Send your name to Space !!

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Dd you also want your name to travel aboard the Dawn spacecraft on its mission to the Asteroid Belt ? Then click here !! I did it and My name is on the Dawn ... :-)

Your name is traveling aboard the Dawn spacecraft on its mission to the Asteroid Belt.

Enjoy !!

Some interesting facts about Google

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Some interesting facts about Google … Scattered notes taken that have very little to do with the substance of Google founder Larry Page's talk:

Larry Page: Google Co-Founder; President, Google Products; Computer Science Ph.D. Student "On Leave"

Larry Page: "Google has been profitable since the first quarter of 2001. Why did we make becoming profitable such a priority? It's good that we did, because we might well be gone if we hadn't. The real reason is that we became profitable in the first quarter of 2001 because Sergey Brin made it a priority. You see, Sergey would try to go out on dates. He would call up women. And to impress them he would say, 'I'm the president of a money-losing dot-com.' But in Palo Alto in 2000, a huge number of people were presidents of money-losing dot-coms. And so they would not call him back. And he thought, 'If only I were president of a money-making dot-com, things would be very different...'"

Larry Page: "It wasn't that we intended to build a search engine. We built a ranking system to deal with annotations. We wanted to annotate the web--build a system so that after you'd viewed a page you could click and see what smart comments other people had about it. But how do you decide who gets to annotate Yahoo? We needed to figure out how to choose which annotations people should look at, which meant that we needed to figure out which other sites contained comments we should classify as authoritative. Hence PageRank.
"Only later did we realize that Page Rank was much more useful for search than for annotation..."

We missed both things. We didn't go public during the boom. We didn't go bankrupt during the bust.

Why is Google still around:
  • We're lucky.
  • Deep technical understanding of what we are doing.
    o Not true of many companies (not Inktomi, of course).
  • Everybody searches.
  • Everything successful in terms of traffic has stayed successful in some way (except for napster; although kazaa's doing pretty well: kazaa is well-designed to be illegal; but not my idea of fun).
  • How we make money: ads. I would never have guessed that we had ads for steel buildings...

World Graph of where the searches are coming from... India pretty amazing... Lots more searches coming from India than electric lights at night...

Company Name Etymologies

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Did you know some of the below company name etymologies ??

Wipro - Western India Products Limited. (From the company's modest start as a vanaspati and laundry soap producer. Now a IT services giant based in India.)

Apple - for the favourite fruit of co-founder Steve Jobs and/or for the time he worked at an apple orchard. He was three months late in filing a name for the business, and he threatened to call his company Apple Computer if his colleagues didn't suggest a better name by 5 p.m. Apple's Macintosh is named after a popular variety of apple sold in the US. Apple also wanted to distance itself from the cold, unapproachable, complicated imagery created by the other computer companies at the time had names like IBM, NEC, DEC, ADPAC, Cincom, Dylakor, Input, Integral Systems, SAP, PSDI, Syncsort and Tesseract. The new company sought to reverse the entrenched view of computers in order to get people to use them at home. They looked for a name that was unlike the names of traditional computer companies, a name that also supported a brand positioning strategy that was to be perceived as simple, warm, human, approachable and different. Note: Apple had to get approval from the Beatle's Apple Corps to use the name 'Apple' and paid a one-time royalty of $100,000 to McIntosh Laboratory, Inc., a maker of high-end audio equipment, to use the derivative name 'Macintosh', known now as just 'Mac'.

Microsoft - coined by Bill Gates to represent the company that was devoted to MICROcomputer SOFTware. Originally christened Micro-Soft, the '-' was removed later on.

Nike - named for the Greek goddess of victory.

Nokia - started as a wood-pulp mill, the company expanded into producing rubber products in the Finnish city of Nokia. The company later adopted the city's name.

Red Hat - Company founder Marc Ewing was given the Cornell lacrosse team cap (with red and white stripes) while at college by his grandfather. People would turn to him to solve their problems, and he was referred to as 'that guy in the red hat'. He lost the cap and had to search for it desperately. The manual of the beta version of Red Hat Linux had an appeal to readers to return his Red Hat if found by anyone.

Oracle - Larry Ellison, Ed Oates and Bob Miner were working on a consulting project for the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency). The code name for the project was Oracle (the CIA saw this as the system to give answers to all questions or some such). The project was designed to help use the newly written SQL database language from IBM. The project eventually was terminated but they decided to finish what they started and bring it to the world. They kept the name Oracle and created the RDBMS engine. Later they changed the name of the company, Relational Technology Inc, to the name of the product.

Yahoo! - a "backronym" for Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle. The word Yahoo was invented by Jonathan Swift and used in his book Gulliver's Travels. It represents a person who is repulsive in appearance action and is barely human. Yahoo! founders David Filo and Jerry Yang selected the name because they jokingly considered themselves yahoos.

From Tsunami to Tsunamika !!

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On December 26, 2004 disaster struck through the seas. Its almost a year since the word "Tsunami" got prominence as a word in India. It also changed the lives of thousands of people in South India.

If you thought you know Tsunami .. Then, what is Tsunamika ?? I just saw a program last night in CNN-IBN last night about Tsunami and also the new term for the year … Tsunamika !! Check it out !!

Operation Home - IV

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The Broker …

When you scan newspapers classified ads … Apart from getting a chance to see property… You also get to meet brokers … They are a very interesting category of workforce involved in real estate business.

Real estate Brokers work in networks. Normally work for a 1% of the value for the property (Sometimes from the buyer or sometimes from both the buyer and seller). So I met all kinds of brokers trying to market the property in all kinds of ways. They are the ones primarily responsible for increase in real estate prices in any city.

I saw all kinds of Lands, ½ a ground, one ground … (well for novices in real estate one ground = 2400 sq.ft.) in almost all parts in South Chennai. I had seen so many areas that as a byproduct, I started becoming conversant with the areas in South Chennai.

The Brokers showed us all kind of properties. We used to see lands in some interior part of some area, and find the price too much to pay for such an interior areas … There were issues of the land not being approved by the local corporation authorities (so in that case I wouldn't get a Bank loan for that land) … Some land that were really well located in a good area was … as expected … out of our reach … J … So we kept looking for more property…

There have been occasions when 4 different brokers have shown us the same piece of land on different occasions. They all quotes different prices and marketed it is different ways … It was real fun to look at it in such a different perspective … The moment we reach the area, I would start guessing and tell my dad that the broker may show us the same place again … And it was fun to get a new price quote …

On one occasion, a broker was planning to show me a land in Thoraipakkam (South Chennai), we crossed some really nice residential localities. My hopes widened as we drove by …But he went on … and on … and on … until we reached a huge open land … He kept driving … and I followed … We reached the center of the open land and he pointed to a piece of land encompassed in between four corner mark-up stones and said, "This is the land". And that too … 15 Lakhs for that !! I said, "Thanks" and returned home.

On another occasion the broker took me to show another land. Thankfully, it had rained for some days … so things were more interesting … He took me to a place where the road was bumpy and was on the side of large stretch of land full of water due to the rains … It was almost like a lake. I was wondering where the property in consideration was !! He stopped in between to point at four long stones protruding out of the "lake" land and said that was the "land" he wanted to show me. I mentioned that since I didn't know swimming, and also I had a car to park in my prospective home … so that would be an issue for me.

So these crazy brokers would show me all kinds of property that there were moments when it all seemed hopeless … That is when my father suggested that we could probably hunt for flats also. So we started to look out for flats. Probably, even second-hand flats which was not so old (upper-limit of about 6 years).

Now we had a wider segment to target now …

Operation Home - III

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Rains have stopped …. The Work spike has smoothened out … So its time to continue Operation Home - III

So where did I leave last time … Ok so we started looking at some local papers for classified ads. One of the first properties that we saw was a land (½ ground) in Velachery, which was shown to us by one particular builder (I will prefer not to name him). We liked it because the nice residential area it was located in and also proximity to shops and bus-stop etc was excellent. So we decided that we should go for it. We also paid a token advance to the builder.

As per the normal procedures, we wanted to get the legal papers of the land verified by a lawyer. I asked some colleagues in office about any reliable layers that I could get in touch with. One of my colleague, when he heard the area in Velachery that I was talking about, cautioned me that there were lots of legal problems in the land available in that particular area in Velachery. He mentioned that one of his friends who was about to purchase a land in that area was advised by his lawyer not to go for that property (even if someone gave it away for free). In the episode I found the lawyer that I was looking for. I traced his contacts, and he asked me to bring the papers of the property and he would look into it.

We contacted that builder who was supposed to give us the papers. He kept saying that it would be ready in 4-5 days and was pressing for us to begin the Bank Loan Procedures. He also suggested that he had good contacts with SBI and would get us a good offer. Due to my father's experience and prudence, we said that any further move will happen only after verifying the legal papers. We kept waiting for a month for him to give the papers. He said it was ready … but when I asked if I could come and collect it, he would give some excuse that it was presently not with him etc. After a while we could sense that there was some problem because of which he was avoiding giving the papers to us. So we called off the deal.

When we met him (the builder) for the first time, he seemed like a good old man … a "Brahmin" fellow … So there was slight good-feel about it … Old man + Brahmin us some comfort. But it all doomed when he ditched us … We are yet to get our money back … Good that it wasn't much … But I am sure we'll get it back!!

So in short we were back to square one … Looking at classified ads in newspapers.

Firefighting Over … Back to blogging .. (I hope)

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Having a blog is one thing … posting on it "regularly" is another thing … As you noticed I broke my promise … And as it seems … I will never make promises on my blog again … ok .. Lemme get back to continue my previous post.

1. It rained cats and dogs here in Chennai. Some stupid cyclone kept playing games with us (and the met dept), for a week it said that its going to hit Chennai… but it didn't … It fooled the met dept and conveyed that it had gone weak … But when the SOB did strike it was anything but weak (coz if that was weak then I wonder what strong would be like…)
2. Before we could handle that, another one (cyclone) is planning to strike. Its called Fanoos. And it lay centred 500 kilometres east-south-east of Chennai today morning. Waiting to strike. Inside the office you just don't realize, once you get outside you see that there is devastation. I am seriously sick and tired of cyclones. They have made life hell here … Chennai has probably got all the rain it missed out on for the last 5 years in 15 days.
3. As a part of Operation Home, I have registered a flat (second hand) in Velachery in Chennai. People who have been following "Operation Home" may wonder how did it reach here … Well details on that would be available in the next post "Operation Home III" … Well it’s a long story … So I will leave it at that. I am frankly not all that thrilled … its not that I don't like the flat (I actually love it) … but its probably because I haven't moved in yet (plan to do that in feb or march)… once I do that, I should be able to express the happiness …
4. I participated in one Television Show … in some "god-knows-which" kinda channel … that's broadcast in UK … Its called "Vectone TV" Where the program is like Saptaswarangal in Sun TV (or for non Tamilians like Sa Re Ga Ma on Zee TV). And I got the first prize in that program. So a small success coming my way …
5. My Attai … my father's elder sis passed away on 28th Nov. We rushed to Coimbatore in Car and returned back the next day night. Hectic, but had the satisfaction of paying the last respects. Will miss her ...
6. Planning to have a good rest on the weekend. I am down with fever, cold, cough and I am in office. So after today evening, its rest time. Operation Home III may happen over the weekend.

Have a great weekend.

Firefighting ...

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Having a blog is one thing … posting on it "regularly" is another thing … Well … work kept me busy … high level of inefficiencies at workplace got me sooooo bugged that I just didn't feel like opening a word doc and start typing for the blog … And considering the amount of time that I spent last week in office, the computer was the last thing I wanted to stare at when I reached home. Anyways … enough of excuses and lemme get right to the point … Lemme put things that happened in the week in the order that it comes to my mind …

1. It rained cats and dogs here in Chennai. Some stupid cyclone kept playing games with us (and the met dept), for a week it said that its going to hit Chennai… but it didn't … It fooled the met dept and conveyed that it had gone weak … But when the SOB did strike it was anything but weak (coz if that was weak then I wonder what strong would be like…)
2. Oooops … Fire Fire … I have to go fire fight !!

Will update tomorrow … Sure thing …

Build a better Bush ...

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You think that US president George Bush is not good enough ?? So go ahead Build a better Bush ... You'll enjoy this ...

Tom And Jerry

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Play the Tom and Jerry Game ... @ Cartoon Network

Enjoy ...

Visions of Science - Photographic Awards 2005

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The Visions of Science - Photographic Awards 2005 features some really beautiful award winning photographs ...
  1. Tiny shrimp fearlessly enters the mouth of a fish to clean its teeth
  2. Culex mosquito is just emerging from its pupa
  3. Image of a whole peppercorn with a grain of sea salt
  4. Blue ink diffusing into water takes on the appearance of jubilant figures with raised arms, as if in prayer
  5. Young Yemen chameleon has just captured a bush cricket with its sticky tongue

Absolutely beautiful ... Cjeck out more pics in this link Enjoy ...

Operation Home - II

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I moved to Chennai in April this year to join Satyam Computers. Little did I know that time that I would be looking at buying a house here in Chennai. Well … the main catalyst to this were mainly my parents. Amma felt that now that I am relatively settled in my job, so its time that I got a house for myself and settle down. J …

So we started looking out … There were various things to consider

  1. The Budget,
  2. The area of the city where we would like to get the house in,
  3. Whether a independent house or a flat,
  4. If independent house, how much land is required,
  5. If flat, new one or second sale,

And a million such questions crossed our minds …

After some thinking, we felt that we could look at building an independent house. The obvious advantages were independence and freedom to build the house in the way we want. The prospect looked pretty good to me. I was already starting to dream about a cute little independent house with a car park, small lawn and all that! Others also seemed to like what I dreamt so we decided to go all out to look for a land to build our house.

Another reason we were looking at an independent house was because of our past experience. We had a flat in Baroda, Gujarat and when we decided to sell it off, we didn't get a good price for it. This is because the price of flats appreciates for the first few years … and after some 10-15 years, its value starts to depreciate because of the aging of the flat etc. In case an independent house even if the building ages after some years the value of land always appreciates. Keeping this fact in mind we decided that it would make business sense to go for an independent house

Watch out for the next in the series …

Operation Home - I

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I am planning to post a series of blogs, where I am going to elaborate upon my experiences, (happy, disappointing, frustrating, funny, revealing, shocking, heartening) as I plan and execute "Operation Home". Yes … I am planning to buy a house for myself and make it my home. So you'll find some Blogs with the title "Operation Home".

So watch out …

The Beginning ...

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I start this initiative with some quotes because I love Quotes ... They inspire me ... They boost me when I am down and they provide some spice in my life ...

  1. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step - Lao Tsu
  2. All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning. Great works are often born on a street corner or in a restaurant's revolving door - Albert Camus
  3. Fear not that thy life shall come to an end, but rather fear that it shall never have a beginning - John Henry Cardinal
  4. Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  5. Asking is the beginning of receiving. Make sure you don't go to the ocean with a teaspoon. At least take a bucket so the kids won't laugh at you - Jim Rohn
  6. The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be the beginning - Ivy Baker Priest
  7. You're searching, Joe, for things that don't exist; I mean beginnings. Ends and beginnings -- there are no such things. There are only middles - Robert Frost

Quite a Start .. huh ???