could 'eye' the beautiful young thing sitting next to you in the shadows of the rather predictable chick flick you were watching just for the side show. Side effects may include a better golf handicap.

Flick of the switch and the tubelight decides to flicker and buzz till it whimsically switches on
I'm not alone some madagascaran, german and american guests scampered around unafraid of the human in their midst. Many a person I find suffer from a 'cockroach' phobia. Fear of such a creature would only be natural seeing that a cockroach can hold its breath for 45 minutes and has the ability to slow down its heart rate.

Deviating a little I have an extract I want you to think about. Here does.

People who like to think of themselves as tough-minded and realistic tend to take it for granted that human nature is 'selfish' and that life is a struggle in which only the fittest survive. According to this view, the basic law people must live with is the law of the jungle. The 'fittest' are the people who can bring to the struggle of a superior force, superior cunning and superior ruthlessness.
-S. L Hayakawa in Language in Thought and Action.

Examining Mr Hayakawa's words closely I get a sense that something is wrong. I sense the need for updation. Eventhough 'fitness' is a valid criterion for survival it cannot be the only assertion.
"Only the fittest survive" in my mind is a half true statement. This brings me to my first case

Case 1
Dinosaurs Vs Cockroaches

Ladies and gentlemen welcome to what promises to be an entertaining fight. At the red corner we have Cockroach 'Cunning' Cunningham from Carboniferous Era and in the blue corner we have Dinosaur 'fearfully great' Lizard from the Mesozoic Era. Well come to think about this less a boxing match and more a reality television show but the result is the same knock out.
The dinosaurs are fit, strong, formidable and largely successfully at finding their next meal. Eventhough the cockroach don't exactly exemplify physical strength it's trump card is it's ability adapt to adverse and challenging situations.
Testing times come. Eventhough Mr Dinosaur is strong and fit and could even be called the 'fittest of the fit' the alpha species. But his ability to change could only be compared to an reactionary republican. While our friend the cockroach sees a space and parallel parks. Nature plays musical chairs and the result R.I.P Dinosaurs.
"Ting Ting Ting" the cockroaches - the winner.

By now you probably thinking.
"What a weirdo. He's infatuated with cockroaches"'
Quiet to the contrary I detest them but it doesn't stop me from admiring their resilience and ability to master any playing field.

Case 2
The Greatest Horse Whip Company the world has ever seen.

There was once this company that manufactured the worlds finest horse and buggy leather whips. They where the best at what they did and took pride at doing it well and with great efficiency. Their product was the hallmark of all leather whips anywhere, the creme de la creme and
they sold it everywhere from the americas to the orient. They looked like they would go on forever making horse whips but then came the invention of something called the horse-less carriage.
CEO of then big horse-whip company laughed at idea of a horse-less carriage and dismissed the idea at it's face value. How wrong was he this 'laughable' idea caught on. The sales of horse whips everywhere started to plummet. Down and down the numbers went.
History is hard to those who do not anticipate change and change fast enough. This marks the end of my story and with it the end of the greatest horse whip company the world as ever seen.

This brings me to point.
Darwin said
It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.

Respectfully, Mr Hayakawa it's not fittest that are most likely survive but as Darwin said the most responsive to change.
That's why I feel a species like the Cockroaches will live forever and a Company like Google, provided there is innovation is likely to grow even more.

If you have any counterpoints or any more anecdotes please do share them with me.

How the world see's America.



The Economist has an article on the how the world see's America. The results of which are not suprising but still quiet interesting.
As you can see India is pretty high up on the list countries that favour America.
Pew asked its respondents to give favourability ratings to five nations: America, France, Germany, Japan and China. America came bottom of everyone's list everywhere except in India, where it was top, Poland, where it was in the middle and China, where it came above Japan.
Look at this

The Pew poll even raises questions about how far others still see America as the land of opportunity, as Americans do. One question asked: �Suppose a young person who wanted to leave asked you to recommend where to go to lead a good life�what country would you recommend?� Nobody except the Indians picked the United States first



You ask a Pakistani and he/she says China.

Listen, Sync, Create : A look at Odeo



There is some bathroom reverb as the somewhat gruff voice of Biz Stone streams through my media player but the end product is quiet smooth and funny. Just a few minutes I downloaded this from Evan William [blogger founder] & Noah Glass's new 'invitation' only venture Odeo.

O'Riely's popular techzine Make describes Odeo as a "podcast recording, hosting and publishing service".
Evhead hopes Odeo will do for podcasting what blogger did for blogging
That brings me to the much asked and answered question these days is what is PODCASTING ?Wikipedia explains it best.
Podcasting is a way of publishing files to a website that allows users to subscribe to the site and receive new files as they are posted. Most podcasts are spoken word audio created by individuals, often on a particular theme such as technology or movies. Because new files are downloaded automatically by subscribers, podcasting allows individuals to have a self-published, syndicated radio show."

So how does Odeo look,feel and work ?
For starters it's organized into three connected sections.
  • listen - Which allows the user to browse, listen , tag and comment on, various podcasts.It also enables the user to 'sync' or subscribe to a particular podcast you like. This brings me to the second second section.
  • Sync - The sync section queues up you favorite podcasts. So that you could download them via Odeo's platform Odeo Synr and listen to them at leisure on your media player or your ipod.
  • Create - This section isn't up yet but promises to allow the user to create and share podcast of you own.
Summing up, I think the fully functionally odeo hopes to be a flickr like community of podcasters of varied backgrounds and professionalism.


Here are some screenshots from Odeo.
-
The main page


Odeo Syncr


The Create page.

Quick Visits

I was reading the paper today morning and sadly there weren't any politicos opening sari symposiums.

One of the papers were headlined to say that the no.2 ambani, who the press lovingly call anil paid a quick visit to the prime-minister [abbreviated as pm] the finance miniser [abreviated ad fm] and Maran [to be understood as the telecom minister and thankfully not abbreviated as TM].

Ambani junior is obviously rich and powerful and he probably has all these guys on the contact list of his mobile phone but I was wondering if I had something important to say will it be possible for me to ever meet any of the above mentioned people. I think not.

May be if I had a billion dollars things would be differrent.

Then probably then I could call up the Prime minister and tell him.
"Prime Minister saab , please save me from my aweful older brother and and I'll let soniaji fly to moscow in my jet. "

Pune Photo Diary.

Pune Photo Diary.

Pune - India
[taking at Shaniwar Wada, Pune]

Photo/Pictures are regular features on this blog and have been for some time.
Here my most recent addition to my Photo diaries, the Pune Dairy. All pictures were taken in and around Pune during the last month.

Shaniwar Wada(fort)
[Shaniwar Wada front]{note - the first picture was taken from the top balcony}



122_2239
[Taking in some of the sights.]

Shaniwar Wada served as a palace but nothing remains of this palace as it was gutted in a fire.

Off J.M[Jungle Maharaj] road lies, Pune oldest living heritage,The Cave Temples of Pataleshwar.


121_2163
[Pataleshwar Temples- Carved out of one big rock]

Orange Doorways
[Orange Doorways - still Pataleshwar]

Indian Summer
[siesta time !]

Roots
[Roots]

After walking around you sure feel hungry. Lucky's Biriyani to the rescue. Lucky's and Cafe Goodluck are among deccan food establishmnet. Long live irani restaurants eh?

Biriyani - India. Chicken Rissoto
[Chicken Biriyani at Lucky's - Rs 55 /-]{NOTE - yum !}

Gypsy Women
[Lambadi Women - taken at my house from the terrace]

With the old come the new. Pune happens to be India boom towns and has amazing growth in the past decade.
Here a sparkling new mall in Pune

120_2047
[ Mall mania]

That's all folks for now. If you want look at some more pictures go over my flickr page.

Here are some my old Photo Diaries.

India's Second Favourite Sport

Where has all the rain gone ? [UPDATE]

It's already 16th June and there is no sight(or sound) of the monsoons.There was some rain- the day before but after that nothing. The newspapers are talking about the monsoons going on a break.

Monsoon advance halts over India [via Times of India]

PUNE: If you're planning to take a monsoon break, hold on, because the monsoons are themselves on a break.

The progress of southwest monsoons has halted in India since June 8 when it touched Goa. It has failed to advance northwards since then, even as there are no indications of a revival in the next two days.


The monsoon hollidaying in Goa - typical isn't it ?

They should revive in the coming weeks adds the met department. In the mean time let there be sweltering heat.



India's Second Favourite Sport


There comes a time in every Indian year, this magical time then the first monsoon rains douse the sweltering summer to an end. We here in Pune we are being treated to some gloriously refreshing �pre-monsoon� rain.
For 3 days straight now they have been pouring down on us, every evening taking the mercury down with them.

Indians are pretty much like the English when it comes to their love of weather prediction especially when it comes to monsoons.

When are they coming� said an impatient Indian.

I�m telling you, there is going to be a drought again this year and government is not going to a thing� said the pessimistic Indian.

They�ve hit Kerala� says another with much glee.

Good rains will be good for the market� said one sitting in his shop watching CNBC.

I predict good rains and a train accident all at the same time� said a turbaned man in an orange kurta gazing into the palm of another.

My parrot could have told you that for half the price� says the man sitting next to him.


Our calculations tell us that the precipitation in question will hit of India on the 9th of July and hit and upper Bay of Bengal there after. If you look at the satellite picture�
says the one behind in white lab coat behind the thick soda bottle glass spectacles.


I�m sure Monsoon prediction is India�s second favorite sport [after cricket]. Around the end of May - in homes, hostels, offices, hotels, restaurants, chai shops, desi daru bars, pan shops. R&D centers, hospitals, dance bars- every where along the length and breath of the country people dream of the first rains coming down and rescuing them from �the villain No 1�. �Tan-tan-nan� {Hindi picture style), The Summer

They call it the Indian summer for a reason; on certain days all you need is one egg and a sufficiently clean rock to make a fried egg.


But like everything else, when it�s the middle July and your outside and you�re
so drenched that you feel like a fish, in knee-deep in water, the umbrella
above you is torn to shreds by the onslaught of vicious razor sharp
raindrops that when you get a little sick of it.


My Indian Broadband Story.

My Indian Broadband Story.
Suprising answer to my Broadband Quest in Pune.


It�s no secret that I�ve been wanting to get a broadband connection here in Pune and junk my obsolete, slow dial-up connection. So I weighed all my options and started at looking at all the possible broadband service providers. My search started around the end of October [last year], and I decided to go with Tata DSL, which looked to me as one of the better service providers. So I called up their customer service number where the guy, asked me a bunch of questions [sales plan etc.] and told me that one of their sales team members will get in touch with within 48 hours. 48 hours that didn�t come, which forced me to call their them up on a number of occasions but they never seemed they�re sales people never seemed to ever call me up.
By this time it was already the end of November.

Late November was about the time when, unknown to me, our erstwhile Government [of India] announced a policy called National Internet Backbone � 2 {NIB-2}. NIB-2 involved the process of commissioning a world class, multi-gigabit, multi-protocol, convergent IP Infrastructure, that will provide convergent services through the same backbone and broadband access network. Which in layman�s meant the government and government agencies were obligated to provide broadband services to 138 cities and towns.

Anyways, I decided to up a gear on my Tata DSL perusal. It doesn�t speak for the professionalism of a firm when the customer has to pursue a sale team. That�s what I did; I drove to their office. The sales executive paid me some lip service and for bit I thought I was getting somewhere, but then he told me that their current bandwidth in my neighborhood is fully utilized and they�ll have to dig in some more wire. This was the point, I realized it was best to say good bye to my broadband dream. Digging in new wire I knew wasn�t going to feasible for them especially for one customer but at the same time they can�t tell me off so they�ll probably promise me a connection and wave me away.
That�s what they did they told me that they�ll lay in the wire as soon as possible and contact me. I�m still waiting.
A major problem with DSL broadband is what they call last mile connectivity. Many companies have the fiber and copper networks but find it increasing expensive to connect it to your home. Also others companies have the wire and can connect it your home but like the case of Tata DSL the bandwidth already fully utilized.

My next course of action was that it would be best to wait till another large service provider enters the market somebody like Reliance or Bharti.

BSNL the state owned telecom, an unlikely answer to my prayers. Following the
NIB-2 BSNL launched broadband services for the home. I was a little lazy and apprehensive at first so it was time before I called them. Their call-center operator asked me the usual details and told me somebody from BSNL will contact me. Guess what within 24hrs I got a call from a lady from Modern Colony branch of BSNL. This has really impressed me and is making me rethink what I thought about my landline operator.


-15 days later �

Broadband. I�m happy.


It's probably more difficult to get a broadband connection in a 'non-metro' like Pune. National private player couldn't care less as they're sometimes only concerned with metro circles. Enter govenment Pubic Service Utility which suprisingly does the job.I think this would also fall true for rural mobile cirles.



.

Blog Pandemic

Blog Pandemic

Books, Glorious Books - Second Hand books
Remember chain mails, yeah those vile polluters of your inbox that vowed dark consequences if you didn't spreading their evil seeds. I would rate them just below the Nigerian email scams in most disliked things in your inbox.
The blogoshere in recents months is sufferring from the slightly more refined variant of chain mails in the form of book and music memes.It's a bloody pandemic everywhere you turn you find list and lists of them.

It just shows now connected the blogesphere is.

No I'm not complaining. I just bracing for more of these.

I was book-tagged by Anand of Locana, Harini of POV and Vulturo.
I was music-tagged by Satish of Appliblog and Rahul of Livinghigh.

"Yeah, I'm combining both the memes it's make it simpler AND Books and Music"

On to question one.

Volume of Books(owned) and Music(stolen)?


Books are great they are easy inherited and Music easily stollen.

My collection is an amalgamation of my dad's and my grandmothers collections both huge readers.I add my 5 cents here and there.I would put them at 800 books in Pune and about the same in Bombay.

Music are so easily stolen, I should be on the RIAA most wanted list. I would put it at about 30 Gb.Well I use bit-torrent to pimp stuff.
"P2P is dead, Long live P2P"
I also ocassionally buy music but think the process to be archaic.

Last book/Cd I bought ?

The book I bought was Julius by Daphne Du Maurier.
The book till now chronicles the sometimes autistically cold Julius, always on the look out for the "something for nothing". It's fast entering my list of favourites.
I also bought The World is Flat by Thomas Friedmen when I was in dehli. I reviewed it here.

The last CD is bought was Bruce Springsteen's Devils and Dust. It was fiercely acoustic countryish album. Not bad is my verdict. I looking out for the new Oasis and Coldplay albums.


Books/Songs That Mean a Lot to Me.

- Books -

God Speaks
by Meher Baba

God Speaks incorporates all of life into a spiritual saga. The only protagonist is God, and his story encompasses all individual biographies. It is God himself who becomes the three basic processes for the growth and transformation of consciousness: evolution, reincarnation and involution (the spiritual path of return to Himself).

I Heard God Laughing: Renderings of Hafiz
by Hafiz, Daniel Ladinsky

Fabulous of collections of Poems ever written I would think. Some of the feeling must have been lost in the translation but oh boy! they are powerful.


"Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!": Adventures of a Curious Character
by Richard P. Feynman

Feynman surely the coolest physicists ever. The book at most can be described as intelligent,unusual and funny.


The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy
by Douglas Adams

Not worthy of my description.


- Music -

  1. Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppellen
  2. Wonderwall - Oasis
  3. Paranoid Robot - Radiohead
  4. Last Kiss - Pearl Jam
  5. Message in a Bottle - The Police

- Nominations -

I hereby nominate Anna , Nick (I doubt you'll comply), Phal & Rahul(livinghigh)& Geetanjalli [do the books meme],Kathak and Rahul.

If I've missed someone I'm sorry I'll nominate you when the movie meme comes out

.