Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Microsoft beware-Google docs and spreadsheets new and improved

Google docs and spreadsheets is one killer application which will have significant impact on the proprietary software business of Microsoft . A freebie that comes with your Gmail account , Google docs and spreadsheets make document sharing easier and interactive . Though am not active user of Google docs , but I realised that Google has enhanced it's features recently (My personal Google doc screenshot attached) . The interface is much better with lot of additional functions thrown in , the details of which are available in the website . Its not long before Google docs would make a serious dent to the MS suite . Google is well and truly invading the underbelly of Microsoft seems Google is to Microsoft what Microsoft was to IBM.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Google says Vista Search Changes not Enough

We inspected Microsoft's joint filing and found that Microsoft is not going to allow a complete override of the default search service in all Explorer windows, and that the company also rejects Google's concerns about performance.

read more digg story

Ruby Tuesday -On a Saturday

A couple of weeks ago on a rainy Mumbai Saturday , we decided to venture out to the Fort area to show Neelabjo glimpses of the real Mumbai . I am a Navi Mumbaikar , and those familiar with the city will understand why I used the word "venture" out to the Fort area....for inhabitants of the satellite city of Navi Mumbai it indeed takes a lot of courage to step out of our cosy nest . Not getting into the deadly details of how our day went , I will take you to the most interesting part of the day ...our visit to Ruby Tuesday. Ruby Tuesday has a very special place in my heart was my only source of sustenance for 3 months that I spend in North Plainfield a small town in New Jersy (circa 2002) . I was so fascinated with Ruby and its food that I virtually had every meal in Ruby’s. The chicken meals with liberal helping of mashed potatoes and assorted vegetables were my favorites. I knew Ruby Tuesdays had set up shop in India and had heard and seen the Ruby outlet in PVR Saket in New Delhi (this outlet disappointed me , because it did not have the Ruby decor and ambiance ..and the food was also somewhat Indianized...) . With a slight reservation, I decided to give Ruby Tuesday's -Fort a try . This outlet was an absolute pleasure, it had recreated the original Ruby experience, the sporting gear was displayed correctly , the waiters were dressed perfectly and the menu looked the same as the one that I would have savored in the US . We got down to ordering chicken dishes and yes it did have mashed potatoes -the signature of a proper Ruby meal. It was quite a good experience, but if there was something that I could not figure out was an interesting item called Service Charges in the bill , which was a certain portion of the bill amount unusual thing as far as Indian restaurants are concerned ....the prices were exactly the Indian equivalent of the Dollar amounts, which the management of Ruby may want to consider for a downward revision . Overall a good ninety minutes spent .....

30 years of Lal Salaam in Bengal

This month the CPI(M) lead Left Front Government finishes 3 decades of being in power in West Bengal , a feat which is perhaps unparalleled in the history of democracies across the world . The Left regime has undoubtedly had some very significant achievements which even a die hard critic of Communism like me would concede . The land redistribution ,agrarian reform are probably the greatest achievements in the last 30 years .However , here is what has not worked for them

a) Education

West Bengal would once take pride of its education infrastructure ...... the successive Left governments has ensured that education institutions are systemically destroyed all across the state . About a decade ago , I had the privilege of being a Visiting Faculty in the Universities of Burdwan and Midnapore and even in those times appointment to teaching position in colleges of these universities were based more on affiliation to the red flag than merit !!!

b) Erosion of meritocracy

The government has somewhat been able to sell the idea that the society/state owes its citizens a living , and hence has been able to create a class of babus who do not believe in hard work , they regale in their addas, pontificate about life , are found chatting in the street corner's of Kolkatta . These babus form the bulk walk of the CPI(M) cadre , a community which reflects the growing intellectual decadence of Bengal....The hard working and ambitious Bengali has long left Bengal and has found places like Bangalore , Mumbai or Delhi to be more hospitable to their ambitions

c) Industrial Unrest

Inspite and despite of Buddhadev's claims about industrialization , the last 3 decades has seen flight of all kinds of industries from Bengal. As a child , I have seen the thriving Hoogly belt which was host to companies like ICI , Dunlop's , Hind Motors, GKW , Metal Box etc ....all closed down or in marginal existence thanks to the belligerent CITU (the workers arm of the CPIM). I wish Buddha babu well in his efforts to get industry back to Bengal , but I think its an uphill task to undo the damage done by the Jyoti Basu's and Pramod Dasguptas of the world .

In conclusion

I can go on and on with this list ...but will leave it for some other day. All that I have written in this post is based on my personal experiences with the Left front from 1977 the year the front came to power (and we moved into Kolkata) till 1996 when I decided to leave the city ....probably never to come back least till the "reds" are in power in my state . If God were to grant me one wish would be "defeat the Left and lets have a progressive govt" ..Bengal needs it and Bengalis deserve it ...Amen

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Microsoft altering the Vista !

Another setback for Microsoft Corp ! , it has agreed to alter its Vista operating system after Google's Washington office successfully filed an antitrust complaint to the Justice Department and other government authorities asserting that Microsoft's new Vista operating system discriminates against Google software. Google complained that it was disadvantaged by how Microsoft designed features for conducting desktop searches. This judgement also signifies Google's growing clout in Washington . Jeff Bimbaum reports about Google's conscious efforts in lobbying . Google with its proven supremacy in the online search and advertisement business and now with its ability to swing antitrust motions against Microsoft ,is set to become another monopoly by itself !

Sunday, June 17, 2007

10 Small Businesses Being Killed by Technology

Technology isn't the savior for every business. Here's a list of 10 small businesses that have suffered because of technology, whether it's the Internet or in-house technology used by big store chains.

read more | digg story

Friday, June 8, 2007

Expert opinion on Blogs and Social Networking

I am proud to present to you an exclusive interview with Charlene Li of Forrester research .In this interview Charlene talks about social networking , blogging and its implications on society . Charlene is a VP and Principal Analyst in Forrester Research . She is an avid blogger and researcher. is a very popular site in the US , a lot of elections material and content is being routed through the website , and almost all the Presidential candidates have their profiles in Myspace. Going forward do you see websites such as these becoming more and more popular in creating and managing public opinion

These sites have always been about relationships, participation, and communication. Moreover, once something hits a chord with someone, they are more likely to tell their friends as well. So it’s natural that organizations that want to influence public opinion – politicians, marketers, religious groups, non-profits – would want to be there to influence individual opinion and engagement.

2.Blogging is becoming immensely popular and with the meteoric rise of Google Adsense , there is a lot of incentive for being able to provide breaking news . One such example of breaking news was reported by my friend Basab Pradhan in his blog this was about the delay of the launch of the iPhone , which was blogged and had an adverse effect on the Apple price . Blogger's as a community would like sensational news to reflected in the blog without necessarily being sure about the validity of the news , where according to you does the balance lie between posting sensational news and ensuring validity of the news before you post ?

Let’s take a look at the original breaking news “blogger” – Matt Drudge. Some people love him, others can’t stand him. You know when you read him that the “news” has to be read with a huge grain of salt, but that there’s some truth to what he’s saying.My favorite example of this recently was the Google and pending “strategic”announcement – the speculation ranged all the way to one Google’s acquisition of Or the supposed negotiations between Microsoft and Yahoo! about a potential merger/acquisition.I don’t think it’s about the money only – it’s also about the notoriety of being first, being the most connected, and having the most cred that drives this. But I put a lot of trust in blog readers having some sense – they are able to figure out pretty quickly and with multiple posts, who the best bloggers are.I don’t think it’s about the money only – it’s also about the notoriety of being first, being the most connected, and having the most cred that drives this. But I put a lot of trust in blog readers having some sense – they are able to figure out pretty quickly and with multiple posts, who the best bloggers are.

3.A lot of companies do have corporate blogs , and some are in the verge of setting up blogs , how do companies who have blogs justify the business benefits of blogging.

The key benefit is buzz and brand awareness – blog are great at generating attention, links, and subsequently, search engine rankings. Others include lower costs to support customer service or sales. I have a long post about this at

4.Social networking sites creates a platform of sharing of ideas , views etc , people from different walks of life come and upload content , what could be the unintended consequences of social networking (example –there are many cases when photographs of people have been downloaded from orkut and have been morphed and displayed in pornographic websites) and how can these be mitigated

With social interactions also come social diseases, and the loss of control of your identity and image is one of them. The only way to mitigate this is to limit access to your information to the people that you trust, hence the popularity of private profiles on places like MySpace and Facebook.

The Chairman of GE speaks out

Yesterday, NDTV aired an interesting interview with the Chairman and CEO of GE Global Jeff Immelt .The central theme of the interview was his view on India and its development process and how he sees GE contribute to the country in the long term. In this post I capture salient points of the interview which I believe would be of great interest to my readers

The development trajectory

Immelt believed that in the last twenty years the very nature of our democracy has changed . In the first forty years post independence the voters would tend to vote incumbents back to power 80% of the time , there was a premium for incumbency…..however in the last twenty years the trend has reversed when 80% of the incumbents get voted out in every Lok Sabha elections . This according to him is a distinct evidence of the growing maturity of the democracy. Additionally the head honcho of GE opined that our development agenda was based on the development at the Lowest Common Denominator, he believes that this paradigm is changing but would like to see it change faster. According to the GE boss while there has been growth and development in the last few years, its important for politicians to recognize that that infrastructure is the most important element of our development. The current state of our infrastructure is far from world class and according to him a greater degree of focus should be given to augmenting infrastructure across the length and breadth of the nation. Immelt believes that infrastructure is the key to our development and urged the decision makers of the country should spend a portion of its forex reserves to build infrastructure in the next 5-10 years. He was of the opinion that if the UPA government did nothing else but concentrate on infrastructure, it would have set a pace of development that would be a matter of envy for the western world.

India vs China

Immelt’s India visit was immediately preceded by his GE China and in that context he outlined the differences between the two nations

a) China operates as a centrally planned economy where 5 years plans are driven with rigor across the country , we are much more democratic and as a result at times , it far more difficult to implement a national agenda …a price that a democracy has to pay

b) China is good in its planning and execution of its economic reforms, while its weaknesses lie in the managerial pool and its financial systems. India on the contrary is just the reverse; it has an inefficient central system, but a great managerial talent pool and a robust financial system. The GE chairman complimented the nation on its ability manage the financial reform process far better than China

c) China has a far superior infrastructure than ours, its investment in infrastructure has been USD 80 billion which has aided its development processes.

GE and its plans in India

Immelt believes that GE is going is here for the long term and would participate in its development process as it has done in the last 100 years. He sees GE play a significant role in the infrastructure sector as and when the government wants to fast forward its plans there . GE would be particularly interested in participating in financing large projects. GE has a role to play in aviation and the engineering sectors as well and easily expects fresh investments of USD 2 billion within the next five years

In conclusion

Jeffery Immelt believes that our development story is incomplete and unsustainable without a more concentrated effort of infrastructure. In this interview, he harped on the theme of infrastructure almost throughout of the interview. If the CEO of GE feels so strongly about infrastructure I am sure that the PM and his team must consider putting it into the national priority list , and it would help if we stopped diverting our energy into issues like reservations and take a harder look at our infrastructure issues….Mr Singh are you listening !!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Google buys Feedburner to boost its ad network

Washington Post reported Google's purchase of Feedburner recently . Founded in 2003 it is one of the leaders in the online publishing and advertising services space particularity for blogs and other news content . Feedburner enables a reader to get customized content and read it through user friendly interfaces like the Google Reader. In the last couple of years has volume of content delivered and read through RSS and Atom feeds has increased exponentially and by acquiring Feedburner , Google now has a vehicle of its own which can further consolidate its position in the advert market . The acquisition makes good strategic fit at a concept level , but the only hitch is one could use Feedburner and Google , independent of each other and derive value from it , going forward it would be interesting to see how Google integrates Feedburner into its suite of offerings and makes it a more compelling value proposition for the reader who is looking for customized content

Monday, June 4, 2007

Schedule Tribe Status for the Gujar's !!!

I have been following the recent agitation of the Rajasthan Gujars for Schedule Tribe status . Lead by the Gurjar Mahasabha the agitation has already claimed fourteen lives in Dausa and has a potential to become full blown conflict . In this post I try and examine the rationale of their claims . To my reader I must confess that though I am not a professional historian ,I do have a sense of history and the caste system of India .

The SC/ST status is granted to group's of people who were considered outcastes in the 4 tiered Hindu caste system , and by virtue of being in the bottom of the social pyramid have been left out of any form of development generations. The reservation processes is an national intervention that aims at providing economic relief to these deprived communities . In this context it would be worthwhile to examine the veracity of the claims of the Gujar community for SC/ST status


According to historians the Gujars can be traced back to the Huna invasion of India , some historians beleive that the Gujars are possibly the descendants of Hepthalites (White Huns) . The Gujars are in large numbers in Pakistan as well (famous bowlers Shoaib Akthar and Mohd Asif) are Pakistani Gurjars....however trivia aside ....the ruling clans of Rajasthan like the Prathihara's , Paramara's ,Solanki's , Bhati's , Chauhans , are classified by many as Gujars . The Prathiharas were rulers of the large kingdoms in Northern India (6th to 11th century) and according to most scholars they were Rajputs . Similar controversies are there for the Paramara's , Bhati's and Chauhans , while one school of historians believe that they are Rajputs , there are many who argue that they are Gujars of Hepthalites descent . Whatever the case maybe the Gujars are classified into the Khastriya (warrior caste) category of the Hindu caste system .I can say with great degree of confidence and conviction that most Gurjar clans have been rulers and not serfs and therefore fair to assume that the Gujars have not been the bottom of the pyramid so far as the Hindu society is concerned .Additionally some Gujar groups like the Gaur Gujar's in Central India are classified as Brahmins -the highest caste in the chaturvarna (4 tier) Hindu caste classification .


My limited knowledge of the caste system of India , convinces me that the Gujars are not eligible for SC/ST status in any part of the country . There might be some confusion about some clans in Rajasthan (some people think they are Rajputs while others classify them as Gujar's) , but they are certainly not the bottom of the Hindu caste system . I am really curious to know the basis of their claim for ST status in Rajasthan........

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Swimming Lessons

In the last few months Neelabjo has taken a great fancy towards swimming and cricket. Though this is not a photo blog , but here is a post where a doting father takes his darling son out in a mini pool to teach him how to swim . Neelabjo can manage to keep afloat with some swimming aids , here he is learning the back- stroke with daddy ...