Discussions over Tea (Of course, cutting maar ke)

Friday, August 22, 2003

CONSUMER : Tehelka - The People's Paper


Would it make more sense for a newspaper with the kind of agenda it plans to have, to launch under a different name, considering that the "Tahelka" name has been tarnished by it's past exposes/reports?
It would be interesting to watch the progress of "Tehelka - The People's Paper", for the public interest/awareness it creates.

CONSUMER : Sunny vale or Surat


What do Gujarat and California have in common? Well, there's this and there's this.

End of Post

CONSUMER : Do their promises hold water with you?


In the light of the government's decision to apply EU norms to all soft drink makers, I wondered why the bottling water crisis which had arisen in February died down and what action had been taken on the same.
My first reaction was to shout "Double Standards!" but I decided to google for the issue and came up with the following link.
It speaks of steps being taken by The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to set standards and ensure compliance to those standards by the bottling plants. The promised deadline for this effort is Jan 2004. I'm going to keep a bookmark in my calendar for Feb 2004, to see if anything did come out of this issue. Or else, Mr. Wajahat Habibullah, secretary to the department of consumer affairs will be hearing from me then.
When I travelled to Kerala, I would have consumed about 10 different brands of bottled water of which I would think 7-8 would be of suspect quality but are small fish in a big ocean which, therefore, escape the fisherman's nets. If the smaller firms are indeed culpable of not meeting standards, I hope their operations are stopped and the axe is wielded without any political intervention.

P.S. There's a brand of bottled water called "Ganga Mineral Water". Anyone, who has seen the Ganga, would agree with me that the waters there are not even fit for bathing, rather than drinking.

End of Post

Thursday, August 21, 2003

PERSONAL : Concept: "Discussions over Tea" a.k.a. I'm templamental.


On a whim, one of these days I was free, I decided to change my template around to remove a lot of clutter.
The basic idea for the new template is the concept of a "chai ki dukaan". Dusk, and all others who've been through engineering colleges or B-schools, will readily admit that the nukkad's "chai ki dukaan" has often been the locale for many an intelligent and stimulating conversation. Hence the "Discussions over tea".
The concept of "cutting maar ke" is a Bombay-ite concept. A "cutting" is a glass of tea, neither half, nor full, just right for that quick stop and refreshment in our busy routines. Nothing else was more significant, in the lives we live, where we're rushing between point A and point B, without wondering about all that affect us.

I have tried to get a much simpler look to the template (though starfest would disagree), and I managed to leave out some people from my original blog-rolls. Some inadvertently, some intentionally, because they don't update as frequently as I would like to, to have on my rolls. The classifications of the conversations, were done on the basis of contents of their blogs and the kind of people I think they are.
  • Black and Strong - refers to people who have been serious bloggers and write more topical posts that generic ones.
  • Kashmiri and Nutty - refers to the fact that Kashmiri tea is flavoured with almonds and hence the concept of "nutty" came about. People who I think are nutty enough and use humor as a weapon in their writings.
  • Nilgiri and Easy - refers to Nilgiri tea which is considered very easy and smooth to consume. These are mostly personal blogs, though they cover a wide range of topics from personal narratives.

Copyrights : Anyone is free to use anything from the site. Yes, Patrix, you can keep the chai waala image, though if you ever use it somewhere, do mention me in the "courtesy" section, if for nothing else, but the fact that I had to run through a lot of chinese photographs to get this "chai" photograph from the Google-Images pages.

From the old template, one of the first things to go, was my zonkboard. Although it was a source of occasional small-talk, it wasn't really necessary and the only traffic it was generating was on account of my geoup script which tracks your IP and identifies/displays the location incorrectly.

The sitemeter was the next tool to go. It was a feel-good thing when you start a blog and like getting visitors, but after a point I didn't really care and very rarely checked my hits/stats/demographic information.

The books/movies links were a difficult choice to let go, but the rationale was that if I needed to put up anything interesting about books I read, I would do it in the main content section. So there.

End of Post

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

IT : Vectorlounge


The lines between mathematics and computers blend to create this beautiful piece of work.

(Link courtesy Metafilter)

End of Post

BUSINESS : Back Scratching


As you move higher in a common-use product organization, you move from a conventional designer/ production specialist/ engineer kind of role into the hospitality business. Meet the stockists, meet the dealers, socialise with them, arrange parties for them, arrange games and surprise gifts, arrange shows involving celebrities where the above are invited. Keep 'em happy. That is the name of the game.
Sometimes, it doesn't matter how good your product is (which it might be). It's a crazy world out there.
- Lessons from a Tuesday night.

End of Post

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

IT : Stuck in the middle


Rediff carries the following report on the rating given by Gartner to the Indian stalwarts for their BPO operations. The report is very symptomatic of the overall ills within the Indian IT Industry at large. While as a services sector, we excel with firms like Infosys, Wipro, TCS, HCL, CTS and Satyam we have not been able to break through in the business process outsourcing. The two questions that also beg to be answered are -

  • When Indian firms outdo themselves in the services sector, why is it that there are no products or new initiatives coming from there?".

  • Are we such an IT-driven country, that somewhere we are missing out on the base domains which are essential as the foundation for any IT operation?

One defense is that the IT industry in India is made up of fresh graduates whereas the US industry was made up of professionals from other fields who moved over to IT sensing opportunity and brought along that plethora of knowledge.

And that is why products like Flexcube are like a breath of fresh air. For any BPO operation to be successful as a company-wide initiative, domain expertise (sic!) needs to be developed and intellectual capital (sic!) needs to be built.
Often companies that have invested in this intellectual capital building have had their fingers burnt when these trained resources leave for better paying jobs in the US markets. But this is bound to be the case in the nascent stage of any initiative. Also, stiff resistance is emerging from IT professionals in the US, to what they see as the loss of knowledge to loss of power to the loss of jobs scenario.

But until this gap is bridged this shall always remain an "emerging" economy.

End of Post

Monday, August 18, 2003

SOCIAL DISTRESS : Communication Breakdown


As the lights went out across N-E USA and Canada, people were plunged into darkness. This meant that systems were paralyzed, road transport was at a standstill, the metro transport trains stranded and people slept on the stairs of the City Hall. In the aftermath of it all, I have just two comments to make on the incident -

One, is how the USA has been so driven by fear that a power outage is interpreted as an impending terror attack. I'm not sure whether the fear is valid (to some measure it is), but the people are now driven by fear of attacks (a weapon used well by political parties) and hence the will do anything to protect themselves. Yet, as a people, there wasn't significant panic after the power outage. In fact, people behaved in such an orderly manner and with such respect for law and order that it raises their esteem in my eyes.

The other observation was made by a few Indian comments that I heard in the news and from colleagues at work - The trigger was the fact that the US don't have any backup for such large scale emergencies and that in India it wouldn't have created such a furore and the fact that their politicians had to go on air to calm the populace. The comment in question being, that such a thing would never have happened in India. Our politicians wouldn't go on air to assure the people. Our people wouldn't demand accountability of the responsible bodies. Our people would just go on with the "Chalta hai, hota hai" attitute and get on with our lives.

We've got a long way to go.

End of Post

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Concept :"Discussions over Tea"


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