Saturday, April 30, 2005

How stupid can you get?

Every once in a while, when I'm typing an email (typically a really long one), a browser will crash and I'll lose the entire email. Yes, it's happened with Opera,with Internet Explorer, and with Firefox. And it's happened to me more than once and yet I've not learnt my lesson. At least, with Blogger, you can recover a post, if you don't clear your history or cookies after your browser crashed. I've used it and it works.

So, anyway, I was typing this email to an editor and my browser crashed. I feel like hitting my head against my table, but instead of self-inflicted pain, I'm blogging about it. Self-humiliation maybe?

Will I stop typing in my web-based email clients? Probably not. Maybe for the bigger emails but for the smaller ones, it's too inconvenient to type in an editor, and copy paste into the web-based email that I use. Yes, I know all about email clients like Thunderbird or Outlook.

When I was writing this post, an interesting thought occurred to me. If Blogger can have a recover post option, what's up with Google and Yahoo not providing one?

I'm going back to re-typing my email to the editor, this time in a text editor. If the text editor crashes, well, it's just not my day.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

One wonders

A film star on NDTV 24x7 said this morning:
One wonders what one is doing.
I always wonder about people who use the word one to describe themselves. Have they lost their sense of Identity? (Yes, I know it's a bad pun but I came up with it.) Why not say, I wonder about my life? Maybe they think it's too conceited.

News flash! One sounds even more conceited when one uses one to describe oneself. Excuse me, while I go take a bath to clean myself. I feel icky after using so many ones.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Managing Product Development

Johanna Rothman, a smart lady who has a consulting company, has a nice blog if you're into software and that sort of thing. It's called Managing Product Development and she's been posting reasonably frequently of late. It's not just about product development, so go ahead and read the blog. Here's one sample:
I've been talking to a beleaguered colleague about his project schedule. "No matter what date I give them (senior management), they want an earlier date. I told them it doesn't take nine women to make a baby in one month, I need some time for this project!"
Like that? Here's one more:
I'm most familiar with schedule chicken that happens in meetings. Usually in a project status meeting, with the project manager and the project team, especially where the meeting is a form of serial status, everyone claims they're on time. But the reality is that each person is waiting for another person to explain why he or she is not ready. In that case, each person graciously says, "Oh, that's fine with me if you take an extra week or two or three. No problem." Of course it's no problem, if everyone else needs more time.
She's also written a bunch of articles and you can read an interesting one called What's wrong with Wednesdays? here.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Tragic Comics

I've been watching News Radio on Star World lately and I realised how much I used to enjoy the show when it was aired in the US. I think I fell in love with Maura Tierney when I watched that show. Still in love, in case you're wondering. That's not what this is about though.

I miss Phil Hartman. He's such a great character on the show and he was such a funny guy. Every time I heard his voice on The Simpsons it made me laugh. Still does, whenever I watch The Simpsons, but now there's a tinge of sadness. In case you didn't know, Hartman was killed by his wife who then committed suicide.

Why do some comics have such tragic endings? Hartman, Chris Farley, John Belushi. It's a shame.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Spouse (Shobha De)

Yeah, yeah, I know all about Shobha De's books. I've never read any of her books before but I do read her columns occasionally and she does make a lot of sense. I saw her in an interview on NDTV when she was launching the book and she was talking about how the writing process was for her with this book. She said (and this is not verbatim):
Fiction is easy to do, writing this book was tough.
That quote intrigued me and since I like reading non-fiction, so I bought the book.

I liked it a lot. It's written in a simple and lucid style that isn't too heavy. And, for a book that talks about marriage, she rarely preaches or talks down to you. There is a lot of stuff written from her heart, you can see that. I know people will be inclined to call this self-help but it's not. It's one woman's perspective on marriage and how she's made it work. What makes it interesting is that her current marriage is her second and she you can see from reading the book that she believes in the institution of marriage.

I enjoyed the book and because it's such light-reading, I recommend it. Don't expect answers though. Read it to get some general gyan on marriage and some insight into what Shobha De thinks is a successful marriage (her own).

Thursday, April 21, 2005

ZabaSearch people search

If you ever lived in the US, you'll enjoy this post. Okay, maybe you won't enjoy it, but it'll intrigue you.

Go to ZabaSearch, type your name, and hit Enter. Maybe you have friends in the US. You can try their friends out too. The results are scary to say the least. That someone could find out information about you THAT easily raises a whole lot of questions. Privacy, what privacy?

Read more about this at Lifehacker . (Thanks to Lifehacker for the link.)

There's another link in that post there to an article from the San Francisco Chronicle. David Lazarus writes:
Everything that's great and everything that's frightening about the Internet can be summed up in a single word.

I couldn't have said it better.

Stuff (mostly stupid) you hear

  1. You must wear these kinds of clothes to work.

  2. You must inform us if you're going to come late to work. (Feel free not to inform us when you're working late at the office.)

  3. If you take leave on Friday and Monday, the Saturday and Sunday will be counted too.

  4. That's the way it's always been done. (That's the way it's done at Big Company Name.)

  5. We are a part of one big family.

  6. It's not my job.

  7. Why should I wash my cup? (See above) (Yes, the one in which I drank coffee.)

  8. The management doesn't care about us.

  9. I'll only work in Java (replace with C++, .NET, ASP, or whatever).

  10. I'll work hard now when I am young. I'll enjoy life later.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Hide and Seek

There are two reasons to watch this movie: Dakota Fanning and a chilling story. I think the hairs on the back of my neck were raised about a hundred times. Okay, it was 99.

It's not a horror movie but the use of light and sound and the crisp scenes make you jump every once in a three minutes. Sets your heart racing every now and then because the movie is real taut.

Dakota Fanning is just superb. I don't know if the movie was eligible for last year's Oscar but if it wasn't, then maybe they should nominate her for next year's Oscar. She acts beautifully and uses her eyes to convey emotion. You feel sorry for her, then you feel a little uneasy around her, you're scared of her, and then you feel like protecting her. Amazing little actress and we should be hearing more about her in the near future.

The movie could've been a much better if the writer hadn't used an all too familiar (if you watch as many movies as I do) plot twist. It was that plot twist that disappointed me, only because the rest of the movie was quite well written. Maybe the writer didn't push to resolve the story. There were times when I felt that the transition between scenes was a bit abrupt but that could just be the Bangalore tendency of chopping movies.

Go watch it just for Dakota Fanning.

Gmail and privacy

I know that I've been posting stuff about privacy concerns with Gmail, so I thought that I'd present the other side as well. Here's what some well-known people (in the geek world) wrote about Gmail. Tim O'Reilly (yes, that O'Reilly book guy) writes in his article:
There are already hundreds of millions of users of hosted mail services at AOL, Hotmail, MSN, and Yahoo! These services routinely scan all mail for viruses and spam. Despite the claims of critics, I don't see that the kind of automated text scanning that Google would need to do to insert context-sensitive ads is all that different from the kind of automated text scanning that is used to detect spam.
Brad Templeton, chairman of the Electronic Frontier Foundation writes a nice balanced view in his article, Privacy Subtleties of GMail.

You can read more stuff about this at Google's page, from where I got the links to these articles.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

A dollar for Sir Tim Berners-Lee

I woke up early this morning (4.15 am if you're interested in exact time and such trivia) and this thought flashed across my mind:
What if every web developer and every website owner paid Sir Tim Berners-Lee a dollar just out of goodwill?
Okay, if you're in Asia or Africa, you can pay 25 cents. If you're not familiar with Tim Berners-Lee, he's the nice guy that invented the Web (WWW) and gave it away for free. Here's what he writes in an FAQ on his web page:
The Web is an abstract (imaginary) space of information. On the Net, you find computers -- on the Web, you find document, sounds, videos,.... information. On the Net, the connections are cables between computers; on the Web, connections are hypertext links. The Web exists because of programs which communicate between computers on the Net. The Web could not be without the Net. The Web made the net useful because people are really interested in information (not to mention knowledge and wisdom!) and don't really want to have know about computers and cables.
Read that last line again. It's probably the understatement of the century. Made the net useful indeed!

I got thinking about money because people that write blogs are given donations, Bill Gates made a ton, but this guy, he didn't make any, and he's cool with it. You gotta reward guys like this. Here's what he says about not "cashing in" on the concept:
Not really. It was simply that had the technology been proprietary, and in my total control, it would probably not have taken off. The decision to make the Web an open system was necessary for it to be universal. You can't propose that something be a universal space and at the same time keep control of it.
Come on, it's only a dollar. 25 cents if you're in Asia or Africa! What say?

Monday, April 11, 2005

Starting a blog and reading blogs

If you're not too familiar with blogs and RSS feeds and the whole deal, here are a couple of nice blog entries (what else?).

Michael Hyatt, who writes a nice blog called Working Smart, has written a nice introduction piece called How to Start a Blog. He writes:
After reading my new blog, a number of Nelson employees have told me they intend to start their own blog. Several have written to me, asking how to get started. So, rather than continuing to repeat myself, I will outline the process here. It's actually easier than you may think.
And, he posted another one called How to Read Blogs where he points to another entry, How to Get Into Blogs, 101, where the blogger, Stephen O'Grady writes:
The purpose of this post is to give the many people who still haven't gotten into blogs - i.e. not my regular readers - a simple, step by step example of how to dip a toe in the blogging waters. I talk to multitudes of people - whether they work for ISVs, enterprises, PR firms, or the neighborhood general store - who:

a.) have little idea what blogs are and are all about
b.) aren't convinced that they should care
c.) don't really know where to start with blogs

I'll try to address A and B here a bit, but mostly focus on C.
If you read these two articles, you'll get a decent start on blogging.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Boss, you were great

I finished up with my full-time job last week (Thursday, if you're really interested). It was interesting to wake up the next day and wonder about not going to the office. Okay, so I went and watched Million Dollar Baby (the 10.45 show), but let's leave that alone for a while.

When I made the decision to leave my job and freelance, the hardest part of the decision was telling my boss. (I call him boss but he's never been a boss and I don't want to identify him by name at this point!)

It was hard because working with him has been the best time I've had at work, ever. We talked about everything under the sun, we exchanged books, articles, he encouraged me to do new stuff (learn mind mapping, take up blogging, among about half a million other things)-- in short, it was a wonderful relationship.

The best part of working with him was that he never told me what to do. He gave me suggestions, but he also left it open for me to do what I wanted. As I told him just yesterday, 'You give people enough rope to hang themselves if they want.'

He gave me freedom to explore other stuff. And, even if I messed up, he told me but with no trace of anger or irritation. If I had an issue or a problem, he listened without rushing to speak or make judgments. I used to call him (without disrespect to Gautama Buddha) Buddha sometimes!

I learnt so much from him about software, about working, about people, about life, I'll need to write a book to tell you everything. Let's just say that he made me a better person.

I've read books or essays where people talk about someone as their friend, philosopher, and guide, and often I've wondered how they can call someone all of that. (Okay, I rolled my eyes too, because that's become such a cliche).

Well, for me, he's been my friend, my teacher, and my guide. I hope that you've had someone like this in your life--it's an enriching experience.

No matter how many times I say it, I can't express the gratitude that I feel.

So, (ex) boss, this is just to say that you were great. Thanks.

PS: I know my ex-boss is going to read this, but I've been meaning to write about this, and I had to do it!

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Million Dollar Baby

I went into the movie a bit apprehensive. Two of my friends (whose reactions to movies almost always match with mine) didn't give me good reviews about this movie. I wanted to see it anyway, because I love Morgan Freeman, and I was not going to miss a movie that just won the Oscar for the best picture.

I loved it. Freeman, Clint Eastwood, and Hillary Swank were all amazing; the script was taut and the movie had it all--drama, humour, tragedy, and some controversy. I am still not sure if the ending was the best way to end the movie or why the movie had to tackle a really sticky topic. I won't give the ending away, so go watch it for yourself.

Having seen three of the Best Picture contenders, I'm inclined to agree with the Academy; Million Dollar Baby clearly deserved the Oscar.

I also realised that I love boxing movies.