Thursday, December 14, 2006

No Cheating!

I like people who dont cheat. And I find that its difficult for Marketing/MBA people to stay away from it.
After all who will by a "standard" product. Everyone wants more and more features.. And the marketing dudes advertise the product such a way that people get fooled and get wrong notions about the product..

I dont know how far their claim is true but Pest Control of India has a nice brochure which at te least educates the consumers about the technicalities of they provide..see for yourself .. its somewhat enlightening.... after all who thought that there were so many varieties of so many pests in mumbai! (i dont know about the copyright issues involved in this but since they were mass distributing the brochures for free I suppose there wont be any problem withme scanning and putting it up for everyone else to see... beside its even more free advertising for them.. see what morally correct advertising can earn you!!! - still more publicity!)



Sunday, December 3, 2006

Some More Assorted stuff...

These were all accumulating up, so today i have decided to write them down here.. before they are lost in the oblivion...

Lonavale Trip

On 9th september, the dude and dudettes of our batch at L & T EmSyS, Mumbai went for a picnic to Lonavale..


The Bushi Dam was all dried up so we climbed up to the waterfalls.. the actual source of water to the dam.. A few minutes uphill walk took us to a small waterfall, where we all cooled off. But it wasnt fun enough so some of us went even higher up to another waterfall. This involved trekking thru virgin land. The whole route was actually a sort of rivulet and it was so much fun making our way up further, higher up to the better tub shaped cavity in the big rock into which the water was flowing. Me, Jithin, Saurabh,Biswadeep,Bhagvath and Joseph were the first ones to get there. Many of the other people why were trying to get there had got bored and had turned back from the half way point. But we kept moving one. And it was worth it. We spent 10-15 minutes there having fun in the cool water and taking pictures. Then we decided to get back as there were other part of our gang woh was waiting in the bus and probably worried about us (read "getting agonized"). But then again while getting back, we came across himani and shweta (shirali) who had came back to look for us, and it was just a matter of a few seconds before they had coaxed us into take them back there again. Its difficult to keep up with squirrel like antics of himani. You cant hold her back. She just hopped here and there and moved up the rocks even before you knew it.

The whole experience was invigorating. Specially since we needed a break for so long. All that trekking with friends actually made me feel good. Those experience wasnt "life threatening" and we never held each other's lives at the end of a line but still it fulfilled my wish of mountain climbing with friends to some extent. So atleast i know which guys do actually like adventure sports...mazaa aayaga tha..

While returning to mumbai, we made a stop at khandala .. some park where there were lots of monkeys... there i was trying to pick up shweta.. and dropped her.. she could have hit her head hard on the railing there.. and it would have been smashed open (himani and other guys caught her in time).. all because of my stupid over confidence.. (ek haath se uthane chala tha....himani ko ek haath se uthaya tha na pehle .. but of course she is halki phulki)... Well aaj tak jo bure marks (exams) ne nahin kiya tha woh dostone kar dikhaya.. they actually cured my over confidence.. (if only to a certain extent).. but what a price to pay.. sheesh.. i could have killed her.. and the stupid girl doesn't even realize it!! bhagwan bachaye logon ko mujh jaise doston se..!!

Railways..

If you have traveled by mumbai suburban trains then you are likely to have noticed a few things.. there are a lot of things strewn on the railway track.. especially at the stations.. These mostly include footwear.. and all of these are one of the pairs of slippers or chappals which have slipped off the foot of many of unfortunate commuters.. And they are found always in singles .. only one of the pairs... Either because only one of them slid off the foot of the owner or the owner might have thrown it on the track.. having lost the other one at the previous station!!

Then there is the rose line along the track... The red line created by the spit of the paan chewers.. (see MTV's campaign website http://www.dhartikelaal.com) .. I was wondering many people die by falling off the train... most of those who fall off the train are those standing at the door hanging outside.. and most of these people are paan chewers.. who obviously want to spit out the red when they are thru with it... i say if they don't die by falling off the train, they would surely die because of cancer... so no point feeling bad about them...

Customer Service

It always pays to be loyal.. I have had a hutch (which was formerly "orange" and which in turn was formerly "maxtouch") cell phone connection for past 6-7 years.. right from 11th grade.. and so after 2-3 years of service they activated STD for free without deposit on my fone and now i have got them to activate ISD too and they didnt charge me a thing...

..then there are the HDFC people... the other day i requested a DD and there was they misspelt the name of the beneficiary... some error due to incompatibility of netbanking with the firefox browser...and even though i used my moms account to conduct the transaction, they fixed the DD without her being there just because the lady there knew our family well.. Thats what you call Personal Banking!!!

Mumbai Radio Station and Autorickshaw Drivers

I had an idea the other day... we all have heard the song "yeah mumbai shahar haadson ka shahar hai, yahan zindagi hadsoon ka safar hai, yahan roz roz har mod mod pe hota hai koi na koi hadsa.."
Our city really lives up to it:road accidents, train blasts, bus blasts, floods etc etc...
And then there are road jams.. and during the road jams, the people stuck in there could actually use some real information about their city.. the information of the kind that isn't available thru newspapers or TV or timetable or poster.. but thru word of mouth.. and what best way to get it other then from the people who traverse the length and breadth of the city everyday: the BEST bus drivers and the Autorickshaw drivers..
The FM radio stations of mumbai are really sad, the RJs call up dumb people who aren't entertaining enough and usually don't know what to say. Its actually not their problem, because common people seldom see much action every day. But it would be really great if these stations could give a few Auto drivers and BEST bus drivers cellphones. Auto drivers normally are mast people and these dudes usually just stick to a particular area of mumbai. A few drivers in each particular areas could be given cellphones. The Radio station could call them up once anytime during the day and ask them for the latest updates from their area. This would really be better as the drivers would actually give eye witness accounts of the various "hadse" in mumbai. Same is true for the BEST bus drivers/conductors. They ply on the same route again and again everyday and have information of all incidents happening on those routes. Actually many of the incidents/hadse happen in the BEST buses themselves....

Clinical Compromise

Many people are really lazy when it comes to taking medicine. Its really shame that so much time, effort and money spent on medical research goes to waste because of these people. But more than the time, effort and money, its the lives of the fellow humans that these people put at risk by not taking medicines on time or by leaving the recommended medical course incomplete.

Whenever we visit the doctor to course some microbial sickness, he/she prescribes us certain medicines to be ingested at particular times during the day for a particular number of days to ensure that the microbes causing the disease are completely eliminated. Many people leave the course half way and stop taking the medicine. They think that since they are already cured, they don't need to take the medicines anymore. But this is a very wrong perception. Usually even when the symptoms are gone, some amount of microbes still remain in our body. Taking those medicine for a bit longer time even after we seem to have been cured ensures that even those left over microbes are killed and the disease is completely gone. If we miss out on the final doses, it may happen that the remaining microbes might mutate and become resistant to the medicine. If this happens, the person might fall sick again and this time the medicines wont work on the new resistant strain anymore. In fact if this guy passes on his disease to any other person, he too will get sick and the medicines will have no effect on him either. This is called clinical compromise. So by not taking the medicines properly as per doctors recommendations, we are not only putting our lives in danger but also those of our fellow men and women. We have absolutely no right to do so, therefore we must act responsibly and take our medicines properly, on time and completely.

Cause and Effect

Yes, we are being taught crap in colleges in India... Yes i screwed my acadmics to gain a bit more insight on the practical side..(eventough i still keep forgetting how a transistor works).. and Yes, many people have said many things on how to fix the system... but whats the use...

Lets see what one of them wants to say.. : Sudheendra Kulkarni - Why India needs to learn how to teach

Now what this guy says is truly correct, its the right way to fix the system, but its hard to visualise how to actually go on implementing those "renovation stunts". I mean the stuff presented in the article is simple enough to be understood.. you dont have to be a PhD in economics/engineering/psychology/sociology to understand what the dude is saying.. but there is no way a simple common man can come up with actual implementation plans for this. I look at people now a days.. they dont have the bloody time to think anything... You tell them that we have a problem... you even go ahead and tell them that this could be the solution .. but still that isnt enough, because they wouldnt know how to implement the required plan of action. We know that bureaucracy is a big killer, but if you ask a commn man on how he would propose to eliminate it, he wouldnt have a clue.. so why talk about only the abstract part of the solution, why not tell people specificly what to do... Prof. Gadre has a better take on it..see:




This article appeared in EFY a few quarters ago.. and I was into robotics and had already got my HAM license by then.. and thats when i first mailed him. I know him ever since.

Getting back to the topic, when we read Prof. Gadre's take on it, we actually get to understand what we could do actually do about it.. Get a hobby: Robotics or HAM. This is simple enough for people to understand. Common people can encourage their children to take up such hobbies.. and the plethora of technical event held by so many colleges (no matter how sub standard and no matter how much MBA giri they involve) can really sustain their interest in such hobbies..

But has any one thought of the root cause of the whole damn problem???????

The problem is that in India and other such developing nation, we still have to "FIGHT" for our daily living. Earning enough money to run our families isnt something we do pleasurably but some thing which kills some of us. Look at the people in Mumbai for instance.. The roads are crap, the autorickshaws have no suspensions, Buses and trains are jampacked and arent comfortable enough and lead to physiological pains, the offices and homes of the worker classes are never located nearby and so the whole damn mass of people have to travel so many kilometers in those crapped up modes of transportation that no one has time to think freely...

All this stress uses up all the RAM and processing power of your brain. You hate your work because your family didnt have any money to allow you to pursue your dreams of a career that you liked or you didnt take up the job of your choice because they didnt pay you well there.. Engineers turn themselves into MBA just to earn more money... and then end up sad internally even though they might have enough money for a prosperous life... Why????? because you see that the people with lesser money suffer a lot... but then look at all these people.. when it comes to travelling everyday to work and back , none of them is any better.. yes the rich people have cars of their own and they dont have to suffer the fists and elbows of the crowded trains and buses everyday.. but they still get stuck in traffic jam.. You call this civilised??? I dont..
Even if you have more money, you cant spend your time in your car while transiting from office to home thinking up new ideas, there is nothing inspiring to look outside the window to get the ideas from (we are talking about Mumbai here).. You just get ideas for stupid anecdotes for your next presentation (remember the dudes with the umbrellas doing the morning business under the kurla flyover on eastern express highway??).

So wasting hours just trying to stand up straight and breathe in those trains and buses is tiring to the core.. so when do you think up new ideas to be a better human, a better society, a better nation???

So when even after fighting so much, a person's basic physiological and safety needs are just satisfied, how can you expect him to focus on higher needs? see Maslow's hierarchy of needs

In Delhi there is another reason which impeads free reasonable thought. People are just too trying "jugaads" to earn more money (by hook or by crook) to show off!!... and yeah they "HAD" the transportation problem there too.. But with the setting up of the Metro Rail, that is solved to a very very large extent. In fact Metro is a great leveller. Its no longer cool to take out your brand new merc to travel from one end of the city to the other when you have a sexy air condition Metro Rail. Besides Since it moves above the ground in most places, a ride in one of those is actually pleasant (you can enjoy the scenery/landscape) and people can actually spend time reading or thinking about the next big thing while travelling.. so whether its the rich or the poor, both pay up the same amount of fare and both travel happily... and so feel good and think nice thought while doing so.. thats being civilised.

There are some people (including myself) who can think perfectly well in even in the crapped up transportation of mumbai too... but by the time they reach home they are just too busted to write their thought down and propagate them... and thats the reason why i get very little time during which my mind is fresh active and free to actually write them down properly enough...today is one of these days..

Today in the afternoon, while returning from dadar, I couldnt find a working Coupon Validating Machine at Dadar station so I looked around to buy a card ticket to Andheri, but the lines were so damn long that i decided to travel without a ticket.. and i was ready to bore the consequences if caught. And it happened. The TC caught me at Andheri station and fined 250 rupees. Well thats why they say time is money... In case of travelling, i would rather sacrifice money and reach the destination comfortably and early rather than standing in long queues and allow people around me more time to pass me their infectious diseases by sneezing without covering their faces... You cant think free thought when you are really really sick.. and The Air conditioner at the office only makes it worse... I wonder how fast they can build the metro in mumbai...

We were ruled over by british for 250 years and 60 years later, we still arent free.

My Boss Mr. Bhupendra Bhate (SBU Head, L &T EmSyS, Mumbai) had narrated a nice observation to us during his intro speech.. He identified a region (parallelogram shaped) on the world map that included the United Kingdom and the surrounds. He said that more than 70% of the discoveries and invention had come up in this region. Why? because the environment around them had forced the people to innovate.. eg. the Holland people built Dikes to "keep the sea away" and so became good at construction ... and he went on to give many more examples... but one think to realise is that there was another factor in all this... the dudes in those parallelogram also conquered the rest of the world and created frenzy all around while maintaining peace and civilisation in their own homes. This way all the basic needs of the people in their own land were satisfied and they created new things and came up with new ideas. The rest of the world couldnt do so when they were ruling it (Imperialism - the fine art of conquering the world). The Americans were the first to get freedom and hence become prosperous first and hence became civilized earlier than the rest of the world...
And hence came up with so many inventions...

In India, besides the fight for basic needs, there are always terrorist bombings and criminal activities going on.. and still some stupid leaders call us an IT superpower... right now we do IT only for a living... we can do a million times better we didnt have to worry about whats going to happen tomorrow...and with terrorist activities increasing everyday... we dont even know if we would make it thru the next day alive!

What s the solution to all this?? IT companies (or any other companies for that matter) should make it a point to setup new office very close to residential areas and should make sure that their employees are happy by providing them help (by means of loans or subsidised rents or by actually constructing apartments) in obtaining a resediantial place very close to the office... That way they dont have to tire themselves out by travelling so much... of course there are a million other ways to help in achieving a higher level of civilisation .. you can think up more ways during the free thinking time that you get after you have shifted to a place near your office!!!

Why is soil brown?

Some quarter years ago, while sitting in a bus, i just wondered:"why is soil brown?".. a pretty common question...
its common because the subject involved is common... but we seldom stop to think about such things..
A scientist/engineer would know why things are coloured:
There is a photon associated with each wavelength of light.
Light of different wavelength are composed of photons having differnt energies.
The lights of different wavelength are perceived as lights of different colors by our eyes.
Hence the different colors of light, are thought of as representing photons of different energy.
Now object on which white light falls, are composed of molecules or ions in a lattice. The electrons in these materials can only move between well defined discrete levels. And while doing that these electrons
absorb (lower energy level to higher energy level) or emit (higher energy level to lower energy level) photons. Since their energy levels are discrete, they can absorb only those photons which have energy higher than the difference of the two energy levels between which the electron transits. If a photon has a higher energy, the extra energy appears as the kinetic energy of electron which has now reached the new higher energy level.

If on the other hand, the electron transits from a higher to lower energy level, it will emit a photon which has energy which is the difference between the two energy levels.. this will form the monochromatic light which appears to be "reflected" from an object when a beam of white light (having photons of all kinds of energies) is incident on it.

There are two ways of producing a color as seen by our eyes:

a) shine a light of a particular wavelength on our eyes so as to produce that color

or
b) shine light of different wavelengths having different weights (intensity) to form the same sensation in our rods and cones as the single wavelength light above.
But there are some colors like purple and brown which can only be produced by method (b).

The reason for this is as follows:

consider the "Normalized typical human cone responses (and the rod response) to monochromatic spectral stimuli" chart given at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_vision and also given below:




We notice that there are certain overlapping regions between the "band pass filtering" type spectrums of the three different cones. Light of single wavelength in these overlapping regions of sufficient amplitude would produce a colour perception in the same way as the lights of two or more different wavelengths (and having appropriate amplitudes) appearing in non overlapping regions of the three curves. Purple for example can be created with a mixture of wavelengths in both the red and the blue. Brown requires a more complex mixture of wavelengths.



L M S are the different kind of cones in our eyes. See the above two links, (especially the wikipedia link) for more info about how the colour is perceived by our eyes. By the way, our eyes are more responsive to green color because our very first food were plants..which reflect green light!.. and why are plants green? .. aw! we know that one...They taught us in school..: Because they have chlorophyll! and according to http://www.pa.msu.edu/sciencet/ask_st/081496.html

"It turns out that eons of evolutionary design have matched the absorbance of chlorophyll to the actual color of the sunlight that reaches the leaves. Sunlight consists of primarily blue and red light mixed together, which are exactly the colors that chlorophyll molecules like to absorb. Light is a form of energy, so the chlorophyll is able to harvest the sunlight with little waste."

Getting back to topic of soil, its probably brown because of the lots of diffrent kinds of stuff mixed in it (dead or alive). See the Image on the left side : I dont remember where i got this article from , but it gives a bit more insight as to why soil is really brown.. For more on Maillard Reaction, see wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maillard_reaction

This is like another one of those natural cycles... as for me , I think the soil is brown because its has lots of stuff in it which can reflect light corresponding to different areas of color wheel. Its like water colors, now matter how much or how many colours (except for black color) you dissolve in the water, you always get brown color!

Similarly there so many things in nature which have different colors.. bright yellows sunflowers... green leaves... pink roses... red hibiscus.. orange oranges and mangoes etc etc..

All of these colors eventually mix (dead or alive) to form the soil....

In fact humans, who eat foods of different colors (omnivores) are also brown colored!!!

So when we die the brown of our skin mixes with the brown of the soil... ASHES TO ASHES, DUST TO DUST..


Talking about brown colour reminds me of one last thing.. a PJ..

Haldi (Turmeric powder): a single word which when uttered during the lunch time among my friends who know this joke can make them lose their appetite. I asked my mom what is the function of turmeric powder in our food.. she said she didnt know any major reason except for the flavouring and the antiseptic properties. Now the antiseptic properties have nothing to do with the haldi being used in food and as for flavour.... i am not sure it has one anyway...

So the only reason the chef uses it might be to warn the eater....

You see, when in the morning we are sitting on the sacred toilet (i say sacred because sitting on it has become a ritual and most rituals are sacred... and things which are sacred bring peace to our hearts (in this case, our stomachs)) we observe that what we excrete is brown in color, almost similar to the color of haldi (yellow). So in a way haldi in the food reminds you of the eventual food you are going to eat. Mostly this haldi is used in spicy foods, which is only fair... people need to be warned of the consequences of eating too much spicy food by reminding them of what they would have to deal with the next morning..... in this case the daily ritual would be painful but seem truly "sacred" later on!


Life+money+Engineering/R&D+consumerism=Cycles

There are cycles in our biosphere.. Water Cycle, Carbon Cycle, Nitrogen Cycle and then there are theoritical Cycles eg. Born Haber Cycle. Then there are the season... Similarly there are cycles in our socio-economic lives...
Most are chains of cause and effects.. I just realised one of these cycles: I as an engineer am working currently to develop a new product. This is involving one of those field sensors which is used in factories. I am working on creating a generic design (hardware/software) for those. This design could be used to make a field device for measuring any specific physical quantity. I am getting pay me for doing it.
Later on, we expect that an external client/company will give us a contract to design a specific product
using this generic thingy. They will pay our company for it.
They will then mass manufacture this product and market it. Customers will pay for these to use in their own factories which in turn mass manufacture some other product. This is probably an intermediary to be used in making some other product.
The company who makes this other product will pay the company making this intermediary for it. Finally the distributors/shopkeepers will take the final product to the market for consumption. And people like us (Engineers are human too!) will pay for these thereby completing the "money cycle". Come to think of it, the main function is to keep everyone busy.
People get paid for stuff and then they use this money to pay for other stuff. There are many small small money cycles like these and together they forme a larger money cycle. Those who have larger cash flows and larger cash outflow form the richer section of the society. They are the people who are a part of a larger number of these small small money cycles. They therefore can buy and do buy more kinds of "stuff" in to play with. Greed occurs when people want to be lazy. Being Lazy is easy. You dont have to do anything. But to do that you must have large reserve of money. For a large reserve of money you have to work hard and/or cunningly (read illegaly). But i wonder why people do that. Being lazy/greedy isnt being "civilised".

Talking about civilisation.. I rememeber a chapter from my 11th grade book... it was an excrept from a book "The story of Civilization" by C E M Joad. He says that civilization is not about beauiful palaces, bountiful riches etc etc... they make you happy, but after some time you get bored with it. Its neither about being able to buy anything... you cant buy too much of anything.. .. you would get bored this way too..

"Being civilised means making beautiful things, thinking freely and thinking new things, and keeping the rules, without which people couldn't get on together. Grown-ups call the first of these things "Art", the second"science and philosophy" and the third "political justice, and ethics"

I suppose there is nothing civilised about amassing lots of money... you get bored of not working anyway... and empty mind is a devils workshop...

There are some people who are just plain stupid..but still other plain people like them...

Take Shah Rukh Khan for example.. he goes around telling people that Amitabh Bacchan is a great man and no one can match him .. not even SRK himself. Yet he goes around doing things that Amitabh Bacchan did.. SRK is now doing the same advertisements that Amitabh Bacchan did, SRK did a remake of Don and now SRK is going to be on Kau Banega Crorepati.. come on give us a break, why are you making our lives complicated ..............

Let's pretend : The world's oldest game... how to play? simple... pretend to be someone else!!!... its too much simple... its too much fun... The whole film industry is a commercialization of this age old game.. (atleast they haven patented it!!) .... They make money by enticing us to watch them play it... And its so stupid of us to pay them to see something which we can play ourselves...Of course many of use cant do the stundt they can... with help of computers of course..

Anyway.. SRK is pretending to be the Big B... its like a Let's Pretend game within another Let's Pretend Game.. ""Game mein Game Parag Game""