Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Vanity – The enemy of happiness

Vanity – The enemy of happiness

There are moments of pride for almost everyone. This is typical when we get praise for what we have done. To bask in the happiness is good as long as it is short. Move on to the next target. For that we have to know what the next target is.

Many people do not make goals. In such a case all roads lead to the target as the same is unknown. The difference between having a goal and not having one makes the difference between one who has achieved success and the one who has not yet made it, since he/she does not know when we have arrived.

Goals serve an intention. The purity of the intention is the one that guides the goal towards its fulfilment. A goal is a true goal when nothing is expected out of the actions that move us towards the goal. A tool like MS Project helps us with tasks which build up towards a goal. When a task is assigned, the assignee or the assignor is not important. The task is.

We need to focus on work for work's sake. As long as vanity does not set in when things are going as per plan or a small goal is achieved, we can safely steer away towards work. A fact is more important than its interpretation. The latter is just opinion. The former is truth.

And there is nothing beyond the truth. Not vanity. Not work.

That is probably the reason that numbers drive any business. When the quantification is precise, the base data is correct. See the importance of metrics. Rest is the interpretation. This may be like reading a general knowledge book. If temperature in a place is 30 degrees, it may be too hot for someone and for some others it may be cold. But having felt so, does not change the temperature. Objectivity should not have a tinge of bias because of preset notions.

Goodbye vanity. Hello truth.



Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Platonic Love

Platonic love

You say it all when you say nothing at all.

Programming languages which have no datatypes like Javascript, assumes the type of the datatype as variable and does translation automatically. A platform like Ruby on Rails with its Active Records also denote the understanding of a database in discovery mode. So much needs to be said but it is implicitly understood.

Wordsworth's poem about Lucy is apt.

She lived among the untrodden ways

Besides the springs of dove

A maid whom there were none to praise

And very few to love.


The poet falls in love with her but does not convey this to her. Lucy dies and this is what the wayward lover has to say.

She lived unknown and few could know

When Lucy ceased to be

But she is in her grave

And oh! The difference to me.


The future of software is platonic. There will be so much of functionality packed into it, not just to inundate you with features, but less said cousins of them which I term as blocks that do not advertise themselves much but gets the job done.

Search Engines are also getting contextual. Imagine getting results the way you wanted it. So much of symbolisms and mathematics behind the scenes – the less you say it the more it is understood to be of use to someone somewhere trying to find his/her graceland in the information jungle.

Platonic – Say less, Mean more.

Or better yet.

Do not say it at all.

The choice is up to you.



Monday, September 21, 2009

Why can’t we see God?

Why can't we see God?

Can we see the sea from a beach? Can we see what is underneath the sea? Alas, we can't.

We can see the mountain, but do we know what is behind the mountain.

The answer is quite simple.

Our senses are limited. On top of that we wear a veil which we call our personality.

As long as this personality is skewed, we will be looking at the world through a coloured glass.

By this I mean our lower nature – inferior energies like anger, greed and fear blocks us from achieving the meeting with the divine.

Once we remove our glasses, we will be able to see him clearly.

Being a child again. Helping the needy. Praying for a purpose. These are some of the activities that take us one step further towards God.

But mind you – he is truth personified. Can you look at the Sun directly?

It takes a lot of perseverance and hard work to achieve a lofty goal such as soul seeking.

With his grace upon all of us, we will be able to see him one day.

And that is the Bible's promise.

"One day you will know the truth. And the truth will set you free"

Have we not had occasions where a voice inside us tells us if a thing is good or bad.

That is divine wisdom knocking.

We believe in miracles – but isn't rain pouring down a miracle, a tree growing up a miracle ?

As we let go of our false beliefs and assumptions, the path becomes clearer.

He is nearer to us than we are to ourselves.

Submit to him. He is the merciful. And he will surely bless us with things beyond our expectations.

Three Cheers,


Sunday, September 20, 2009

The emotional nirvana

Frequencies of emotions

What we feel at any point of time is a frequency like sound or light. The lower level frequencies are made up of emotions like anger, jealousy, greed etc. The higher level frequencies are those of joy, compassion etc. Both these affect our outer bodies, which is nothing but the body with its aural glow. We can feel the frequencies of others all the time. Recollect that some people drag you while some people elevate you to a higher experience. These are the radiating frequencies which makes the difference.

Emotions may hinder work. Hence it's always advisable to keep ones emotions in check. The best position is the position of joy where we feel great reverence towards everything in the universe. This is different from respect. Respect may come out of fear, but not reverence. To get back to a joyful state, we will have to unlearn a lot of our baggage that we unnecessarily carry around with us. If we are able to do that, then we reach a position of solitude filled with bliss not loneliness.

As we all find that Silence is bliss and sometimes ignorance also is ...

The Tao Te Ching clearly tells us that those who speak they do not know and those who know they do not speak. But don't mistake a fool who keeps quiet from a genius who's got the formula. The truth is never the word. It's unspoken. It's understood. It's felt. There is nothing beyond it. It just is. The abstractions that we go on creating take us farther away from the truth. But they do have some semblance of the truth buried into some places. Simplicity is the way. If you can explain a concept simply to anyone, then you have really understood.

The next stage is sharing. When the intention and the meaning is comprehensible in its real sense, that kind of time is really soul sharing. Technology can act as a catalyst but for a group of two or more people, the effective time is when knowledge is shared simply.

Most of the people hunt for knowledge and once they have it they try to make it actionable. Alas, if there was a clear cut way of making this knowledge effective, there wouldn't be so much of confusion. We have to cut through the veil of illusion that surrounds the how of the decipherable ocean of knowledge that surrounds us and start getting results – the right way.

Now coming back to the topic of emotions – we need to be situated in joy in order to do this.

Nirvana for everyone.



Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Google’s Chrome OS

Google's Chrome OS

Sure it will be a marvel, as this is the first internet OS in the true sense of the word. People will want to believe that the net is the computer and not the desktop. Cloud computing would pick up and will favour those, whose applications are on the cloud. Lot of data centres will mushroom. A net connection would become ubiquitous. Wherever you are, the net follows you. Be it an airplane or the waterloo.

Chrome OS will be introduced in conjunction with some service provider like Verizon or AT & T and the plans would again be available for different experiences. Security will be a concern, but I'm sure Google guys are going to build in a tough sandbox for malware to crack.

On the downside, this new OS needs an always on connection to the net. Data Privacy is also another issue, as data would be on the cloud. So the next question that comes to mind is 'Is the data safe?'

What about applications? They will all be cloud and an instance of the same would be downloaded to the client. The client will possess just rendering intelligence and the dense intelligence would be on the server side.

Welcome back to the mainframe day's guys.

Reminds me that in the end after all the world is a circle. You end up where you started out with.



Monday, September 14, 2009

We live in a magical world ...

We live in a magical world. Miracles surround us. Imagine an acorn becoming an Oak tree. An oyster giving birth to a pearl. Or a baby which starts walking on its own. If these aren't miracles, then what are ? Here's a song to celebrate miracles.


Raindrops falling on a tree

Waves lashing, did you see

An eagle flying so very high

A human hand with fingers five


In the midst of all this I know

A beating heart whispers low

In dreams that brave men dream

Of beauty and the gracious queen


So spellbound am I in this tune

Words fail to become immune

A jet that was flying so very high

Suddenly stopped with a sigh


Friends now it's time to go

Things awaiting for me to know

And somewhere in my memory

My love will wait like history


As long as these stars shall shine

I will await by your shrine

One day I will call upon thee

In forlorn days just you and me




Thursday, September 10, 2009

I have promises to pay

I have promises to pay

The morning star beckons me
As the dawn spreads its glory
And angels gather up above
To ordain the deeds of the day

Breakfast on the table
It's time to take the tube
Many a million faces
Huddling so near yet so far

After the pleasantries are over
It's meeting time again
Status checks and reviews and more
Somewhere a clock ticks away

Back on my desk for the next chore
Many calls to make
Deadlines on the to-do list
Time to take a break

Sitting late once again
The proposal has to go tomorrow
Done and am about to leave
And the phone rings for a second time

Back home after a long day
Wife and kids are asleep
Underneath the shower I think
Highlights of today

After a winding sleep
Yet it's another day
All dressed up and ready to go
'Cause I have promises to pay



Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Do you need a Guru to guide you ?

Do you need a Guru to guide you?

The 'guru' phenomenon is mushrooming all the way from Jakarta to Jordan. The reason is quite clear. In today's world we are surrounded by a wide variety of choices or options, each promising us to make our lives better, in some way or the other. In the days of yore when the multiplicity of options was limited, deciding on something was much easier. It's the good old question of whether having 2 friends or 20 friends is better. In the former, your hedge is small but your relationships are deeper. What plagues today's world is the same. The breadth has increased. As a result fundamentals take a hit. The trend in the technology world is towards depth - limited but clear. Subject Matter Experts (SME's) are in demand. The number of consultants in a project is increasing. The employee syndrome is dwindling. The world is changing at breath taking speeds and in such a world we need people who can give us direction - 'clarity' in one word.

Take the software industry for instance. Most of the technical paraphernalia's that are out there are all ephemeral. Today Java is in vogue. Tomorrow it is some other product. What you learn has become inherently transient. By the time you claim to be master of a language, that concept is on the way to extinction. Programming in the future would be restricted to certain specialized kind of activities as cognitive pick and choose tools gain dominion. This is the mantra that I promulgate 'Learn programming concepts, not languages. Learn semantics, not syntax'. Silicon intelligence today is resting somewhere in the cradles of knowledge and intelligence, but say 5 years from now we will find a new trend viz. Wisdom software. In short Silicon intelligence is destined to overtake us in terms of processing speed and parallelization. Then we will be left with only one alibi - our Soul. This will be the only thing that will make the difference between us and these contraptions.

But now comes the million dollar question. Of the 6.5 billion of us on this Earth, how many of us have realized the soul. Forget that. Here's a basic question. How many of us know the true purpose of life and are we headed the on the right path? So many questions in a short life that we have to live. Hence the need for Gurus. By Guru's I don't mean industry pundits who predict a thing or two. My definition of a guru is more fundamental. It is attached to meaning. He/She is somebody who provides answers to the questions that abound in the inner recesses of our heart. Help us with a way or the Tao that will make our life more meaningful or complete. Help us become a happy person. Help us contribute to the world. But, this is just the first level.

There are so many steps to achieve emancipation, but there are no shortcuts. People want to become enlightened in the shortest possible time frame. But I am afraid this just is not possible. You can't jump from standard I to Standard X without experiencing the classes in the middle. And most of the people just want that. If you don't know the alphabets, how can you form words and then sentences? It takes time and effort to achieve a certain position. A guru can short-circuit your search for the ultimate truth. But finally it's up to you. Your attitude, your education, your experience all add up to the quandary. Inside each of us is a Buddha or a guru, but to realize the same, we have to go through a learning experience. Most of us are not equipped for the same, hence we need external gurus. But mind you, there are many gurus out there who promise Nirvana to you, but they themselves are lost in the soul searching game. You need to steer clear of these fakes who masquerade as genuine seers.

Finally, you need God's grace. You may have reached the pinnacle of knowledge and experience, but still liberation may have eluded you, for long. For it to happen, you just have to wait - persevere. Till he deems that you can join the elite club, it will stay so. But he is very kind. And will shower his blessings upon you, as soon as he finds that you are fit to get the certification. Till then, keep fighting.



Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Real Time - Real or Utopia

Real Time - Real or Utopia

My loan payment happens on 1st of every month. But I get the acknowledgement as SMS by 5th. Why can't I get my notification from the loan company immediately. Four reasons mainly

  1. Processing is done by different systems
  2. These systems are not talking to each other in real time
  3. Consolidation is taking time
  4. Payment info is not available on time

Whenever I make payment via internet, I have noticed that it takes some time to reflect on the payers account. Why> I do not know. Either the bank is delaying which I think is not the case as the debit in my account reflects immediately. Sometimes the credit message may have missed the payers account , due to say power failure. Hence the message was not received. In this case the bank's system should be notified that the intended recipient did not receive the message. And their system has to keep trying to send the message. There must be alternative numbers, IP addresses etc. for a payer, so that the message is received.

Anyway, I inevitably get a call from the credit card company saying that they did not receive my payment. When I tell them that I have paid through internet banking, they ask me for the transaction number. Here comes another surprise. The payment confirmation is done normally by a third party which acts as the payment gateway. They generate a transaction number and this number I'm sure is relayed to the bank, but not to the Payer. I'm sure this is the case as they don't seem to have the transaction number.

I do avail of the ECS facilities provided by various banks. Good automation at its best. The other thing I like about banks is Mobile Alerts. Simple rule based systems. I'm awaiting the onset of agents that will do transactions on our behalf. In the future banks will not be the only money related corporations. Individuals will become banks and wealth would be digital in nature. K-bits and not money will be the new currency.



Monday, September 07, 2009

Office 2007 – Ramblings of a novice


Office 2007 – Ramblings of a novice

Today I went through some Microsoft Word 2007 tutorials from Microsoft Website. They were just awesome. For the first time in my life, I could envisage the work that goes into making a project like Office 2007 successful.

The sheer idea of Office 2007 is revolutionary in nature. Maybe not the back end, but the user interface definitely is a complete revamp. It's a complete makeover of the Office 2003 interface. For a moment, I was taken aback by the beauty of the Ribbon (a feature in Office 2007) and the intuitive interface.

I think the team who made this possible really need to be congratulated. It's such an awesome work that they have done. From Microsoft's point of view it's a departure from their standard image of being a Aggressive marketing company and releasing products with bugs.

There are all those complaints about Microsoft, but for a moment imagine the sheer amount of work that goes in into building such products. There is no such thing as a perfect thing, so we all live on betas perpetually.

I think we need to thank Microsoft's team for whatever little they have accomplished. (And I think they have released some awesome products, which is the very reason why their products are so popular). For the time being let's remove our spectacled vision from the cons to the pros – a decent product; just wish it were free.

One thing that people do not want is having to pay for those features which are not used. Well that was the old model of Microsoft. The next version of Office would be on the Cloud and will be offered as Software as a Service (SaaS). Google, are you listening ?




Friday, September 04, 2009

Evolutionary and Revolutionary innovation

Evolutionary and Revolutionary innovation

As the aforesaid statement indicates 2 types of innovation.

  1. Evolutionary way
  2. Revolutionary way

An evolutionary upgrade to a product is when there is a minimal change and learning curve to move from the older version to the new version. If you have a version of the software in the following format aaa.bbb.ccc, then 'aaa' is called the major revision number and the other 2 are minor version numbers. Now assume that the current version number is 10.2.3. If the next version increases to 10.2.4 or sometimes maybe 10.3.3, then the progress is evolutionary. This new version of the product is easier to upgrade to and also easy to use.

Whereas a version number like 11.2.4 or maybe 10.3.3 may indicate a revolutionary version. This version is typically an overhaul of the entire system. For E.g: Office 2007 is a radical departure from Office 2003. I just got to see it today. And it rocks !!!

A small detour now.

A prototype is a model of a system. It may partly or fully depict the system. There are 2 types of prototypes:

  1. Evolutionary
  2. Throwaway

Evolutionary prototypes evolve with time.

Throwaway prototypes are used only once and then thrown away, like many types of bags. Many times a throwaway prototype can be compared with throwaway innovation.

You may be thinking as to why did I take you through a detour. The answer is simple. A prototype is a type of innovation - hence the relation.

To tell you the truth what matters in the end is what the customer gets. If its beneficial truly for the end user then it will succeed, have no doubts about that.



Thursday, September 03, 2009

Words don't come easy

Words don’t come easy.

How do you describe a tree? In many ways. Each description falls short of one thing. The feeling. You can say ‘I sat by the tree and it felt good’. Well if you are describing the tree later, the feeling is already gone. Or let’s say you are writing a poem while you are under the tree, by the time you have felt it and the time you take to describe it using words, you have missed a beat. Because while describing it you are not feeling it, you are simply imagining it.

That is the primary difference between a man and a machine. A machine will be able to imagine but not feel, in the sense that we do. So much so that a machine may reach 99.99% accuracy in feeling but never the 100%. Why? Because machines are trapped in the time delusion. A true feeling transcends time. It just ‘is’. Hence cannot be described in words. What we describe in words is just an approximation.

Assume that you have a computer in which you are using Photoshop. Further contemplate that you have drawn a picture. When you see the picture, you may not feel it. But at a certain point of time, you will. And that is the same feeling as when you were working on it engrossed fully drawing the beauty.

Feeling is our intimate connection to God. It is a prayer. A kind of gratitude that we feel towards an object – be it animate or inanimate. The best I can extrapolate it to a ‘one’ ness with the object where the observer (you) and the observed (the object) merge. There is no objectivity. No subjectivity also. It’s just a moment in eternity.

Learn to be more alert whether you are watching a movie or working on a program. And you will start feeling the creation in its entire-ity. The entire universe is a projection in a point of time. But as you feel more, you know that the delusion of time withers away into the ‘one’ with your consciousness.

I myself have failed to describe it in words. And it just cannot be done. Till such time, lets compromise for the pseudo real, and then we wake up in Bliss ... Someday. Somewhere.



Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Computers for Students

Computers for Students

For those wishing to study computers, here’s what it takes

1. Passion, Passion, Passion
2. Read, Read, Read
3. Understand deeply
4. Reflect
5. Relate to nature

A flair for mathematics would be of help, but not necessary.

Computing is as vast as Pacific Ocean. There are so many different branches and so many things to learn. You need to specialize.

But before you do so, get a broad understanding of the subject. Look out for mentors. Submit to them and they will show you the way. The friend you have here is the internet. There is so much of good stuff available there that it can inundate you. But don’t get intimidated.

Some Do’s and Dont’s

1. Learn atleast 1 new thing everyday
2. Listen to the voice of the experts and the people (the long tail)
3. Follow news regularly
4. Pick up a subject and keep a timeline for studying it. Monitor it to closure.
5. Move onto related subject areas for eg: Computers are being used almost everywhere in every facet of life.
Study the line of application also very well
6. Don’t be in a hurry. You will learn
7. Focus and Concentrate. Don’t let your thoughts drift when you are studying.
8. Think of the work. Remember, the ‘What’ is more important than ‘Who’

And finally pray to God before you embark on anything ...

All the best

Guru 30

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The fire in the Fox – Getting to understand Firefox better

The fire in the Fox – Getting to understand Firefox better

I started using Firefox sometime back and have never stopped till now. Although I have used other browsers,I must admit that Firefox is my favourite. Maybe it’s for the reason that I did not try other browsers enough to get attached to them.

Let me anyway tell you my experience with Firefox, starting from their logo. The logo itself raises waves of anticipation in my heart and mind and I’m eager to get to the Firefox open window. I just love the tabs – what would one do without them
– multiple windows – no way. I think tabs are more visible and alive than windows tucked away as tasks in the taskbar.

The best thing about Firefox is that it is extensible using extensions and add-ons. I still do not know the difference between the two, but why should I really care as long as my work gets done. Not being an escapist; just trying to be practical.

Some cool extensions are InterGlue, WebMailNotifier, McAfee Sit Advisor, WikiLook, Zotero, Personas etc. These are the ones that I use, and I really would have loved to talk about it. But let me hear from you if you are using any of these extensions/add-ons. There are so many extensions/add-ons that it may be more than the leaves in a banyan tree.

The Fire in the Fox refers to the extensions/add-ons of this clever product.
Hence the Fox (the base product) is a runaway hit primarily because of the
way you can customize it using extensions/add-ons.

So far so good.

Now let me tell you about Firefox, right from the heart. It’s not a program, it’s a gift from all those people who worked on it for several years and gave us this marvel. I do not know any names, but here’s three cheers and kudos to the entire team that was involved in giving us this special gift. We treasure it and thank you for the same.

P.S: I would also like to thank Firefox competitors who keep them on their toes – always up and running.

HipHip Hurray