Archive for May, 2009

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The Language of the Royals

May 29, 2009
She was a new recruit to the organization. The induction program was going on, as a part of which she and her newly joined colleagues were given a briefing on the technologies that they would be using to work – just a formal brush up before being assigned to teams. There was a presentation to be given at the end of the training – each recruit was given a separate topic so that everyone could learn.

She was from a small town, far away from the big metropolitan capital of the state. Till her 12th Standard, she studied in a Tamil medium school (The local language of that state). There on, she went to the only engineering college at the outskirts of her town. The sudden change in the medium of instruction was quite difficult for her at the beginning. Not that she didn’t like English, both English and Tamil were her favourite subjects at school. She got more marks than others in these two subjects. But back then, she only studied English as a subject. Now she was enrolled in an engineering course, in which she had to study all the subjects in English. Not only that, some of the words were too technical and too complicated. The only way she could absorb what was written in the text book was to translate the lines into Tamil. Every line. And then memorize the English lines. It was an arduous task, but slowly she picked up. But it was a huge task to even clear the examinations. Her professor would ask, “Don’t you know the meaning of chip set?” when she asked about it, and she would think ‘If all the technical books were available only in Tamil, you would struggle with even ‘Min Anjal‘ ‘, which was email in Tamil.

So, when she joined this job, she was impressed by the English that was so carelessly and fluently spoken by her colleagues. She was taken aback by the way they were asking questions and even talking with each other. She never heard anyone speak English like that, in her town. She was actually nervous about the presentation. There were even a couple of mock presentations done by her seniors, so that they could become familiar with the format. And one of the senior made such a beautiful presentation that everyone were stunned. It was not only about her language, but the confidence, the poise, the demeanour, the clarity, and what not!

After the presentation, she saw that senior in the cafeteria. She went and introduced herself and told what she thought about the presentation. They also discussed her background, how she was uncomfortable with the language and her nervousness about the first presentation that she had to give in English.

“I will give you an idea. Make a good presentation, let it be well researched and informative. On the day of the presentation, just go to the front and read it from the LCD projector screen. Just add a couple of points of your own in the middle”

“Can I get away with that?”

“Yes, as long as the presentation that you are going to give is technically informative, you can. I too started like that. Focus on the content, not the language. The purpose of a language is to enable us to express, and not hinder our expression”

Her respect for the senior grew even more. Focus on the content, not the language. For a small town girl, that was a huge consolation. She always thought that people were judged in the big cities only by their style of speaking English. She was however determined to make the utmost efforts to learn to speak good English.

She would, eventually.

She would even live to see the day when her kids would call her ‘Mamma’ instead of ‘Amma’. She would live to see the day when her friends would abuse the native language by mixing so many English words unnecessarily, while speaking the native language. She would live to see the day when the majority of the local population would ignore the rich literature available in thier language, forget contributing anything to it!

Destination Infinity

You could visit the ‘Short stories (Fiction)’ section of this blog for reading similar stories.

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How Google got its first funding

May 25, 2009


This excerpt has been taken from the book “The Google Story” written by David A Vise. It is an excellent book and I recommend that everyone read it.

On a sunny California morning in late August 1998, Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Founders of Google) sat on the front porch of a Palo Alto house eagerly awaiting the arrival of a Silicon Valley angel (Investor). One of their graduate school professors, David Cheriton, suggested that it would be a good idea for them to meet his friend Andy Bechtolsheim, a computer whiz and legendary investor in a string of successful start-ups.

Cheriton had piqued Bechtolsheim’s interest in Brin and Page by telling him that the students had a “great idea” to show him: they had invented a better way to find revelant information fast on the internet. He seemed interested. He wanted to know more. How far could the guys run with the idea? Page confidently told Bechtolsheim that they could download, index, and rapidly search the entire internet using a network of low cost computers. The only problem was that they didn’t have the money to buy the machines.

After Brin and Page displayed the demo and chatted with him, Bechtolsheim appreciated and understood the breakthroughs that enabled Google to produce superior search results. He also admired something else about Brin and Page. Instead of wasting lots of money on advertising or high-end equipment, they wanted to buy motherboards and other components to inexpensively build computers themselves. They also wanted to develop a fully searchable database before going out to talk to venture capital firms about possible funding. And they wanted to let their search engine speak for itself. Satisfied that he had seen and understood a demonstration of a better technology that had the potential to address a real problem, Bechtolsheim wasted no time asking about the bottom line.

“The key question about any internet start up is, ‘how are you going to make money’ he said. I never get sucked into deals with no economic merit”. He reviewed the various possibilities: build an audience of computer users by giving away the Google search engine for free, and then profit from ads or by selling something. They also talked with Bechtolsheim about licensing search technology to companies that would pay to use it. And there was always the possibility that a large company might buy the technology and include it in its mix of products.

“This is the single best idea I have heard in years”, Bechtolsheim said. “I want to be part of this”. He proposed immediately writing a cheque so they could build their computers and he could be on his way to his next appointment. No negotiations. No discussions of stock or valuation. Bechtolsheim didn’t even know that Brin and Page had not formally created a company. But details like that didn’t bother him. Instead of discussing all the details, Brin recalled, Bechtolsheim wrote a cheque made out to “Google Inc” for $100,000, a figure he picked because it was a nice, round number.

Page put the cheque in his desk drawer for safe keeping, where it remained for two weeks until the pair incorporated Google and opened the first bank account in the newly established company’s name, so they had somewhere to deposit it.

What do you think of that? Of course, considering the attention span of the internet readers, I have not included some more content and analysis that came in between in the book, to keep it short.

Destination Infinity

You could visit the ‘Non-Fiction’ section of this blog for reading similar articles.

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Seven useful things you can do with Google Search

May 25, 2009

So, you use Google only for searching??

The following are seven more useful things that you can do with Google Search. Try them out.

1. Calculator : Try typing 100*45/23 into the search bar and press enter.
2. Dictionary: Try typing define euphemism into the search bar and press enter.
3. Weather: Try typing weather mumbai into the search bar and press enter.
4. Current time of any place: Try typing time chicago into the search bar and press enter.
5. Unit conversion: Try typing 25 inches in centimeters into the search bar and press enter.
6. Searching for Synonyms too: Try typing ~euphemism into the search bar and press enter.
7. Currency conversion: Try typing 1 USD in INR into the search bar and press enter.

I wish I had known this earlier…. did you ppl know?

Destination Infinity

You could visit the ‘Concepts and ideas’ section of this blog for similar articles.

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My new website on IP network infrastructure – www.excitingip.com

May 21, 2009

Hi ppl,

I have launched a new website http://www.excitingip.com

It is about IT Network infrastructure. All of you would be using a PC in your office for connecting to the internet, checking mails etc. Some of you might also be using wireless network (Wi-Fi) to connect. You may be using IP Phones which directly connects to the network port to talk to on site people and you may have seen the IP cameras and IP Video conferencing systems. There are a lot more applications that can be enabled on an enterprise network. And a lot of systems, technologies and infrastructure are behind such networks and the applications they enable on IP. Since I have been working on that domain, I thought I could launch a professional blog/website in the same domain to share information and learn. I am also looking to monetise that website later on.

So, I request all of you – my blog pals, to have a look at the website and tell me frankly your first impressions. Since it is a slightly technical topic, it may not interest all of you but do let me know if you liked the theme, design, accessibility, categorization, idea of having a forum there, the tag line and anything else. Don’t bother subscribing to it if it is not relevant as it is for a specific category of people as mentioned in that site.

The website (Actually it is a blog) is on self hosted version of wordpress (www.wordpress.org) which is different from the site that we host our personal blogs. I have taken some shared server space and registered that domain name with Bluehost. The theme I am using there is Magazine basic (a magazine style theme) and I have also installed a forum plug in called Simple Forum for wordpress.

Let me know what else I could add there – I am planning to add that feedburner feature of emailing the posts (As it is focussed on a vertical, I think it will be useful to interested people). Do you think I should put a logo there? Please pen down your suggestions in the comments section and also your tips. If you have any questions on developing a website, do put it down and I will answer it if I know. Any SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tips you have for making that site search engine friendly, would be highly appreciated.

Thanks,

Rajesh K
(Yes, that’s my name but I would prefer all of you calling me Destination Infinity for reasons mentioned in the About Section). I am serious about what is mentioned there 🙂

Some interesting posts in that website:

Snort – Open Source Intrusion Detection System

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The creator and his creation

May 18, 2009
He was a potter. Making pots was his profession. It was also his passion. There are a very few people for whom their passion also becomes their profession.

He had seen everything. Pure moments of joy and utter hopelessness. He had seen the extremities of both. He found out quite early the risks of being passionate about ones profession. But his passion was too strong to let go a vocation that he loved.

There was nothing like waking up in the morning and rotating the wheel to make a pot. He kept the wheel moving and was rewarded with some of the most beautiful and graceful curves that a pot could ever hope to get. People thought that there was some kind of magic in his hands and he was perhaps blessed with the skill. But only he knows how much he toiled to master the craft. But he loved working hard at his favourite skill. He had a secret ingredient – Love. He was passionate about his love and dedication for making the best shapes. His eyes never failed to find out the minutest flaws or identify a brilliant pattern.

Patterns. He was very good at identifying them. He was also good at creating them. Not that he consciously trained for it, but this was an unconscious reward for all his hard work. He thought that there was a pattern for everything in life, not only his pots. He wondered at the master architect of life for having created such an artistic piece of world which seemed arbitrary at first glance, but deep down he thought that there was a specific pattern to happenings. The patterns and their connections were so nakedly visible to him that he never complained. Even when the wheel of life left him all alone. He thought it was better for people to live under illusions as the naked truth is very hard to accept.

There was something he was not able to understand – commerce. Lots of people visiting him gave him lots of advice as to how cheap he had priced his wares and how much more he could earn if he sold them in the nearby town. They also told him that he ought to paint the pots as it would look colourful. He never understood the last point. What better colour can there be than the colour of the earth – brown? How could a pot look beautiful in green or yellow or blue? To him, those colours were highly artificial and he thought his creations looked best in their raw form. In the colour of mother earth.

His wares were under priced and he knew that the wholesalers were selling them at a very high price in the neighbouring town. In fact, he had no fixed pricing strategy. Forget it, he had no strategy. He priced his wares according to his necessities. The prices went up and down like a stock market without any logic and so frequently. But no one complained. He always managed to make more money than he wanted.

Since he was quite popular in his locality, he was rarely approached by journalists. Once, a reporter from a national newspaper asked him if he got any support from the Government.

He replied,

“Why should the Government support me? I am not affected or something. To a creator, creating a masterpiece gives immense happiness. Much more than selling it for the highest price or becoming world famous because of it”

To a creator, his creation is his happiness.

ssp

You could visit the Short Stories (Fiction) Section of this blog to read more such stories.

Destination Infinity

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A new and an innovative engineering college

May 10, 2009

This is a work of fiction.

Edited to add: “Spoon feeding on the long run teaches you nothing but the shape of the spoon”

“You might be sceptical about admitting your children in the new engineering college that we have just started. That’s why, I, the chairman of this new college, have come down personally to tell you why you ought to. We have got a ten minute slot to speak about our college in this career counselling exhibition and I assure you – that’s all we want!

This is not just another engineering college. This is a unique model of education being introduced for the first time and this model offers the highest degree of flexibility.

We don’t take donations. We are against that concept. But we do take a special fees which is only required for the various developmental activities of your children. So, next time when someone asks you how much donation you paid to join your ward in the engineering college, you can proudly say ‘we didn’t pay anything’.

Once your wards join our prestigious institution, you don’t have to worry at all. Everything is arranged. Everything.

If you ask any alumni of any university affiliated institution, the first thing they would say is that the syllabus is hopelessly out of date. And it has no connection to the industry requirements, whatsoever. Secondly, they would also tell you that they are not applying even 1% of what they learnt in colleges in their work environment. They are correct. We don’t refuse it. In fact, we can tell you that they could have memorized a thousand equations and its derivatives without knowing why. Even the syllabus offered by the university that this college is affiliated to, is hopeless!

That’s why we bring to you an innovative methodology – We do not allocate classes to the students but we allocate classes to the teachers in their chosen specialization. Your children could choose any subject that they might be interested in – Don’t worry there is always a software job! We also include classes on a variety of interesting activities like painting, games, astronomy, blogging etc. and the students can spend their time usefully learning something that they might be interested in and find amusing. They need not come to the college at all, if they don’t want to. It is just enough if a certain amount of special fees are paid in compensation. But we don’t see that happening – we’ll make the college a cool place to hang out!

Our system of evaluation of marks is even more impressive. We have a back end arrangement with the university staff to secure the future of your children, of course, for a special fee. We have a bidding system in place in our college. The university staff have allocated certain range of marks for every subject and all the students get an equal chance to bid for the highest range. Who ever bids the highest amount will get the highest slot. As simple as that! And don’t worry – we will ensure that the marks never go below 75% if a certain amount of special fees is paid in advance. So now, obtaining more marks is in your hands – literally! Imagine how much money you will save by not sending your childern to tutions!

Don’t be astonished already. Now we come to the most important part – the placements. We have an MOU with five software companies already, and more are expected in the future, where they have assured us that all the staff will be recruited from our college. Of course, we have a profit sharing agreement with them which in turn will be collected from you by the – you would have guessed already – special fees. We can assure you that your investment is totally worth it and we can even prove it using our ROI(Return on investment) calculator. You can get back the amount you invested in approximately 4 years, even if you go through the placements that we offer!

So by now it should be obvious that we have a win-win situation for everyone. The students are happy, so are the parents, and of course the college management.

Now it is your turn to speak – Why would you not want to join your wards in our innovative college which would secure their future?”

Speak! 🙂

You could visit the ‘Quotations and Humour’ section of this blog for more articles like this.

Destination Infinity

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An inspiring song and an inspiring poem

May 3, 2009

An Inspiring Song:

Song: Ovvoru pookkalume (Language: Tamil); Movie: Autograph

Singer: Chitra K S; Director: Cheran; Lyrics: Vijay Pa

Ovvoru pookkalume solgirathe… Vazhvenral poradum porkalame…

Ovvoru vidiyalume solgirathe… Iravanal pagalonru vanthidume…

Every flower on this earth says, that life is a battlefield…

Every morning says, that where there is a night, there will be a new dawn…

Nambikkai yenbathu vendum nam vazhvil…

Latchiyam nicchayam vellum oru nalil…

We need to trust ourselves in life…

Our ambitions will surely win one day…

Maname O Maname ni maari vidu…

Malayo athu paniyo ni modhi vidu…

Our mind and thoughts ought to change…

Whether it is a mountain or an iceberg, we need to fight…

Ullam yenrum yeppodhum, udainthu poga koodathu…

Yenna intha vazhkayenra yennam thonra koodathu…

The heart should not break any day, any time…

‘what is this life?’ is a thought that should not occur…

Yentha manidha nenjukkul, kayam illai sollungal…

Kalapokkil kayamellam marandhu pogum mayangal…n

Can you identify one person’s heart, which has not been hurt at all?…

In the verge of time, hurt vanishes magically…

Uli thangum karkal thane mann medhu silayagum…

Vali thangum idhayam thane nilayana sugam kaanum…

Only the stone that can tolerate the strokes of a chisel can become a beautiful statue…

Only the heart that can tolerate the deepest bruises can be consistantly happy…

Yaarukkillai porattam? Kannil yenna neerottam?

Oru kanavu kandal, athai dinam muyanral, oru nalil nijamagum…

Who doesn’t have to struggle? Why are the eyes filled with tears?

If we dream, and focus on acheiving it daily, one day it will become a reality…

Vazhkai kavithai vasippom, vaanam alavu yosippom,

Muyarichi yenra onrai mattum, mucchi pole swasipoom…

Let us read the poem called life, let us think to the limits of the sky,

Effort is the only thing, that we need to inhale like the breath…

Latcham kanavu kannodu, latchiyangal nenjodu…

Unnai vella yaarum illai, urudhiyodu poradu…

There may be one lakh dreams in our eyes, goals in our hearts,

There is no one to beat you, fight with determination…

Manidha un manadhai keeri vidhai podu maramagum…

Avamanam padutholvi yellame uravagum…

Oh man, scratch your heart and put your seeds – it will become a tree…

Insult and failure, will become your relatives…

Tholvi inri varalara, dukkam yenna yen thozha,

Oru mudivirunhal, adhil thelivirundhal, andha vanam vasamagum…

There is no history with out a defeat, why are you worried about that, my friend?

If there is foresight, and clarity, even the sky can be conqured…

(Note: The translation is mine, and hence there may be some errors. If you can find any, please let me know in the comments section and I will change it).


An Inspiring Poem:

I think it is titled ‘If’

Author: Rudyard Kipling.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!

Rudyard Kipling

Destination Infinity