The years most interesting photos.



SI.com has some amazing pics related to the sports world. Check them out !!!

A lot of 3s


Today, the bike turned everything to 3 ! have a look !


Hi-Res space pics

Nasa has the following hi res pic of the space walk !

Safer Firefox

As most know firefox is a safer webbrowser than IE. But how safe is it ? See the ad below :-D

Every good work of software starts by scratching a developer's personal itch

India's global march is on the shoulders of IT. Which to many people gives images of nerds sitting in front of computers doing god knows what ! If you are the ones who consider the above and don't know what these nerds are doing - this article is not for you ! :-D

However, some of the concepts here can be applied to other creative streams also.

The problem is that though we are an IT force, in my experience, we don't really know how to make good software. So, even after being an IT superpower as some profess loudly we don't have any great products coming out. Sure - we have some great companies like WIPRO and INFOSYS, but they are into services. WIPRO has over the last few years stared working on products like RFID, but the focus there is more to be able to show a proof of concept to get more clients.

As a result of the service mentality, we seem to be lagging behind a lot in the development front. Google recently said that they are not getting quality people, and more recently NY Times has come up with an article on As a result of the service mentality, we seem to be lagging behind a lot in the development front. Google recently said that they are , and more recently NY Times has come up with an article on College Education without a future.

For college students I will be putting up an article in the near future (as soon as I am done with the Fedora 6 installations). But for now, for the people already out there, coding, and wondering what they may be doing wrong - here are some gems that I have picked up from various sources :
1. Every good work of software starts by scratching a developer's personal itch.
2. Good programmers know what to write. Great ones know what to rewrite (and reuse).
3. ``Plan to throw one away; you will, anyhow.'' (Fred Brooks, The Mythical Man-Month, Chapter 11)
4. If you have the right attitude, interesting problems will find you
5. When you lose interest in a program, your last duty to it is to hand it off to a competent successor.
6. Treating your users as co-developers is your least-hassle route to rapid code improvement and effective debugging.
7. Release early. Release often. And listen to your customers.
8. Given a large enough beta-tester and co-developer base, almost every problem will be characterized quickly and the fix obvious to someone.
9. Smart data structures and dumb code works a lot better than the other way around.
10. If you treat your beta-testers as if they're your most valuable resource, they will respond by becoming your most valuable resource.
11. The next best thing to having good ideas is recognizing good ideas from your users. Sometimes the latter is better.
12. Often, the most striking and innovative solutions come from realizing that your concept of the problem was wrong.
13. ``Perfection (in design) is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but rather when there is nothing more to take away.'' - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
14. Any tool should be useful in the expected way, but a truly great tool lends itself to uses you never expected.
15. When writing gateway software of any kind, take pains to disturb the data stream as little as possible-and never throw away information unless the recipient forces you to!

Bidar

It had been a long time since my last ride. Hyderabad does not seem like a place which is conducive to biking - its hot and arid, and there are hardly any good places to see around. Moreover, most people dont seem to be in a mood to ride from here.

With project pressures in the office taking a drain on my mental capacity, it was time to recharge my batteries. Thought about going to sriselam again. Posted on BN about it, and got a couple of offline responses.

The day before talked to GR and he suggested Bidar as an alternative place. I jumped at the idea. Unfortunately GR was not able to join up. Also talked to Kamal, but told him no-go when he said he would also bring his 2yr old kid on the bike. Finally it was just me and my colleage from office , Swamy, who were to go. Told Swamy to meet me near my place at 7am as it was on the way out to Bidar.

The way to Bidar from Hyderabad is to get onto the Pune highway, go on till Zaherabad and then turn right to Bidar. Once you reach the place ask for directions to the Kila (fort). The distance is 120kms from Kondapur in hyderabad, and the distance is easily doable in 3 hrs with stops.

On with the journey then :)

7:15am. Waited for Swamy to show up. He had called at 6:50 that he was leaving his house, so i guestimated how much time he would need - had to wait for around 10 mins for him to show up. The early morning is quite beautiful, if it was not for the man-made clutter of wires all around. I dont know when we as a civilization will get aesthetic sense. From all my travels to sites of yesteryears, it seems that our forefathers did have the sense, but we seem to have lost it.

Good Morning !
Handshakes over, i explained the route to Swamy and we set off. Since there were only 2 of us, it was fast riding, and with each swapping spaces to take the lead. Around 8:00am, we came to the Reliance A1 outlet on the highway and stopped for breakfast. I've found these reliance outlets to be quite handy. All of them are next to a Reliance petrol bunk and once you stop for filling petrol you would also want some refreshment. Further to that, they are also having the same design - which means that once you have been to an A1 outlet you know exactly where everythint is - the loo for instance - which is also quite clean here. Other places it stinks.
A1 Plaza. Lovely sky colour.
40 mins later, we moved off from there. Took a few pics - it was turning out to be a glorious day.
Butt Break
From the A1 outlet the roads are mostly quite good making it easy to maintain 80-90kmph on the highways - which was actually a bit slow as a couple of school buses from DPS (yeah, there is a Delhi public school in Hyderabad) were having a race, and were not willing to let use overtake. Of course they are no match for a couple of road hardened bike veterans, though I was a bit concerned about the kids who were in the buses (hmm... wonder if the next NFS installment will have auto ricks and kamakazi buses in it ?).

Finding the turning to Bidar is easy. You just cannot miss it. Just after Zahirabad, big boards proclaim the turn to Bidar. You could miss it if you were riding blind - but then i dont know if you would have survived so long. Bidar is in Karnataka and you know you have crossed the state boundary as there is a small hut (checkpost?) with 2 bored police chaps and a rope lying across the road meant to be the boundar between the 2 states (?) !

Reached the Bidar main town in 10 mins and then asked for directions to the fort, which we reached in another 10 mins. One interesting thing about this fort is that you can take your vehicles inside the fort - and riding through the arched gates is a great feeling ! Found a guide there who took us through the fort. Following pics can explain the place better than I can. The only thing I will add is that it has a 6km periphery wall, a couple of present day villages inside, and lots of local people playing cricket on a sunday. The ASI is doing some restoration work because of which some of the places are closed - but rather than restoring it seems to me they are distroying the structures by putting concrete in place of stones provided by the local contractors.

The palace. It was undergoing some restoration work. The garden was quite well done.

The fort.

The entrance through the sentry walls.

The crubmbling walls of the Diwan-e-Khas

The hallway which used to be the Diwan-E-Aam.

BN there DN that.

Tweety strikes a majestic pose at the entrance of the Fort.

After spending about 2+ hrs going here and there in the fort, we headed to the Gurudwara. It is said that this is the southernmost site visited by Guru Nanak . The langar was going on there, and we decided to have lunch there. Simple fare, but we were happy.

Bidar Gurudwara.

Left bidar at 1:30 , and headed back to hyderabad. Again stopped at the A1 plaza for a couple of quick coffees and headed home. Reached back at 4:30. As you enter hyderabad, the traffic just looses any sense. Everyone wants to go everywhere, which means that there is often a deadlock on the roads. A bit of nifty offroading helped us !

Sweet, short ride. One more place to go around hyderabad if you just have a day to chill out.

Links :

Bike Links !

One of the most common questions that I get from people is ... on bikes. Inevitably I get emails on suggestions for bike sites. So, this blog is the one maha braham-astra blogpost which puts all the links in one place ! :-D

My Group
This obviously has to be the first link as this is a group I started with another friend of mine. Bikenomads is a generic bike group which caters to anyone who wants to ride. Check out the Hof and Wiki to understand our passion for biking. If you want to join, then join our yahoo group here.



Manufacturer Sites
These are the drool sites. The links here do not link to indian manufacturers cause they do not even give us the lowest of the low end bikes. A low end bike is normally a 250cc bike like the Ninja 250. Unfortunately, in india the manufacturers think that small bikes like the 150cc pulsar are the best.

Honda


The most revered name in biking. They have an entire range of sports and cruiser bikes. Their premium model includes the GoldWing - which comes with a music system!


Yamaha


Yamaha always gives an impression of speed. In India, they had launched the RD 350 and Rx100 which one always associated with speed. Rossi, my personal bike hero, now rides for Yamaha.
Aprilia


The bike manufacturer brings out some really sweet looking bikes. Did you know they also have a 2 stroke engine which is as clean as the 4 stroke engines?
Ducati


The Monster line of bikes really have a mean look.


Suzuki


Another Japanese bike manufacturer with the Hayabusa which you may have seen as John Abraham's bike in Dhoom. Did you know that the name Hayabusa means the peregrine falcon - the fastest bird on the planet ?


Kawasaki


The makers of the ZX14 Ninja , the most powerful factory bike which dethroned the Hayabusa as the fastest one around. In India Bajaj had a tie up with Kawasaki to make the initial bikes and the Eliminator.
BMW


Best known for its low bike maintainence and a unique horizontal engine. Their enduro bikes are the loved by many people, and the reliability means that people take them to some really inhospitable climates !
Harley Davidson


One of the earliest bike manufacturer is a cult bike. Did you know that you can customize your bikes ?
The following are some lesser known (to the general public) names of bikes :




Apparel

Most of the manufacturers provide their own line of bike apparel. Its serious stuff. Suppose you are cruising merrily at 100mph and crash ! These stuff saves you from serious injuries to the maximum possible. Here's a list of some of the other apparel manufacturers :
Jackets and other gear :



Helmets :






For India


Coming back to the reality around us, heres a list of groups i know of :
Bike Groups :


Blogs of note :


  • Rearset - Anonymous guy writing about riding. Good stuff on this site.
  • Indian2wheels - New!
  • Biking the world - One indian. One bike. One world. The amazing blog of Bharadwaj Dayala who is biking around the world on a karizma. Check his blog out and leave a comment there - he will surely appreciate it.

Bike Stuff


Update:
I have got a lot of requests from viewers here to also list Indian Bike sites, specifically a lot of requests from the Bull owners ! The reason I have not put them up here, as my friend who had asked for information which has lead to this post wanted to know more about where I got my wallpapers from ! :-D

Further Adding more links here would probably make the list a bit too long. Again, I run into the problem of missing out some more bike sites and then those guys will be baying for my bloog ! So, what I have done is set up a list of Indian bikes on BN . You can access the link at:



Let me know if I have missed out on something yet again !

3D desktop anyone ?

Vista is going to be released. Some people are gung-ho about the Apple OS. But they still are the 2D desktops. What if your dekstop went 3D?

Check out the video below :

Life ?

Whats life ?

We all seem to fall for this question such a lot. I think everyone starts to search for the answer at sometime or the other. We feel sad, disenchanted, lost, alone. What is life ? I too don't have any answer. But when I ask the question to myself thoughts come to mind.. add to the list below :
  • senseless
  • boring
  • loneliness
  • escape
  • thought
  • smile
  • worthless
  • danger
  • daring
  • tough
  • pleasure
  • pain
  • music
  • ...
What do you think ?

Miniature Earth


What if the world was just 100 people ? What if you were those 100 people and lived together in a village . What would it be like ?

Check out this presentation. I have heard people harping about how bad the situation is around the world, or how we just crib about nothing. But this presentation really puts the message across. Forward the link to all your friends.

DRM ?

The new Vista comes out with DRM inbuilt, but is it such a good thing? Do you as a customer want DRM?

Oh wait , probably you don't even know what DRM is which is being forced down your throats by the record companies and other software companies ? Here's a short recap on DRM:

DRM : Digital Rights Management.

Its a new technology which the music companies want you to use so that you cannot copy thier content anywhere. Some content on the iPods, like purchased songs from iTunes library, are DRM protected. What this means is that you can only have the songs on your iPod. So, if you upgrade and want to try out something new like Zune, you will have to buy everything all over again. Sounds bad ? Well, this is what you are going to get in the near future.

Its kinda like I buy a cassette, which I put in one of my cassette players - you know some old BPL sanyo system. Then I go out and buy a state of the art Bose, and now I cannot play the casette there, cause the manufacturers think that if I am using the cassette which I used somewhere else, I am pirating. This scenario sucks!

The long answer can be found on Wikipidea.

If you still dont think that my reasoning is good enough why not to go for DRM, read the below article. It will explain, in a way much better than I can, as to why you should not use the DRM :

Top 100 innovations of 2006

Oh boy ... some people think of some amazing stuff ! Check out the link below :

MotoGood !

As you know , I work for a company called Good Technology. Err... I mean to say I used to work for the company. The latest news is that Motorola has aquired our company.

What does it mean for me ? I dont know ! Its been the first time that I am in an environment of an aquisition, and I dont know what will be happening. Is it a good thing ? Will I make more money ? What will my role be in Motorola ? So many questions for which I dont have any answer. Whatever it may be, I bet its going to be an interesting time ahead.

News !

Care for your head

Someone on BN posted this link on Helmets. Awesome concept. Visit the guys site and leave a comment if you like it, I am sure he will like it !

mobile gmail

Google just launched a gmail download for your mobile phone. It works on a variety of phones as its a java app and only requires JVM. Don't know what a JVM is - no sweat. If you are having one of the recent Nokia phones - it will work just fine for you. The following screenshots are from a E61 phone . Oh yes - you also need a data connection like gprs for this to work.






The last screen shows how to turn of gmail from remembering your password. Usually you will not require it as the assumption is that only you will be using your mobile and will be signed in always. Unfortunately, I was using a borrowed phone as the Treo650 does not have a JVM and had to figure out how to make gmail forget my password.

All in all one nifty install and makes checking gmail all that much more easier.

Ads that make you go hmmm

Ok, late night. Nerd at work. Enuff warning given.

Actually this post is about slogans, but 'sloagans that make you go hmmm' did not sound as good as 'ads that make you go hmmm'. So, in interest of catchyness, the subject of this post and this post is not the same.

Coming back to the slogans - lots of companies have slogans. Even some non-companies have slogan like 'Just Ride!' from bikenomads. But some companies do really have great slogans, and somehow - at the back of my head, they are stuck - and even though i may never end up buying items from the company, the philosopy has become imbubed into me (hope these companies dont sue me now!). These slogans (which you can see in their ads also - so maybe the heading is not so off the mark) pop up whenever I do something. Its like they govern my actions. For instance :

Think Different - Apple
This is my favourite slogan. Think different. How is it I can do the same thing differently? How can I make my next visit home different ? Oh I will ride up to delhi ;-) . Or I think differently and take part in a fashion show in WIPRO !

Hippi Me !

Just do It - Nike
Thinking by itself won't accomplish much. That's where my next fav comes in. Just do It ! Riding up to delhi and back with 5000kms ? Just do it! Hippie costume ? Just do it. The thought has become an action and you just do whatever you have just thought before it gathers dust.

One Life. Live it ! - Camel
I think Camel is an indian brand of clothes. The first item i bought was a cargo pant with the slogan written on one of the numerous pockets. One Life. Live it. ( corollarys exists like one life - waste it, but I will not go into those right now).
One life - we just have that one. We can either make it great or keep repenting why we are living, and when we are to die repent why we are dying. I guess one of mans greatest achievement and the way he differes the most from animals is not that he thinks - but that he cribs. I have been in touch with a lot of animals (dad is in Indian Forest service so have interacted with quite a few intelligent animals), and I haven't as yet come across any animal which is cribbing about why he is alive. Well, back to the point - since we are not cats, and have only one life, its best to live it. We may make a hash of it - but if we are living it the way we want , at the end of the life, we cant really blame anyone else for our success or failures.

Reclaim your life - Safari
The safari dicor ads rock. The Wakakakaka ! just is awesome. And the slogan 'reclaim your life' just touches the raw nerve. Long work hours in bad offices, and then later back home hacking away on blogs... Get up man. Reclaim your life -- like go to goa or something !

There are lots of other ads which I like, some still make an impression on my young impressionable mind. But they are not something which I will discuss here.

What are the ads which hit you ? The ones which seem to govern your decisions ? The ones which stick to your mind like the scent of earth after the first rains ??

World Heritage sites in India


The UNESCO has a list of sites it deems as world heritage sites. These are the sites which hold a universal appeal to people from around the world. India has quite a few of these. To which places have you been to ? The ones in bold are the ones I have visited... the remaining are only a matter of time. Maybe have a bike ride to visit all the Heritage sites ! Now .. thats some thought!

I've been to Humayuns Tomb, Qutab Minar and VT, but not inside. So, I am not marking them as the ones I have seen already.

The X in black

Thanks to Rajiv on the CBZ group for these pics.

Side pose in all black looks neat. The mags are supposedly the same ones in the karizma, though i think that the disc is smaller.


The tail cluster is now compact with the side indicators all integrated into one unit. The brake light is now a lcd cluster.


The console does not look so good. the balance is not there in it. Also the side indicators now have just one console indicator - a step back if you ask me.

The story of Hayden and Pedrosa Crash

Captains Log 2006.

After year of ruling the motorcycle championships , winning seasons with impunity, the God was actually behind for once ! Rossi was playing catch up with the american rider Nicky Hayden.

And then the race which changed everything...

Pedrosa knocked Nicky down. His own team mate ! Which in a single slide of madness made the lead of 12 points for Nicky slide to 8 points behind Rossi. Oh ! What in gods name was Pedrosa thinking (though Rossi fans were jubilent) ??

Why did he do it ? Some conjectures...

[I think i will be going in for a new dish on Starship Rishi. The signals from my service provider are void of Star Sports]

The story behind Calvin and Hobbes


Picked up an article from the Washington Post on the comic strip of Calvin and Hobbes
Interesting reading. What strikes me the most was that the author was anything but like calvin or hobbes in real life.

You can read a daily strip here.

Also a wikipedia article on them has more details.

Happy Diwali


Happy Diwali every one ! Enjoy yourself like never before. Have fun and be safe !

... and for those in confusion ... may you see the light !

Green Google

Man ! My respect for Google keeps going up.

After reading the Google Story, it connected with me as to why Google is getting the success it has got till now. If you have not read the book - read it. Recommend it into your corporate library if you cannot afford it ;) ... and all the other companies here in India only worry about how to make non-functional policies !

So, today, the story which captured my mind : Google Goes Solar.

You may argue that they are not going to run their data centers with the soloar panel , but man .. they are making the effort in the green direction. Awesome stuff. Slashdot as usual is up to the wisecracks about 'Google now being dependent on Sun' ;-) (in case you dont know Sun is also a company). You can find a vidoe of their partners EI Solution making use of Google Earth and SketchUp to show the project. Pretty cool !

Another story/blog picked up as to why Google is a better place to work than Microsoft - Google vs Microsoft.

The Ultimate Marketing Mistake

Got the following as a forward. Good reading.

Changing a Winning Ad Slogan for No Good Reason Some Marketers Learn Nothing From Others' Past Mistakes
- By Al Ries

Published: August 06, 2006

Back in 1974, BMW sold 15,007 automobiles in the American market, which made the brand the eleventh largest-selling European vehicle. Here are U.S. sales of the top ten that year:

* Volkswagen 334,515
* Capri 75,260
* Fiat 72,029
* Opel 59,279
* Volvo 53,043
* Audi 50,432
* Mercedes-Benz 38,170
* MG 25,015
* Porsche 21,022
* Triumph 18,396

'The Ultimate Driving Machine' has been BMW's primary ad slogan for 31 years.


The following year, BMW's new agency (Ammirati Puris AvRutick) launched an advertising campaign that would make both the agency and the brand famous: "The ultimate driving machine."

31 years
It's been 31 years since the launch of the ultimate driving machine. So how is BMW doing? Not bad.

Last year BMW was the largest-selling European brand in the American market. Here are U.S. sales of the top ten.

* BMW 266,200
* Mercedes-Benz 224,269
* Volkswagen 224,195
* Volvo 123,587
* Audi 83,066
* Land Rover 46,175
* Mini 40,820
* Porsche 31,933
* Jaguar 30,424
* Bentley 3,654

Owning a word
One of the most important conceptual ideas in marketing is "owning a word in the mind." In almost every market, in almost every category, the leading brands are brands that can be identified by a single word or concept. BMW owns "driving." Mercedes-Benz owns "prestige." Volvo owns "safety."

Three of the top four European automobile brands own a word in the mind, but what about the No. 3 brand, Volkswagen?

Volkswagen is a fading star. Among today's European market leaders, it's the only brand that has actually lost sales in the U.S. market in the past two decades. Ironically, it's a brand that got to be the leader by owning a powerful concept in the mind. "Small, ugly, reliable."

After its remarkable marketing victory, what do you suppose BMW is going to do next? It's the Curse of the New Generation. With a new executive vice president of operations at BMW of North America and a new advertising agency, the brand is about ready to launch a new advertising slogan, according to an article in the July 10, 2006 issue of Automotive News.

The new slogan: "A Company of Ideas."

New print ads
A company of ideas? Sounds more like General Electric than BMW.
According to Automotive News, one of the first print ads in the campaign delivers the message "Safety isn't just ABS and DSC but also DNA." In other words, forget about performance, let's go after safety."

Meanwhile over at Volvo, they are playing around with the opposite idea. Forget about safety, let's go after performance.

It always happens. The grass is greener on the other side of the freeway. Maybe so, but it's not as easy to make a U-turn in the mind as it is a U-turn on the highway.

Any successful brand got to be successful by standing for something in the mind. Changing what you stand for is almost impossible unless you don't stand for anything at all. In other words, a brand that is nowhere in the mind is a brand that can be changed. A brand that stands for something in the mind is a brand that is forever locked into its position.

Cemetery of failed products
In the cemetery of failed launches are thousands of products like Xerox computers, IBM copiers, Tanqueray vodka, Listerine toothpaste, Coca-Cola clothes, etc. These products didn't fail in the marketplace, they failed in the mind. They tried to stand for something that didn't fit prospects' perceptions about the brands.

Mind first, market second. You can't short-circuit the process by taking a good product to market to demonstrate its superior performance and then, in the process, changing perceptions in the mind.

It's not just BMW. Take Pepsi-Cola, for example. What comes to mind when you think of Pepsi? Back in 1963, the brand launched an advertising program that has to be the "ultimate" cola campaign.

"The Pepsi Generation." This idea took advantage of a key psychological principle. The younger generation looks for ways to rebel against the older generation. Since the older generation was drinking Coca-Cola, it was easy to convince the younger generation that they should be drinking Pepsi.

Back to winning slogan
How long did the Pepsi Generation slogan last? Just four years. For the next 16 years, Pepsi experimented with a number of different slogans ranking from "Taste that beats the others cold. Pepsi pours it on" to "Pepsi Now!" Finally, in 1984, it went right back to what made the brand a strong No. 2 to Coca-Cola. "Pepsi. The choice of a new generation."

Nothing is as vulnerable as a powerful advertising slogan. Year after year, creative hot shots take a crack at it, figuring that if they can topple the king, their reputations are made for life.

One of the reasons given by BMW's new executive VP for driving away from its ultimate driving machine slogan is the fact that a recent research study revealed that only 25 percent of its target market would consider buying a BMW. I think that's pretty good.

Can't appeal to everybody
After all, you have to expect that some prospects would prefer an ultimate comfort machine, an ultimate economy machine, an ultimate capacity machine or an ultimate prestige machine. Even an ultimate Japanese machine or an ultimate American machine. No brand can appeal to everybody.

In his book, Adcult USA, James Twitchell tells a story about Rosser Reeves. An executive of Minute Maid once complained about Reeves's refusal to fiddle with the advertising, saying "You have 47 people working on my brand, and you haven't changed the campaign in 12 years.
What are they doing?"

Reeves replied: "They're keeping your people from changing your ad."

The 80-20 Rule

In software, we have a 80-20 rule which i came across in some book a couple of years back . Basically it states :
The last 20% of the code takes 80% of the time.
Hmm.. now you know why we always miss the targets and the projects go into the 'bug-fix' phase and then keeps in it ;-)

So, this started me thinking... are there are other ways this rule can be generalized ?

Lets take wealth...
80% of the wealth is controlled by 20% of the people !

Wow ! Makes sense.

Lets take class results. only 20% of the class will be in the top (80% and above).

Now , we come to the performance of people. We have a lot of people saying that a person is giving 150% or 200% into the work and that is why he is doing so good. Actually its not that. An average person puts in only 80% of the work ( hey the code is good enough!). A performer just does that 20% extra and that is where the whole difference lies.

So, if its yourself you are looking at and thinking how you can be better - just identify the 20% you are not doing, and do it ! Its a simple secret for becoming good at whatever you are doing.

Nothing Xtreme

In my last post I was pretty excited about the new CBZ that was going to come. I had also said that finally HH was giving the CBZ its due. Well, i want to take all that back, for the new bike is not a CBZ. Its not extreme. Its a totally diff bike with a 150cc engine. First pics below , thanks to the people on the pulsar, cbz and bikenomads group.

The sticker. As per nitin - thats the only X-treme part of it - and that too due to the lettering.

New Stickering - only thing which it seems HH is doing.


Side Profile
Things to note:
  • ZMA style alloy wheels.
  • Black painted engine. I guess HH got heartburn when they saw the fear the black
  • Passion(?) style body coloured rearview mirrors. More jhakas ?

Instrument Panel
This is a step backward
  • Single indicator for left and right indicators. yuck.
  • Redlining at 9k rpm. Looks to be a high revving bike.
  • Wierd look of the console if you ask me.

Front.
Nothing to write home about.

Following pics show the rear tailight arrangement. Pics are courtesy Nitin.




All in all, i guess I would not have been so unhappy if they had not used the CBZ name here. That really hurts.

News in the press :

In the line of BULLSHIT


Pervez Musharraf the dictator president of Pakistan has written a memoir called In the Line of Fire. However, with references to how kargil war helped India-Pak relations etc, it would be a more apt title to call it 'In the line of Bullshit'. What a pompous ass this Musharraf is.

Read more at the great india mutiny site.

CBZ Xtreme



The king is back ! If you have been watching TV, then the teasers are already on - with the catch line "from the makers of the CBZ". Finally the beast gets its due.

The CBZ had been the bike I always liked. Its still my first love. And it sure feels good to see it is going to come back. If you have not seen the ads then check them out at the new site cbz Xtreme.

As homage, I have changed the backdrop of my desktop with a backdrop of the CBZ. IF you need the wallpaper, just ping me!

Happy Dusshera

Happy Dusshera to all !

Historically Dusshera has been a day which is being celebrated because of the victory of Rama over Ravana. Oft it is shown as a victory of Good over Evil. But, the ramayana by Ashok Bankar has given some food for thought. What if it was not exactly like this ... but was a bit different ? History often is not as it happened but as the winners want to show it happening. (By the way , I strongly recommend this 6 book series of the Ramayana as told by Ashok Bankar).

To all my readers - guys, sorry for no updates, and for the inordinate delay in publishing the comments, I was out of town. Took a vacation and did not want to touch a computer or come online all throughout that time period.

Headhunters please brush up your spellings!

I got the above email about an opening as a kernal developer. Who in the right mind would want to join a company which advertises kernal ??

The sad state of Indian companies is that there are more openings than there are qualified people. And no - I do not mean qualification per se - we all know how little knowledge we get in college. But I am talking about people who know what they are supposed to be.

I take interviews for my project. And man, do I have a big problem. People dont even know the fundamentals of C++ and want to join! And this is I think happening because headhunters like the one above - are flooding the market with substandard resumes. No wonders that inspite of being the hottest outsourcing destination, India is still having very mediocre companies. And this is another reason why MNCs are setting up their own shop here. The indian obsession with head count is really shooting ourselves in our own foot.

If I had a company, this would not be the way I would go about to get good people in my company. I dont look at increasing the headcount . I don't want to be a GE or IBM with thousands of employees (and then layoff them later). I would rather have a few hundred of exceedingly good people ( like Google ) - and I believe that going through these headhunters is not the right way.

Joel has an excellent article on this: Finding great developers . IF you recruit, or interview or are thinking of starting your company, read it.

The roadblock to Windows

I am not a fan of Microsoft. I like Linux. And this example just shows why I am moving more and more away from MS and more and more to linux.

I just wanted to check out Media Player 11 Beta 2 for windows. Its a beta software.

So, you go and download it from their website. Then, 22.5MB of download later, you start the installer.

And what do you see ?

A screen which says, nay orders you, to validate your copy of windows before you can install a beta software.


Genuine advantage ?? Crap ! My copy of windows is an office copy. Running on my office machine. It has already been validated during the 'security update' phase. And still the folks at Microsoft are not trusting me enough to let me install a 'beta' version on a validated install of windows.

Clicked 'cancel'. Thank you very much - but no thanks. I will continue using winamp. I will continue to work on linux at all the opportunities I get. I dont like anyone - especially a company - policing what I do.

BN to Goa

BN is having a big get-together at Goa ! 20 nomadic riders are going to converge at Goa from various locations around India and have a blast in Goa... sun, sand, surf, bikes!

For those who dont know, I had started the group in 2002. We are very low key, don't advertise at all, and yet, we are growing. Awesome ! Kudos to the whole group.

911

Actually quite late in the day to write on this. But got interested after seeing a co-incidence on the TV.

911. What does it remind you of ?
  • Most people will be reminded of 9/11 when the planes crashed into the twin towers (sending the ratings of the News channels soaring)
  • 911 is the emergency dial no in the US (think of 100, 101, 102 all rolled into one )
  • in 1906, Gandhi started the satyagrah movement
  • in 1962 , the Beatles recorded their first single "Love me do".
  • in 1972, the Munich Summer Olympic ended.
  • in1954, the Miss America paegent was telecasted live for the first time.
  • Birthday of O. Henry
more stuff you can find out from where i found out :

For your desktop


I am not a very good photographer, but sometimes, I amaze myself ! Click on he pic to get the big view and set as your wallpaper :-D

Top 10 cameras on Flickr

Everyone knows about flickr right ? One of the most popular online image storage sites. Upload your images and share with your friends kind of thing, which is quite convenient to use. Yeah, even I use it.

Ever wondered the cameras that are the most popular with people ? What are the top 10 cameras being used by the people ? Now you can know ! Check out :
My camera is ofcourse not on the listing :( . Its actually now out of production after just 3 years or so, so I cannot even link it here !

Another interesting feature on flickr is that you can now geotag your photos ! What does it mean ? Well, basically if you have taken a pic in some location, you can add the info about the place to the pic and it will show up on the map for that location. Very cool to keep track of the pics from a particular place like say Delhi :-)

Hold on, Don't Fall

Warning : Philosophical Thought

We live in a competitive world. Everyone wants to succeed and not fail. Everyone operates under a constant pressure striving not to fail.

People get stressed out. They are told to be positive and think good etc. But its easy to give advice - even easier when someone does not know what it really means, and I think the 'be positive' is one advice which sounds good, but most people dont know what it means.

I too did not know. Its difficult to be positive when everything is going wrong. And then when someone comes and gives unsolicited advice on 'be positive man' ! you feel like strangulating that @#$@.

So, what the heck is it all about ? How does one succeed ? We see people succeeding and we think - " hey - I can also do that - but I dont succeed ! Why is that?".

It takes some different approach to think positive. And I first realized it when I read an anectodal story some while back. I dont remember where i read it or what was the title, but this is how it went.

A couple of kids were playing on a tree under the watchful eyes of their parents, when all of a sudden, it became windy. The kids were caught unawares and got disbalanced , but somehow managed to cling on to the branches. Both the parents shouted encouragments for them to bear out the gust of wind. However one of them fell down, and the other did not.

The difference was that the one who did not fall heard his parent say "Hold on!" while the other one had shouted "Don't fall". Though both are saying the same thing - the first is a positive statement, the 2nd a negative one. And our mind, to work on a negative statement works the other way round. So, the mind processes the info as 'Fall-dont'.

Ah ! you say ! (At least I did ! )

It makes more sense if you think in hindi. 'Don't fall' becomes 'Girna mat'. So, the mind first thinks of falling and by the time it is through with the translation its sometimes too late to realize that the meaning was just the opposite.

And that is all there is to being positive. It is not about thinking good thoughts. Its about thinking winning thoughts. A person who thinks "I should not fail" is more likely to fail than a person who thinks "I should pass". Its a subtle difference but it works.

On my bike rides, i have had a couple of falls and scores of near misses. Whenever I have fallen the thought process has been something like "Oh shit! I am going to fall" and the next thing I know I am on the ground. And there have been lots of places where the mind says "No" to a fall, and miraculously I dont fall - even though I was in much worse situations than where I had the fall.

Think about it. Remember it. Dont put negative words in postitive statements - you will be more likely to fail.

And that is all that it really is. Its just a mind game you have to master.

Here are a few things to show the comparison
  • I am not good enough vs I can be better
  • I may not succeed vs I may succeed
  • I am going to crash vs I am going to survive ( notice here its a reversal of the thoughts).

Amalgam of posts

Wow! I cant believe that I have not written an entry here for such a long time !

I still dont have anything original at this time to write, ;-) , so I am just going to post a few links from around the net. Stuff which is related to work and leisure.

Joel has some great articles on getting the correct people for the job. I dont think old age managers will agree to what he says, but a computer junkie it makes sense. Here are the posts :

Now that you are done with some heavy reading and how to interview/be interviewed, we move on to leisure. Right now I live an alternative life as a Night Elf in the World of Warcraft Game. As such I have started another blog on his life, and that also allows me to check out the new beta from blogger. Its neat - but still has a few problems like still not being able to place the images correctly. Anyways, the new link to the new blog is :

And if you think I am nuts about gaming - check this out :
On the biking front - not much happened. Hyderabad is one of the most un-happening cities i have lived in - which can be attributed to not having any interesting places around, bad roads , bad traffic sense and a very hot climate. On BN though, we recently created the Hall of Fame - which lists the achivements of some members there. :-D. And no - I dont lead the standings.

Nagarjuna Sagar

On a day mass hysteria overtook everyone and people were busy drinking sweet polluted water around Mumbai, we went to a sagar of another sorts.

18th I posted on BN about riding out to Nagarjuna Sagar. But did not get any replies by evening. Disappointed, I went home in the evening. Just before leaving office , Swamy asked if anything planned on the weekend. I said, maybe to Nagarjuna Sagar on Sunday (as I was planning to get my bike serviced on Saturday). He said to let him know if I planned anything.

Reached home around 7:30 and got a call from GR "Hey are you going on the ride?". I said probably on Sunday. He said to make it on Saturday as he was to attend some wedding on sunday morning. Called up Swamy and told him I am going next day , he said he will confirm in an hours time ( but confirmed in 20mins). Called up Partha also who was going to a friend's wedding that evening, and was not too sure whether he would be able to come next day as he was planning to get sloshed. Got a call from him at 9pm that he was coming , and to just give a wakeup call next morning.

19th Aug.
Got up at 5:30AM. A feat for me as I was usually getting up at 9 normally. 6:00am got a call from Partha just as I was to call him up. 6:30 was at the Kondapur crossing (epark) for Partha as we were to meet up with the other guys at Paradise ( or Pyradice as GR spells it).

At Paradise

7:00AM reached Paradise to find GR and Swamy already there (though at different parts of Paradise). Moved off from there without waiting for tea/coffee as we planned to have it on the way. Reached the outskirts of Hyd where we stopped . Got a call from GR's wife telling about some naxal activity the night before and urging us to be careful - but since we were to go in another dir, it was ok for us. As we were on the call, Partha took off followed by Swamy. We left a good 5 mins later.The road is nothing much to write home about. Broken in most parts , and being broken further in parts to lay huge pipes . The pipes were left on the sides of the road, so it was kind of felt like riding in a tunnel with the tunnel outside ( imagine you have two tunnels and you are riding between them). Wierd kind of experience.

The day was becoming hotter. The day before it had rained but the day had dawned without a single cloud in the sky. A mesh jacket helps as it was really very hot. After riding around 100kms or so, we still had not met up with Partha, though we overtook a group of college guys riding to Sagar on their bikes (2 up). Both me and GR were doing around 80-90 and overtook them. A couple of them got enthu and tried to keep up with us, but soon fell back. Found Partha a few kms away relaxing on the roadside and waiting for us to catch up. The three of us rode on and stopped at the next town for a tea break. Swamy was not to be seen anywhere. Network coverage was flacky and we sent sms to him "where are you da?". As we were having our coffee break which consisted of maaza, the college guys turned up and we introd ourselves. They were quite happy to see us riding also on our way to Sagar.

15 mins we were on our way, while the college guys had just started on their food.

The last 25kms to Sagar are quite nice. nice sweeping curves, and at this time of the morning was without much traffic and we reached Nagarjuna Sagar by 10:15. Swamy was already there... relaxing under the shade of a tree. It seems that all the confusion started as Partha had to take a leak and took off rather in a hurry to find a spot, and Swamy went ahead of him and got confused whether Partha was in front or back ! Anyways, they had a long wait under the shade of a big tree. GR took the lead and we went ahead to the Dam.

BN at N'Sagar


From the bridge

It was a sight to see ( intermittently blocked by the power cables which seem to criss cross India and make it a pain to take good pic) with all the 26 or so gates open. Photo session over we decided to head back to the town and grab some grub. Found an AP tourism place which we thought would be quite good. Nice view of the dam, nice lush green lawns, ample parking space ... but no food ! GR looks at my and quizzilcally said "Our record is still being upheld". We never get lunch at the right time when we travel together ! It seems that this place serves breakfast between 6-9am and lunch from 12-2pm. Nothing in between except for bottled water. Asked if there is anyplace where we can get some grub and they pointed us to GreenVallery resorts ( another AP undertaking). There again they said only meals are available. So Partha and I started talking loudly about going somewhere else... and suddenly idlis and prui-bhaji were available ! ;-)

Having an early lunch, and with the time still just 12:00 we thought we might as well go ahead to the Attipotala Falls. After a short ride of around 20-25kms we came to the falls. Its one of those sub-level falls - where you have to hike down to get to the falls. There is a garden by AP tourism set up beside the falls - but it was full of picknickers - and required an entry fee - so we decided to give that a pass and instead hike to the base of the falls.

Lush green forests

The one thing I find interesting about India is how much it changes even a few meters away from the main roads. As we started down the steps , Partha and other started giving premonitions about how hard it will be to climb back !! :-D . As we hiked towards the falls, the flora changed from dry arid to a lush green forest - and the first view of the falls in the distance was like being in some other country ( which we dubbed Congo !). As we came to the base of the falls , we were met with a grizly sight. Goat legs hanging from between 2 trees ... probably as offerings to the spirits there. No real idea and we could not ask anyone else there.
Goat Legs ... no idea why

Attipotala Falls - up close and personal

Clicked a few pics. Relaxed in the cool shade of the trees and then finally started back the long climb ( well , it was not very long, but in the hot humid afternoon it sure did feel long !). Another long break to gather our breath when we reached the bikes and a discussion on whether to go back or head out towards Sriselam from there. I was not in the mood as last few weeks I had not been well, and already was feeling exhaution catching up (dunno why at this point GR forgot about the marriage he was to attend the next day), and told the guys to go ahead while I will head back to Hyderabad. Finally it was decided it was all or none, and so we headed back to Hyderabad , with another trip to Sriselam as the next trip to do.

As we passed Nagarjuna once again, we saw the college group of bikers just about reaching Nagarjuna . Friendly waves of hands and we were on our way back.

Now it was just a ride back , and all of us moving in a group at around 80-90kmph. The first stop was a cold drink stop. We figured it was less dangerous to drink Sprite (maaza was not availabe at that place) than to drink the groundwater, so downed around 8-9 bottles of sprite between the 5 of us (yeah, this gives you an indication of how hot it was! ). A few petrol filling stops later (petrol is now really more expensive! :( ), and we were back in the outskirts of Hyderabad. Saying our byes we headed out to our respective homes ( took me and Partha another 40mins to cover the remaining distance). Back home by 5:30pm !

Although the ride is nothing much to write home about, it was a good ride with some strange things (goat legs anyone?) thrown in , and a ride after a long long time !

Total Distance : 391kms.
Time: 11hrs. with breaks sight seeing etc.
You can find more pics on my flickr