Saturday, November 25, 2006

All the King's Men

I finished a book in print after many many years. 'All The King's Men' is an American classic and 600 pgs long.

As classics go, it isn't in the same league as Les Miserables, but it's very entertaining nevertheless. The Willie Talos story of a well-meaning politician getting totally corrupted - almost fully knowingly - is wonderfully told. The other subplots meander around and are mostly irrelevant to the story. Otoh, these subplots give excellent insights about how Americans lived in the South in decades past.


Friday, November 24, 2006

Chickungunya surfaces

The dangerous mosquito-borne Chickungunya disease has entered the US too. Wonder if CDC has any treatment guidelines for it.


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Amazing ad for Telecom Italia

Check out this excellent Telecom Italia ad. Triple play - is that what it's called?


Hygiene factors

Gunjan kept using the phrase 'hygiene factors' when I visited him in Bangalore. Once, I fleetingly thought I understood what he meant, but then I was confused the next time he used the phrase in a different context. Here is the Wikipedia definition. Meseems this man Herzberg hijacked the word 'hygiene' and twisted it out of shape. Hygiene factors, according to him, are:
* Pay
* Fringe Benefits
* Relationship with co-workers
* Physical Environment
* Supervisor-Employee Relations



Thru a random post on Reddit, I discovered this subculture of the so-called demosceners. These guys make little animated executable files called demos with cool music tracks. A sample. The main website with all the action is This demo is really good. Watch out - this stuff kills the CPU on my laptop at least.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Back in the West

(Nov 20, 2006 - Hong Kong)
The toilets have paper exclusively - no buckets, tumblers, water jets or hand showers (in fashion all over India currently) to wash the butt. Hong Kong Airport is EXTREMELY busy right now. Flights from Europe, N. America and Asia are all here.

There's a camera at the bottom of the 777 that shows the landing gear and the ground. Channel 54 shows the view on your personal TV set in front of your seat - the landing in Hong Kong was spectacular.

The US is adding a lot of overhead for its friends. 5 gates have been set aside for US-bound flights - with separate hand baggage checks etc. Even the flights to Israel have less stringent controls. It seems a bit overdone - this extra security - and somewhat meaningless. I was taken thru a 'random' security check and forced to throw away the two water bottles I was carrying with me. They were tiny bottles so I gulped the water down instead of throwing them away.

The aircraft to SFO is an old 747 - the one to Hong Kong was a brand spankin' new 777. No channel 54 on this plane. As long as it gets me home... The aircraft is totally full and flights will only get busier over the next few days.

There's a 3G cell phone network that my phone hooked up to - unfortunately my phone is not 3G-ready.

Estimated arrival time 12:09.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

On the way back

(Nov 20, 2006 - Mumbai)
It took even less time on the way back to the airport - like 30 min or so. The Armada was hurtling @ around 90kmph.

Young drunk drivers are killing street dwellers in Mumbai. After a particularly gory incident last week, the police has put a few checkpoints along the way in South Mumbai.

I'm now resting on a fully-reclined seat in the departure area at the airport - the flight leaves in another 2.5 hrs. Trying not to sleep to adjust the body clock to California time.

Lots of people going to the Gulf. Long lines heading that way.

Spent the afternoon in Colaba. Cottonworld, Westside, Jahangir Art Gallery etc. Lots of nice stuff in the gallery - acrylic-on-wool, large clay figures etc. Not just paintings. Had lunch at Chetana - very expensive thali - totally not worth Rs. 250. Also admired the Prince of Wales Museum from the outside - a very impressive building indeed. Entry fee: Rs. 15 for Indians, Rs. 300 for foreigners!

When oh when will we be able to board flights at reasonable hours from India?

In-laws have broadband and WiFi now. They were resting and so I caught up with some of my favorite blogs. I now think the whole Enterprise 2.0 or Web 2.0 thing is a bit bogus. The real Enterprise 2.0 is not the one that uses Ajax or SaaS: it's actually that which uses BPO effectively. Socialtext is so totally passe...

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