Monday, July 20, 2009

Pic of the Week: Vehicle Wash!

Whoa! A submission!!

The Pic of this Week was sent by Shwetha Maiya, who adds that it was taken at Sringeri, Karnataka. Thanks Shwetha, and seriously, quite surprised to receive a submission by e-mail. Hmmmm..... so someone actually reads all this stuff.

I'm quite dying to write my "What I did this summer" post, and I hope that's the one that comes next.

Till then,


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Pic of the Week: Visit to a Tipical Hi-Chic Mall

Billboard at Metro Walk Mall & Adventure Island, Sector 10, Rohini, Delhi.


Sunday, July 05, 2009

Pic of the Week: Humourous Art


Humor, Satire and Irony at Banksy vs. Bristol Museum. Check out the link above for more amazing pieces of art.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Pic of the Week: How to be Happy in Business


Came across this superb Venn Diagram quite more than a week ago. Just had to share it.

Where do you locate yourself on this?


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

3rd Death in 3 Months, at India's No.1 Institute (?)

This morning, I received two "pings" on G-Talk from my batchmates at IIT-Kharagpur, and both seemed to be in an excited state. The first one pinged a link that most of them had put on as their Status Message, some story from Outlook. It seemed IIT-Kharagpur had yet again emerged as the No.1 in the country in a survey that's normally conducted around this time of the year, during the admissions-counselling period. Not only did it beat the closest competitor, IIT-B, by a huge margin of 90 points, it had also topped the Architecture Schools list.

The implication might have been that IIT-Kgp was in fact the best place for an undergraduate student to be in the country. The 2nd ping, however, was quite in contradiction. It was not reconfirmed by anyone else, no news source carried it, and most said that the news wasn't being released "due to ongoing IIT-JEE counselling at IIT-Kgp." Somehow, a lone news source is carrying a report on the incident as of now. Oh, and the incident. Yeah, another student died at IIT-Kgp, nothing new...

Police said they broke into the room at the Madan Mohan Malaviyya hostel in the campus and recovered the body of Manoj Kumar (18) after the hostel cleaning staff complained of a stench emanating from it.

Police said prima facie it appeared to be a case of suicide and investigations were on.
-- The Indian Express

A first year student of Ocean Engineering and Naval Architecture Department, Manoj Kumar, hailing from Rajasthan, was found hanging from the ceiling of his room in Madan Mohan Malviya Hall of Residence, IIT Kgp. It was just a couple of months ago, that another fourth year student had committed suicide in his hostel room. And who can forget the death of Rohit Kumar due to the institute run Hospital's medical negligence.

A 3rd year dies of Medical Negligence, a fourth year commits suicide a month later, and a fresher now. My batch had already lost Anshu to negligence in the first year itself. And we still are the best institute in the country.

Is this how complacent we've become? Is this the best place for a student to be? Is counselling for potential students more important than counselling suicide probables and taking care of existing students?

We have regular student-administration meetings at the campus, which all students are open to attend. I shall be attending them regularly the coming semester onwards, and shall raise and follow up on issues regarding the state of the hospital as well as allocation of doctors, counsellors and psychologists.

Will you be there?

Let's see...

Friday, June 12, 2009

It's a Wiki World

Following up on the exciting sport of Wikigroaning, here's some more wiki-bashing for the weekend. CollegeHumor brings to you, Professor Wikipedia:

And yup, this was a filler post. By the way, I finally have some stuff to do in the summer, so while I don't have to go job hunting or bother you about it, it's leaving me little time for the Blog. :(

Anyway, I'll try to come up with two new posts every week (With no fillers, promise!) now on, mostly follow up on earlier posts, and some stuff I've been wanting to write about since quite some time.


Friday, May 29, 2009

That Quizzy feeling...

What is the capital of Czechoslovakia?

That is the kind of question people usually expect to face at a Quiz. Atleast people who haven't attended any quiz before, and atleast a few people I know. So one gets to hear all kinds of stuff about their Quizzing prowess, like "Dude, I could've been a great Quizzer, but my memory really sucks.", "I just can't remember all that stuff", "I was a good Quizzer at school, but then I forgot all that stuff".... BULLSHIT!!

All this from people who've mugged and memorized full periodic tables, and loads and loads of textbooks in their school and college days. As for me, I have a memory of a Goldfish, as many of my friends would agree, and yet that doesn't have anything to do with my Quizzing, not much atleast. So what is a good Quiz question like? Give a try:
Who about what ?
I think it is timeless because it's about making love in the summertime. There is a slight misconception it's about a year, but it's not. It has nothing to do about a year , it has to do with a sexual position.
What comes to your mind reading the above? What could it be, a movie, a book...? The answer is surprisingly simple to deduce.

It says there's a confusion about it being about a year or about making love. What year could be confused with a sexual position? You don't need to be a pervert to know it's a reference to 69, though it helps. So what's the answer? Summertime and 69... Obviously, it's the song Summer of '69, and it's Bryan Adams saying that. The validity of the claim can be verified from the fact that the lyric at the end says "It's me and my baby in a 69."

Now was this something you needed to remember? It's not a well-known fact outside Quizzing Circles anyway. Here's another:
The discovery of _____ dates from the 1890s when a German (Hans Henning) offered it as a medicine. It's other properties were discovered later on. In the United Kingdom ____ was manufactured at the Research Department at the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, where new projects were identified as 'Research Department No.' followed by their identification number. For some reason, this project not given a number or kept 'unknown' either with the intention of adding the number later, or for reasons of secrecy. What are we talking about?
Now how do we go about doing this? It's obviously something well-known and prominent. And why has the naming pattern of the Royal Arsenal mentioned in the question. Let's see, what they would have called it: Research Department No. "Unknown", or Research Department X, which shortens to RDX. There you are, RDX!! And the best thing about such questions is that now you also know that RDX was once offered as a medicine in some form, and why is it named so.

Though good questions are usually long, even brief questions can be good.
What is the greek word for circle of animals?
You don't need to say "It's Greek to me" to that. Think about it. Try.

Something ancient, connected with animals, and a term one would be expected to be familiar with. Where do you come across a circle of animals connected to the ancients. Zodiac Signs!! The word is Zodiac.

And of course, the visuals:
Where would you come across the above sight?
You see a chimney with white smoke, a chimney with black smoke, and huge gathering watching intently. Where in the world does a chimney get so much attention?

A new pope has been elected. Now don't tell me you were unaware of the tradition.

I have covered many types of common quiz questions, and how one can go about deducing them. These are obviously much much simpler than most questions asked at Quizzes. Also, I shall hope to talk more about Quizzing like basic connect questions, Long Visual Connects, theme based questions etc. in the future. I had earlier made a "workoutable" Quiz with Varun for the Quiz Club at IIT Kharagpur, you can have a look at it. I also frequent a lot of Quiz Blogs, so you can give those a try as well. Also, do step out and attend a quiz to see what I have been talking about. Hopefully the quiz master's remarks will also justify my inclination towards bad jokes. :D

And by the way, every question may not be as hollow as its seems. You see, Czechoslovakia isn't a single country since a couple of decades, it's two countries now: Czech Republic and Slovak Republic. No country, so no capital. Don't tell me you hadn't heard of that before.

And before I forget, my favourite Quiz Blogs:

and some 40 others that I've bundled up on Google Reader.

OK then, Happy Quizzing !!

(Title Courtesy: Rainbow_Warrior - Quizzer/ Skirt Chaser, IIT Kharagpur)


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Common Cement

I'm just doing what I do when I come across something worth sharing... and when I have no time or ideas for a new post and still want to maintain a respectable frequency. Here's the second best commencement speech I've come across, second only to Steve Jobs' Stanford commencement speech. Incidentally neither of these possess a college degree.

Please, please, please go through it. Funniest common-cement speech (by a non-aluminium) I've come across, Ellen DeGeneres taking on Tulane University's Class of 2009.

Thank you, President Cowan, Mrs. President Cowen; distinguished guests, undistinguished guests - you know who you are, honored faculty and creepy Spanish teacher. And thank you to all the graduating class of 2009, I realize most of you are hungover and have splitting headaches and haven't slept since Fat Tuesday, but you can't graduate 'til I finish, so listen up.

When I was asked to make the commencement speech, I immediately said yes. Then I went to look up what commencement meant. Which would have been easy if I had a dictionary, but most of the books in our house are Portia's, and they're all written in Australian. So I had to break the word down myself, to find out the meaning.

Commencement: common, and cement. Common cement. You commonly see cement on sidewalks. Sidewalks have cracks, and if you step on a crack, you break your mother's back. So there's that. But I'm honored that you've asked me here to speak at your common cement.

I thought that you had to be a famous alumnus - alumini - aluminum - alumis - you had to graduate from this school. And I didn't go to college here, and I don't know if President Cowan knows, I didn't go to any college at all. Any college. And I'm not saying you wasted your time, or money, but look at me, I"m a huge celebrity.

Although I did graduate from the school of hard knocks, our mascot was the knockers. I spent a lot of time here growing up. My mom worked at (?) and I would go there every time I needed to steal something out of her purse. But why am I here today? Clearly not to steal, you're too far away and I'd never get away with it.

I'm here because of you. Because I can't think of a more tenacious, more courageous graduating class. I mean, look at you all, wearing your robes. Usually when you're wearing a robe at 10 in the morning, it means you've given up. I'm here because I love New Orleans. I was born and raised here, I spent my formative years here, and like you, while I was living here I only did laundry six times. When I finished school, I was completely lost. And by school, I mean middle school, but I went ahead and finished high school anyway. And I - I really, I had no ambition, I didn't know what I wanted to do. I did everything from - I shucked oysters, I was a hostess, I was a bartender, I was a waitress, I painted houses, I sold vaccuum cleaners, I had no idea. And I thought I'd just finally settle in some job, and I would make enough money to pay my rent, maybe have basic cable, maybe not, I didn't really have a plan, my point is that, by the time I was your age, I really thought I knew who I was, but I had no idea. Like for example, when I was your age, I was dating men. So what I'm saying is, when you're older, most of you will be gay. Anyone writing this stuff down? Parents?

Anyway, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, and the way I ended up on this path was from a very tragic event. I was maybe 19, and my girlfriend at the time was killed in a car accident. And I passed the accident, and I didn't know it was her and I kept going, and I found out shortly after that, it was her. And I was living in a basement apartment, I had no money, I had no heat, no air, I had a mattress on the floor and the apartment was infested with fleas. And I was soul-searching, I was like, why is she suddenly gone, and there are fleas here? I don't understand, there must be a purpose, and wouldn't it be so convenient if we could pick up the phone and call God, and ask these questions.

And I started writing and what poured out of me was an imaginary conversation with God, which was one-sided, and I finished writing it and I looked at it and I said to myself, and I hadn't even been doing stand-up, ever, there was no club in town. I said, "I'm gonna do this on the Tonight Show With Johnny Carson"- at the time he was the king - "and I'm gonna be the first woman in the history of the show to be called over to sit down." And several years later, I was the first woman in the history of the show, and only woman in the history of the show to sit down, because of that phone conversation with God that I wrote. And I started this path of stand-up and it was successful and it was great, but it was hard, because I was trying to please everybody and I had this secret that I was keeping, that I was gay. And I thought if people found out they wouldn't like me, they wouldn't laugh at me.

Then my career turned into - I got my own sitcom, and that was very successful, another level of success. And I thought, what if they find out I'm gay, then they'll never watch, and this was a long time ago, this was when we just had white presidents - this was back, many years ago - and I finally decided that I was living with so much shame, and so much fear, that I just couldn't live that way anymore, and I decided to come out and make it creative. And my character would come out at the same time, and it wasn't to make a political statement, it wasn't to do anything other than to free myself up from this heaviness that I was carrying around, and I just wanted to be honest. And I thought, "What's the worst that could happen? I can lose my career". I did. I lost my career. The show was cancelled after six years, without even telling me, I read it in the paper. The phone didn't ring for three years. I had no offers. Nobody wanted to touch me at all. Yet, I was getting letters from kids that almost committed suicide, but didn't, because of what I did. And I realised that I had a purpose. And it wasn't just about me and it wasn't about celebrity, but I felt like I was being punished... it was a bad time, I was angry, I was sad, and then I was offered a talkshow. And the people that offered me the talkshow tried to sell it. And most stations didn't want to pick it up. Most people didn't want to buy it because they thought nobody would watch me.

Really when I look back on it, I wouldn't change a thing. I mean, it was so important for me to lose everything because I found out what the most important thing is, is to be true to yourself. Ultimately, that's what's gotten me to this place. I don't live in fear, I'm free, I have no secrets. and I know I'll always be ok, because no matter what, I know who I am. So In conclusion, when I was younger I thought success was something different. I thought when I grow up, I want to be famous. I want to be a star. I want to be in movies. When I grow up I want to see the world, drive nice cars, I want to have groupies. To quote the Pussycat Dolls. How many people thought it was "boobies", by the way? It's not, it's "groupies".

But my idea of success is different today. And as you grow, you'll realise the definition of success changes. For many of you, today, success is being able to hold down 20 shots of tequila. For me, the most important thing in your life is to live your life with integrity, and not to give into peer pressure. to try to be something that you're not. To live your life as an honest and compassionate person. to contribute in some way. So to conclude my conclusion: follow your passion, stay true to yourself. Never follow anyone else's path, unless you're in the woods and you're lost and you see a path, and by all means you should follow that. Don't give advice, it will come back and bite you in the ass. Don't take anyone's advice. So my advice to you is to be true to yourself and everything will be fine.

And I know that a lot of you are concerned about your future, but there's no need to worry. The economy is booming, the job market is wide open, the planet is just fine. It's gonna be great. You've already survived a hurricane. What else can happen to you? And as I mentioned before, some of the most devastating things that happen to you will teach you the most. And now you know the right questions to ask in your first job interview. Like, "Is it above sea level?" . So to conclude my conclusion that I've previously concluded, in the common cement speech, I guess what I'm trying to say is life is like one big Mardi Gras. But instead of showing your boobs, show people your brain, and if they like what they see, you'll have more beads than you know what to do with. And you'll be drunk, most of the time. So the Katrina class of 2009, I say congratulations and if you don't remember a thing I said today, remember this: you're gonna be ok, dum de dum dum dum, just dance.

See you next week.


Sunday, May 17, 2009


I have lost friends, some by death, others through sheer inability to cross the street.
--Virginia Woolf
One cannot stop gaping at how technology has changed our lives, and wondering what it will bring on next. Yeah yeah, we all know we can chat with people sitting half-way around the world, voice chat with them in fact, with video as a matter of fact, while reading their blogs and looking at their picasa web albums, and all this using a phone perhaps. And facebook and youtube and twitter. And a lot more. Add to it the fact that today's World Telecom Day (Purely a coincidence, believe me), I'm sure this is what you've been reading in the newspaper, and news feeds all day long. So easy to stay in touch with friends, from the comforts of your room. Staying in touch...

By the way, when was the last time you actually talked to these people? And I mean talk, not chat (which at one time meant the same thing). Face-to-face. An actual, real conversation. Or saw them, and I mean not on a computer screen. Or looked at their pics, held in your hands. Gave, or received, a gift, brought by a mailman. Or a greeting card, in a colored envelope. Or a letter, in their handwriting, on a piece of paper. When was the last time you actually touched a person?

Now don't slam the typical shut-up-you-oldy-it's-the-21st-century stuff on me. You very well know what I am talking about. Technology may be a boon for those miles away from their loved ones, but has it not sent the loved ones closer home, miles away. Call me old-fashioned, but I am not chatting with you on G-Talk if you're sitting in the next room. I am not sending you an egreeting if I can walk a little and knock on your door at the midnight hour. Or send a card, the paper-type. Or a gift. Which will stay with you forever, or atleast for some time, and about which you'll know took me more than thirty seconds to send. Which you won't delete at that very moment. Which you can always see, and touch. Which will always bring back memories, of that birthday, and of me.

Am I the only one nostalgic about the touch we've lost? Don't you miss meeting friends. The Partying. The mailman. The letterpad. The handshake. The birthday card. The fountain pen. The Touch.

It's cool for friends far apart to stay in touch this way. But when you're close enough, you only lose touch by pinging, scrapping or writing on my wall. No donut for you.


Friday, May 08, 2009

Horoscopes, Personality Tests, Facebook Quizzes...

If you're interested in astrology, then let me begin by telling you that I was born when the sun was in the Capricorn House of the Zodiac.

By the way, have a look at the following description:
You have a need for other people to like and admire you, and yet you tend to be critical of yourself. While you have some personality weaknesses you are generally able to compensate for them. You have considerable unused capacity that you have not turned to your advantage. Disciplined and self-controlled on the outside, you tend to be worrisome and insecure on the inside. At times you have serious doubts as to whether you have made the right decision or done the right thing. You prefer a certain amount of change and variety and become dissatisfied when hemmed in by restrictions and limitations. You also pride yourself as an independent thinker; and do not accept others' statements without satisfactory proof. But you have found it unwise to be too frank in revealing yourself to others. At times you are extroverted, affable, and sociable, while at other times you are introverted, wary, and reserved. Some of your aspirations tend to be rather unrealistic.
Do you believe the above Personality Analysis applies to you?

The description above is not unique to me, or you, but you do believe it applies well on you, right? Well, if you're a Capricorn... or not!

In 1948, the psychologist Bertram Forer conducted a Personality Test amongst his students, after which he gave them each a unique personality analysis supposedly based on the test results and asked them to rate it on a scale of 0 to 5 on how well it applied to themselves. On average, the rating was 4.26, after which it was revealed that each student had received the same analysis, the passage quoted above.

The interesting part is that Forer had assembled this text from horoscopes.

This is called the Personal Validation Fallacy, according to which, we very easily believe personality descriptions supposedly tailored specifically for us, and deem them accurate, while they are actually vague and general enough to apply to a wide range of people. It can be used to explain the widespread acceptance of astrology, fortune telling, and personality tests.

Another interesting result is that the result of such Personality Quizzes and Horoscopes are held in higher esteem by the subject if:
  • The subject believes that the analysis is uniquely generated for them
  • The subject believes in the authority of the evaluator
  • The analysis lists mainly positive traits
I don't say I'm not a narcissist. Just that I'm not the only one.

Facebook Quizzes, anyone?

Peace... :P

Monday, May 04, 2009

A Conversation - Swine Flu/AIDS

90 people get #swineflu and everyone wants to wear a mask; A million people have AIDS & no one wants to wear a condom !!
This was my last twitter update as well as facebook and Google Talk status message, when I received a ping on the same from an outspoken friend of mine from college, Vijay (name changed). Here's a transcript of the same:

Vijay: You do realize tht swine flu spreads thru air..but HIV does not

me: But the stats still stand correct
Millions do have AIDS
and you realize AIDS is everywhere in the world, and Swine Flu just 15-16 countries
the number of ppl susceptible to Swine Flu is still smaller than the number of those having sex all over

Vijay: well...thts a matter of choice..if wanna play unprotected...but thts not the case with swine me not sayin AIDS is a small issue......
if u knw and still take risk...its a diff thing rite?

me: Yes, thats the point
Ppl r willing to take risk for AIDS, which they are much more prone to, while they're willing to go to unprecedented limits to avert SwineFlu, the probability of getting which is one in a hundred million

Vijay: the reason is...ppl feel they wont get HIV tht easily..or tht their behaviour is alrite....the thing is when it comes to the point where u need a condom....u r accepting tht ur bejaviour is not the one it ought to be...

me: What behaviour?

Vijay: wht i mean is....u need condom=>u dont know the history of ur partner...=>u most probably r with a hooker..

me: That's probably the very reason beind such statistics relating to AIDS

Vijay: but the thing is unlike HIV....even if u knw abt swie flu....u cannot be safe without wearing masks...
just by being on ur best behaviour u cannot counter it

me: Actually, you cannot be safe even wearing a mask

Vijay: well u r better off with it....the other option is to do wht mexico did...
shit down
tht was a typo :D

me: Masks are unnecesarry
[Only people in contact with a sick person are advised to wear the mask. Also, the mask isn’t a 100-percent guarantee.--CNBC]
As for the better off thing, tht applies to condoms too

Vijay: u still dont get ma point....ppl who know about HIV...and still get it (xept thru blood transfusion) are choosing to get it...
not the case with swine flu

me: So getting AIDS is "better" than getting Swine Flu then?

Vijay: no....if u get is ur fault!!HIV i.e..(again in most cases)...and am not sayin tht they shud to be left to thier defenses.....

me: And they would apply a condom if they were conscious they were getting AIDS
*or that they were "choosing" to get it

Vijay: xactly...those who knw about HIV an still get it...are choosing to get it
just sayin tht the two situations cannot be compared

me: Yes, but millions are doing it, without being aware that they may be contracting AIDS
while the same may be buying masks

Vijay: thts a question of awareness.....nt ..abt "want" to use a condom,
and they r usin a mask..coz they knw

me: most college students are aware of AIDS
So are most proffessional sex workers
yet all of em dont use it (or dont "want" to)

Vijay: then collg students r choosing to hv it..

me: Not that I care abt their lives in particular, but they shudnt
they may go on to give AIDS to others
future spouse, blood transfusion, common needles/blades

Vijay: so its abt awareness
I think they shud make it legal for HIV status certi shud be made compulsory

me: neways, while we're all worried to death abt an estranged and rare disease
Why doesn't AIDS make headlines?

Vijay: we are more worrid abt swine flu..more thn we apparently care abt HIV coz..we can avoid the latter almost certainly thru self control

me: But we dont

Vijay: Y doesnt HIV make headlines.....coz it spreads maily thru sexual promiscuity...and thts not somethin we like to talk abt....

me: Well, why not?
Anyways, do you read my blog?

Vijay: Sometimes

me: Well, our chat will be going up on it.

Vijay: ?

me: I will publish our chat history on my blog, with some edits in a few hours

Vijay: K, sure... keep ma name out tho..if u can....

me: Sure, "name changed". Btw, any preferences for a false name?

Vijay: leave tht to u
i trust ur sense on tht :D

me: hehe, k then

Vijay: chal..byee

me: k, bye

I really don't know what to make out of the conversation, just felt it's worth sharing.

By the way, while the swine flu outbreak was recently raised to a phase 5 alert level, AIDS is an official pandemic(a higher alert level). More than 25 million people have died of AIDS since it was first recognized in 1981, while another 35 million or so currently live with HIV. Infact, while the total number of confirmed deaths due to Swine Flu till date is twenty six (and about another seventy suspected), atleast another one lakh sixty thousand (or one hundred sixty thousand) have died of AIDS in the same time. (5 people die of AIDS every minute, so count yourself)

I hope you enjoyed reading my conversation with Vijay (name changed). And believe me when I say, your comments are, more than ever before, welcome.


Thursday, April 30, 2009

Behind everyone successful... The Girl Effect

After 19 hours of one hell of a train journey with Aditi, Divya, Anubha, Swaty, Nikky and Ram, otherwise referred to as the 'Freaks n Geeks' of IIT-Kgp, I am back in Delhi for the Summer of '09. Let's see what I end up doing this time.

Oh, and about the effect:

This video by the Nike Foundation and NoVo is about the cycle of poverty in rural regions, and the impact one person can create by breaking it. Behind every successful economy, is a prosperous Girl. Just felt like sharing it.

As for my plans for the summer, I'm looking forward to learn a lot, blog a lot, live a lot... While I do have some stuff on my plate, I'm somewhat jobless for the couple of months to come. And an internship's not just about the only thing I am looking for(the title could be a clue).

Either ways, the only thing for me to do is to keep looking. In case anyone reading this has an opportunity to suggest, pleaaazze do, and I say this with reference to either of my requests.

Happy Holidays everyone!


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Two's Company

Bill Gates & Paul Allen, Steve Jobs & Steve Woz, You & ??

From my article originally published in The Entrepreneur (newsletter of the Entrepreneurship Cell, IIT Kharagpur), about selecting a co-founder for your dream venture, the way the top guns did it. I had earlier discussed The Power of the Duo in the series on Sramana Mitra and Dominique Trempont's keynote address at Entrepreneurship Summit 2009, IIT Kharagpur.

They say choosing your spouse is the most important decision you will make in your life. Similarly, choosing your co-founder(s) is the most important decision you will make while building your startup, since one could argue that at least for some period of time, you’ll be spending more waking hours with your co-founder than your significant other. Great partnerships are like marriages, they need a lot of common ground, strong mutual attraction and a willingness to work hard - especially through the inevitable issues.
You first need to dispel the delusion that you don't need a co-founder. You do. You may have all the requisite skills, but even then, co-founders help spread the work and make better decisions. Sure, you can talk to your brilliant self, but that's not as effective. The selection of co-founder(s) is one of the key determinants of long-term success in a startup. But if you have the wrong guy, that's a hard problem to get over with.

Knowing them beforehand

The idea is that by having gotten to know the person, you’ve already had a chance to see how they work, how they think and whether you’re likely to get along. This makes your college or workplace friend circle a very useful hunting ground for a potential business partner. Consider Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, for instance. Chen and Karim were classmates at the University of Illinois, who then met Hurley at PayPal, where all three were employees. They then founded YouTube, which received funding from Sequoia Capital, whose partner Roelof Botha, who also joined the YouTube board of directors, was the CFO of PayPal.

You better be good friends with them as well, since you're going to spend a lot of time working together. Also, there will be times in the startup lifetime that will test your relationship with your co-founder, so make sure you understand the stakes before going in.

Someone you can trust

Mistrust can be a cancer for your startup. The good news is that you can avoid it by choosing a founder you trust, and then work to foster deeper trust in your relationship over time. Keep in mind that it’s a never ending process.

Play fair. You can’t expect others to care as much about the business when they don’t see themselves getting a fair share. This goes hand-in-hand with trust.

Great minds think alike

There should be aligned interest and commitment from your co-founder. You both have to (at some level) be committed to not only building a company, but the same company. If one of you wants to create a company you run forever (and reap profits) and the other wants to take a shot at a high-flying startup that gets sold or goes public some day, you’ll have a problem.

Of course, co-founders may influence each other’s decisions in this context. Afterall, Larry Page’s "BackRub" might just have remained a research project on citation backlinks in research papers, with limited commercial value, unless Sergey Brin, a fellow Stanford Ph.D. student and close friend, had not come to the rescue and worked with him to make it what we today know as Google.

Choose your compliment

A co-founder should be strong in areas you are not. A great compliment to your skills is someone who loves to do things you hate, someone who makes the sum of your parts greater than the whole. If Steve Wozniak had remained the nerd who was simply skeptical of the idea of selling computers, and had not been convinced by Steve Jobs, the born-entrepreneur, to come up with a company so that they could at least say that to their grandkids, neither would've conceived Apple Computers independently.

Make sure at least one of the founders has the technical expertise. This is so you don't have to try and outsource the actual product development. Similarly, make sure at least one of you can sell. No great idea is of any use to a startup that can’t market it properly. Effectively, you need to identify your “type”, and look for the corresponding complementary skill in your partner.

Practice, not just preach

You need a co-founder who can get things done. If you have a great idea, and you want to bring it to life, find someone who is passionate about your vision, and who is willing to work for it. Since startups involve lots and lots of work (some fun, some not so fun), part of the value of your co-founder should be that the work can be distributed. If your co-founder is too “strategy” focused too early, you’ll get buried because there’s too much to do.

Passion is easy to spot. Years after the two had befriended each other at Lakeside School, Seattle, where they used to tweak the school’s scheduling program to place themselves in classes with more female students, and had faced several penalties for other naughty uses of their programming skills, one of them dropped out of Washington State University and called on the other (in Harvard then) to do the same, for starting a venture together. Both understood each others’ passion and immediately complied. They were Paul Allen and Bill gates, and thus was born, Microsoft.

Microsoft co-founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen, at 13 and 15 years of age respectively

Talk the talk

Have the hard discussions around equity, compensation and responsibilities early. This stuff does not get easier over time – it gets harder.

How should the division of shares be controlled? Who will make the decisions? What happens if one of us leaves the company? Can any of us be fired? By whom? For what reasons? What are our personal goals for the startup? Will this be the primary activity for each of us? What part of our plan are we each unwilling to change? Will any of us be investing cash in the company? If so, how is this treated? What will we pay ourselves? Who gets to change this in the future?

Deferring these conversations is a great way to ensure problems later.

So what are you waiting for? Step out and start looking.


Thursday, April 09, 2009

Answers to Don't Ask, Don't tell - Pilot

So here we are.
As expected, not many answered the Quiz I posted last week, though many emailed, IMed and talked about how intriguing it was, while others declined since they were Quiz Club members who had already seen the Quiz and didn't want to earn any bad Karma (If you ask me, they could've still answered: just Don't Ask, Don't Tell). Anyways, congrats to Palkush and Mithilesh for Googling all of them.

The Questions, along with the answers are given below:

Have another Quiz Club meeting tonight, the final one this semester, with the Governor's Quiz taking place. Expect it to be quite eventful. :)


Sunday, April 05, 2009

A Quiz you can work out

We have something of a Quiz Club here at IIT-Kgp, where some of us who are interested in the art meet once a week to... well, quiz. Of the few regular attendees, usually two or three would bring their own questions and quiz the rest.

Having attended the club for a year now, I finally "collaborated" with a batchmate here, Varun Singh, and we came up with our own set of questions, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", that was presented at last Thursday's meeting. We have tried to ensure there are as many "workoutable" questions as possible.

I have attached the quiz below, or rather embedded it into my post using slideshare. There are, in total, 28 workoutable questions, with the question number given at the top left corner of the slides. I recommend you to forward through each of the slides at your own pace using the forward and back buttons (next to play), or use the fullscreen mode (Doesn't take much time to load). In case it doesn't load the first time, just refresh once.

I am not giving the answers now, and would encourage you to try the Quiz on your own, and leave your answers as comments here. Whether you're a regular quizzer or not, the answers are very easy to work out, and you should definitely give it a try. Just leave a comment with as many answers as you can work out, and do leave a name or moniker. I strongly suggest you to make a guess for each and every question, even if it's very silly or weird (that's how usually the correct answers are). As someone said, the dirtiest word you can utter at a quiz is "Pass!" (A couple of questions here are dirtier still, mind you!! ;) )

Most of the questions are Google-able, which means they may be cracked very easily by Googling. The questions are'nt all original as well, but some reproduced from previous quizzes we've seen over time. Some are, of course, very new. Since the quiz was not made to be given online, I'd suggest you to try it out without help from Wiki/Google. You may still use the online resources, but stay beware of the Karma police then.

I don't expect many to respond to the quiz. In any case, the answers as well as the scores (of those who do answer, if any) will be put up on the coming Thursday, that is, the 9th of April 2009, so you have till Wednesday 11:59 pm to answer. Do come back to check it out; it's a fun quiz, and you'll love the answers.

Update: Answers to the Quiz.


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Google April Fool's Hoax 2009: Google Chrome with 3D

Google has done it again this year: April Fool's Day Hoaxed!!!!

Google Chrome Blog: Introducing Google Chrome with 3D should be enough to explain you how Google plans to take Chrome 3D. For this, they've taken the help of CADIE, and you can give the browser a shot by first downloading and printing the 3-D glasses, and then downloading the new version of chrome itself.

CADIE, the world’s first "Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity" is a computer that’s come alive and is making changes at Google. “Earlier today, for instance, CADIE deduced from a quick scan of the visual segment of the social web a set of online design principles from which she derived this intriguing homepage.”

YouTube just flails with upside down video viewing.

Gmail now has AutoPilot.

Google Brain Search uses CADIE technology to index your brain.

Google Australia introduces the gBall, which will change Australian rules football as we know it.

There is also a featured YouTube video of a panda by the user ‘cadiesingularity’ with a profile stating “Cadie - the world’s first Cognitive Auto-Heuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity”.

When browsing Street View in Google Maps, a panda is shown in the bottom right map instead of the yellow person usually shown.

CADIE even has its own blog on Blogger.

There is also a “CADIE’s recommended places for humans” link in Google Maps, which leads to the “Panda Mapplet” and includes several marked locations with “CADIE’s” commentary. Under Redmond WA a link is listed which will rick roll the viewer.

I'll end this post with an observation that I agree with:

April 1 - The day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four. -- Mark Twain


Monday, March 30, 2009

First signs of change after #iitdeath - New Appointments

Two new appointments have been made to fill in the voids in administration left after last week’s events.

Prof. Souvik Bhattacharya of the Department of Mechanical Engineering has taken up the post of Dean of Student Affairs, while Prof. Gautam Sinha has taken the position of Chairman of B C Roy Technology Hospital.

--Quoting Scholar's Avenue, celebrating 4 years of being IIT Kharagpur's Campus Newspaper

For the uninitiated, students had demanded the resignation of the Director, the Dean of Student Affairs and the Chairman of B.C.Roy Technology Hospital after the unfortunate incident last week, now referred to as Black Sunday.

Both of the newly appointed faculty members are highly respected by the student community at IIT-Kgp as being very dedicated and diligent.

All hopes rest on the future now.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

New & Improved

The God of Small Things, or Shrey-Knows, has seen a makeover of sorts in the past couple of days. Well, not a makeover exactly, but you get the drift, right?

Shrey-Knows now burns its feeds through feedburner, making it much easier to subscribe using popular feed readers. If you're an avid reader of blogs but don't know what's a reader, well... that's kind-of contradictory. You can start with Google Reader, which is simpler to use than you think. You could also subscribe using your iGoogle Homepage. Both these options, along with several others, are available through feedburner.

If you'd rather just be informed when Shrey-Knows updates, you can enter you email address in the Subscribe via Email column on the right to receive an email as soon as I update my Blog, which happens, on an average, 5 times a month, roughly once a week.

I've also added two Google Search Boxes to the Blog - a Web Search box in the left column which is useful when you need to Google while surfing the blog, while a search box exclusively for searching Shrey-Knows can be used from the right column.

A twitter widget has also been added, though its been some time since the microblogger-bug bit me.

Last, but hardly the least, my Google Adsense account was approved recently, which you can see all over the blog I guess. Ads are displayed at four locations on Shrey-Knows, besides feeds and search results (Through the above mentioned search boxes).

A couple of sharing options have been added as well. While you can find links to StumbleUpon, Digg, Delicious etc. on the feeds, a tell-a-friend widget, right below the post, can help you share the post using IM, Email, Bookmarking, Blogging and Social Networking options.

So that's about it for now. I hope you do subscribe to the blog now, or atleast add yourself as a follower. Your suggestions/feedback are much welcome.

Oh, and yeah, tonight's Earth Hour (28 March 2009). So wherever you are, just switch off all lights around/near you for 60 minutes from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm (Your Local Time), and join millions around the world as your light switch becomes your vote, for Earth...

Planning to come out with a new post soon.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Another victim

Gaurav Tomar is fine now and taking rest at home after getting discharged from Apollo Hospital after 19 long days.
(Find comment by Gaurav confirming the same below.)

New Dean of Student Affairs and Chairman of B.C.Roy Technology Hospital appointed.

I am taking Mr. Gaurav Tomar out of B.C. Roy Technology Hospital on my own risk and the hospital would not be held responsible if anything unfortunate happens to him.’

We were asked to sign this piece of parchment by the BC Roy Officials before we took him to Meerut, his hometown.

I thank God that we signed and took him to Meerut and then to Apollo Hospital, Delhi where he is right now, in ICU, on dialysis struggling for his life.

Many of you may be familiar with the unfortunate incident of Rohit Kumar, but this incident was not one off. There are many more such incidents one of which I am sharing with you.

Gaurav Tomar is a 5th Year Student of Civil Engineering at IIT Kharagpur. He is to receive his B. Tech + M.Tech (Dual) Degree in two months time, and has already been placed in the Indian Registrar of Shipping with a lucrative salary. He has been the Governor of Hindi Technology Dramatics Society, IIT Kharagpur and has also been the Hindi Dramatics Captain of Lala Lajpat Rai Hall of Residence for 2 years.

Two days before Holi he was running fever and admitted himself into BC Roy Hospital, IIT Kharagpur. The attending doctor ran a series of tests on him which included a couple of blood tests, a urine test and was scheduled for an ultrasound. He was put on Glucose as he couldn’t eat anything. We used to visit him daily bringing him stuff to eat which he couldn’t eat. He constantly ran a temperature and complained of severe stomach ache. The doctor used to give him 4 injections everyday of indigestion. We used to ask the doctor what was wrong with him and we used to listen to a new disease every day. According to the well trained and experienced doctors of the hospital Gaurav had Typhoid, Jaundice, Urinary Tract Infection and what not. When asked if they had actually detected Typhoid in his blood tests before giving him its medicines, they replied that it was an educated guess according to his fever patterns. Even after staying in the Hospital for 6 days, taking their medicines, Gaurav’s situation deteriorated.

I remember that on Friday they decided to ultrasound his stomach due to the stomach pain he complained of, but they had to wait till Monday for the test since the Ultrasound Specialist came only on Monday. Even the nurses and compounders used to misbehave with him. Once when he had to go to the toilet he rang the bell for the nurse. When he came he replied angrily that “Tumko toilet tabhi jana hota hai jab hum lete hote hain?” Gaurav had no words. Another time the Nurse came with a new bottle of glucose and saw the old one was still half full. To prevent another visit later she increased the speed of the glucose without the consent of either the doctor or the patient. Isn’t this called playing with the patient’s life?

When Gaurav’s situation worsened to the point when he couldn’t even speak, we talked to the doctor about taking him to a better medical facility where at least he could be diagnosed properly. The Doctor was not willing to do so. He asked for 3 more days of time to diagnose him. Thankfully we didn’t listen to him and signed the above mentioned document. Gaurav was then flown to Meerut. On Sunday, that is the day of Rohit’s demise, we received a call from Gaurav’s mother. She was inconsolable and said that he has been in Apollo Hospital, Delhi ICU for 4 days and had been diagnosed with malignant malaria. Moreover the doctor there said that had he been late by a day, the parasite would have affected the brain and may have cost him his life. He is still in ICU, on dialysis, as the malarial parasite has already affected his kidneys. Right now as I write 5 of my friends are on their way to Delhi to see him.

-- As narrated by Friends and Well-wishers of Gaurav Tomar

Let us all pray for Mr. Gaurav Tomar’s speedy recovery and not let the voice that has risen against B.C.Roy Technology Hospital die down.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Death of an IITian

Update: New Dean of Student Affairs and Chairman of B.C.Roy Technology Hospital appointed at IIT-Kgp.

I'm publishing this from a small cyber-cafe outside the IIT-campus, since the internet/LAN has been completely shut down in the campus, which you can further read why?

Rohit Kumar, a 3rd year undergraduate student of Electrical Engineering at IIT Kharagpur died this morning due to lack of basic medical facilities at B.C. Roy "Hospital", the civic IIT-run hospital responsible for providing healthcare facilities to IIT-Kharagpur campus residents, which includes students, faculty members, staff and other employees.

Rohit complained of a headache on Saturday evening after a basketball match. He visited B.C.Roy Hospital, no confirmation of the occurrence there is available. During the course of the night his condition worsened and the next morning he again visited the hospital with excruciating pain. He was asked to go back after being prescribed painkillers. While going back to his Hostel, he collapsed and hit his head on the cowtrap. He was rushed back to the hospital, where he was told to wait for the Doctor to arrive in "five minutes". After three hours of "five minutes", the Doctor arrived but refused to touch him. He was referred to Apollo Hospital, Kolkata since he required treatment by a neurologist. He was sent in an ambulance also containing, besides the driver, a pharmacist and two of his friends, but no trained paramedic. Considering the profuse bleeding and worsening condition, they decided to go for Medinipur Hospital instead. He was declared 'brought dead' at Medinipur Hospital.

B.C.Roy has had a history of medical negligence, with several serious medical blunders taking place frequently, and any critical case being needed to rushed as far as Kolkata, despite the administration's claim of developing it into a "Multi-speciality medical research centre", whereas, ironically, not a single paisa has been spent in this regard. No other medical facility is available on the 2100 acre campus, while the strength of students and need for medical care is growing multi-fold every year.

Earlier, the campus newspaper, Scholar's Avenue, had been "banned" for 6 months for publishing an investigative report on the sorry state of the hospital.

Outraged students assembled outside the Director's bungalow aiming for a silent protest. However, the Director refused to attend to the students, not ready to acknowledge the problem with IIT-Kgp's medical facilities. In addition to this he was ignorant of the details of the whole incident. This lead to greater outrage and more than 2000 students gheraoed the residence.

Finally making an appearance on the balcony of the residence he expressed his SYMPATHY and appreciated that we had all gathered for the cause but promised no action. It was demanded that he answer the questions put up by the protesting students. He eventually came out with security where he made blunt promises like suspending the doctor and registering a police case against the "CULPRIT" making it evident that he was trying to laugh off the matter. This caused further unrest after which he slunk away into his house. Exasperated students aggressively demanded the director's resignation since the life of every student is his responsibility and he has not addressed to the much obvious problem even after it has been blatantly pointed out to him many a times in open house discussions with students earlier, as recent as one month ago.

What is even more amusing are the loose comments that the authorities repeatedly made - the Deputy Director said "Whats the big deal..."

Rohit's memory will forever remain embedded in our hearts. May his soul rest in peace...

For further info, please visit IIT Kgp's campus newspaper. Also see updates on the health of another victim, Gaurav Tomar, currently in ICU.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The History of Kgp's LAN (Part 2/2)

(Continued from The History of Kgp's LAN (Part 1/2) )

...this kaand brought us and our LAN to national publicity for the first time ever.

The RaviRaj kaand [More popularly referred to as the DPS MMS case outside Kgp]. Kgp became notoriously famous overnight as a giant Hub of unlimited porn. It was an extremely embarrassing situation for every Kgpian. Most of them were at their homes when this news broke out. Everyone was asked by some parent or a nosy aunt or a distant friend, "Raviraj tera dost tha kya ??"

After this huge turmoil, when KGPians returned to college in January, explicit notices were put up everywhere and for a couple of days, DC++ was off too. Even uttering the word 'porn' was serious sacrilege. There was a rumor that someone somewhere is monitoring your computer. It was during this period that vast amounts of 'resources' were destroyed and people had turned into puritans, temporarily of course.

Then after a few days, no one knows how or from where, a term was coined, a term that would become as popular in the KGP lingo as ‘Bhaat’, 'peace' or even 'makhana'. This was the term 'Bhajan'. Slowly with time, people started sharing more bhajans on DC and soon life was happy as ever for the KGPian. This was the time when SERVER™, mkd, Nukem and MrMast ruled the Kingdom of LAN.

Later in this semester came along another craze. Google started Gmail. Gmail was then on a purely invitational basis and it was a privilege to have a Gmail account. It was the first e-mail service to offer 1GB of storage (to store all the junk fwds in the world).

The Google Age:

As soon as people returned from the summers they were introduced to Gtalk which eventually changed the way KGPians chatted with each other. Gtalk was small, fast and people could use it as a phone too. Yahoo messenger was becoming a pain with every passing day. I remember I read a status message on a friend's YM, "Yahoo is History.. My Gtalk ID is ***"

Soon Gtalk became the norm. People started blogging quite often. All the hidden poets and journalists started off with a simple blog.

Soon Orkut and Blogger were integrated with the gmail account and the Kgpian had one password for all.

Nukem, Frosty, Nefilim, nullchar and ReligiousMonk ruled the Kingdom..

The New Age:

KGP's LAN had evolved at a tremendous pace and had reached saturation. Soon the LAN became bigger and better. DC++ had taught people to share more, so much so, that people had bought more hard disks to share stuff on LAN. There was a race to share more stuff on LAN. For the first time the total size shared stuff on DC++ had became more than 1 TB in Spring 2005.Today it has around 15-20 TB of stuff at any point of time.

Yahoo had INFACT become History.

-- Funda by Anish Thanatil on his blog. I take the baton from here.

The Current Age
(2007 - Present day)

The evolution has continued to the present day, and faster than ever. Very soon, people started bringing over external hard disks to increase their share size, which resulted in some of them sharing over 1 TB individually (Yo garrett !!) A minimum sharesize of 8 GB was fixed, and DC++ saw over 50 TB being shared for the first time in Spring 2008, during the inaugral IPL session. The min.sharesize went from 8 GB to 16 GB, to 24 GB as of now. The average total share is around 60-70 TB nowadays, and over 97 TB has been touched, during the last India/NZ T-20 series. DC++ pundits expect to cross the magic figure of 100 TB during the oncoming IPL season.
 ]-[ELLFRAGGER, Garrett, ak_rulz and THE_DON are emperors of the LAN. DC++ also got its first ever female "VIP" recently.

LAN has started showing new colours, with useful stuff like eBooks, video lectures, good documentaries, funda files etc. So now we have LAN for the froost, LAN for the maggu, LAN for the nerd, LAN for the geek, LAN for the dude, and for pretty much everyone there is... If it exists, it's there on DC++.

Streaming TV from the common room is quite popular nowadays, with everyone enjoying the broadcast in their rooms. Even during key cricket matches, the common rooms can be seen empty except for the occasional fachcha waiting for his lappy to arrive. The number of TV series available and watched has exploded as well, which now include, besides Friends; How I Met Your Mother, Roadies, Prison break, The Big Bang Theory, Boston Legal, Coupling, Heroes, 24, Two-and-half Men, House, 8-Simple-Ways... etc. to name a few. Anim├ęs, and other cartoon series (I have surely managed to offend some people by comparing Animes to cartoons) are largely popular as well, with Naruto and Dragonball Z being the favorites, though I wonder why. A HUGE number of movies, from Mackenna's Gold to Mithun's Gunda, are available and watched with fervour.

A very recent development would be the new campus "radio", kNUTS, started by a handful of enthusiasts, which is streamed using an internal proxy, and slowly gaining listnership.

CS still remains the most popular timepass (Again, some people may be offended by me calling it a timepass), while AOE, NFS and FIFA are popular as well. Gaming freaks have come up with their own battle grounds by forming Cyber Leagues to find out the most HuHaa player of all.

Blackberries, iPhones, iPods have begun showing up (and disappearing as well)!!

Orkut looks ready to give way to facebook as the ultimate social networking website. Yahoo is completely out of the picture now, with most fests and societies switching over to Google Groups. Blogging is the rage, with more and more Kgpians joining the Blogosphere every day. Even fests and societies are realizing the importance of Blogs and consequently, of Bloggers, with some of them outsourcing the Chronicler's job to makeshift "Official" bloggers. Some students even maintain 2 or more blogs, and some go in for niche subjects like litt, tech, quizzing, art etc. Microblogging is also catching up, though most people wouldn't know what I'm talking about unless I actually mention twitter.

And how can I close on DC++ without mentioning the part everyone loves to hate, the MainChat. It is used as a platform to express opinions and vent frustaapa, while maintaining anonimity under nicks like toofan and jaanam_samjha_karo. I would have loved mentioning some of the topics discussed, but this is a family blog afterall... :)

The response to my previous entry has been overwhelming, and I've been flooded with "eagerly awaiting the next post..." messages, which goes on to show the kind-of "sento" people have for their beloved LAN. Recent rumours about the insti "taking control" of the LAN have especially heightened the sentiment. One only needs to read the History of Kgp's LAN once, all that it has went through in so few years, yet only growing stronger, to realize that it has become something more than just a network, something bigger than all of us, cause afterall, HiT Hi FiT Hai!! For us, it is as much of a "symbol" of the insti, as the insti tower or its Halls, the difference being that these remain static don't grow with time. We shall come and go, and LAN will continue to evolve and influence the lives of whole generations of Kgpians.

Yo Kgp... Yo LAN!!!

If you liked the posts, please don't forget to leave a comment. Kgpians could, as well, discuss the post on Mainchat... :)


Friday, March 20, 2009

The History of Kgp's LAN (Part 1/2)

Dedicated to the spirit of IIT-Kgp, and it's LAN...

Ask any Kgpian you may know, about the significance of LAN in his/her life... maggu or non-maggu, gult or non-gult, dude or non-dude, bong or non-bong, juice or non-juice, fresher or senior (or even super senior for that matter), batti or ghaasi, chhagi or nehli, makhau or studd, Patelian or RKite... no one, absolutely no one can deny that their lives would have been very different if not for LAN.

If you don't believe me, read on...

[Reproduced from a post written two years ago by Anish Thanatil. Some of the stuff is no longer applicable, but has been left unaltered for the sake of nostalgia.]

The STD Age

Very few people had computers at this time. The trend was to rent a CD/video from tech market for Rs.10 and watch it in the TV room. Most people used to go to STD booths on a weekly basis to talk to their families or on daily basis if you had more than just family to talk to! ;)

The hostel phone was always a zone of activity. There would be guys making fun of the others talking to their bandis on the phone, or the guy on the phone asking the other fellow to hush-up the swear words because his mom could hear him. I even remember people running to the phone booths when they heard they got a call from an IIM.

It was around the mid-semesters of Spring 2002 that everything in KGP was about to change. HCL had provided the students with the subsidized computers. Obviously, the guys screwed up their mid-sems. Then by end-semesters of Spring 2002, the institute provided them with an amazing gift of LAN. They screwed up their end-sems too.

The Shareaza Age

By the time we entered KGP (after summer), LAN was being used to its fullest. Shareaza was the most popular software then. It allowed multiple user download and even then getting 1MBps was considered good. There was no share limit and people didn’t bother to share. Sharescan was another popular choice. But even then, KGP was still wasting most of its time playing cards (LAN was going to kill that soon).

Yahoo Messenger was the favourite IM amongst the masses, while Yahoo/Rediff/Indiatimes/Sify were the most used email services.

SERVER™ hosted the only CounterStrike server in the insti and it was rampantly popular.

A prized few had Cell phones. Only Reliance and BSNL were there to offer service. Reliance was costly and to get BSNL you would either have to wait for long or you needed to have the correct contacts in the BSNL office.

The Yahoo Age:

Yahoo messenger was the backbone of communication in Kharagpur (Most SF and Kshitij work is still done using YahooGroups). The LAN did not have any Latest™ Offliner and Friends and Seinfeld were the funniest shows available. TV rooms were reserved for Cricket matches only. There is a Murphy’s Law associated with things on LAN – “All good things on LAN come during the mid-sems or the end-sems.”

During the mid-sems of Spring 2004, a new trend came up - SKYPE. But Skype did not have the mettle to dislodge Yahoo from its top position. Yahoo was so popular that people had two yahoo accounts because you could have only 100 friends on one account. I even know someone from my Hall who got married to his chat friend from abroad. Can You Beat That!! [ Trying my best :)   --Shrey]

This was the last year Kgp has Direct Connection.

For a few days in the Spring Sem, TV was aired on the LAN using the TV-Tuner card. Various channels including the Saas-Bahu mega-thrillers were popular. (I remember watching the Oscars Live on my comp that year.) It was soon stopped when the people realized that it was eating too much bandwidth and moreover, it was illegal. :P

By the end of Spring 2004, something came up that would become an integral part of a KGPians life… ORKUT.

The best part about Orkut was (is) that it gave the guys something they badly needed – Hope. With Orkut spreading fast every KGPian had only one bubble floating over his head, “I never knew there were so many good girls out there.”

The DC++ Age:

ORKUT grew to its full potential in the autumn of 2005. [The cynic in me refused to believe that Orkut could be of absolutely any use, and it wasn’t until 2 years later that I joined Orkut]

I remember I was spending my second yr summers at home when Hazro told me about the 'In-Thing' in Kgp. It was called DC++. Even today I don’t know what DC stands for, but the first time I heard about it I didn’t care at all because there was a 5 GB share limit which I wasn’t very happy to comply with and people were using both Shareaza and DC simultaneously. Pretty soon everyone shifted to DC and. Soon after that there was a Latest™ [and the sub-sections in latest were introduced soon after]. Unlike Shareaza, you could get kicked from DC for any reason. DC was controlled by the admin, who would be one of the quietest fellows in the real world but a real cat on DC.

When I was spending my December vacations of the third year at home someone from Kgp told me that Kgp was embroiled in some big-time controversy. It was this kaand that brought us and our LAN to national publicity for the first time ever.

Continued >> The History of Kgp's LAN (Part 2/2)


Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Slumdog... effect

What must have inspired Rafael, an Israeli Arms firm, to come up with this:

This, uh... advertisement, was "released" at the recently held Aero-India 2009 in Bangalore. It seems the leading man here, representing the defence company, is trying to woo the Indian (or Russian?) dancers, who then probably represent the country's defence forces. So the Indian Military is like the helpless womenfolk who need(s) to "feel safe and sheltered". Let's see what Rafael gets out of all this.

So we have a Bollywood-esque video featuring bare-midriff girls, flower-draped missiles, and the catch phrase "dinga dinga dee"... Now which recent Oscar-winning (don't ask me how!) British film does this song remind me of?


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

4 days left for E4SI, so apply TODAY... It's now or never...

Have you been planning to apply for E4SI - the Engineers for Social Impact fellowship-cum-internship program - since quite some time now. Well buddy, time's almost over...

You have 10 companies to choose from, and in case you're confused, you could pick up any three immersion experiences you find closest to your heart, and apply ...

  • iDiscoveri-- Unleash Your Mind

    Founded by alumni of Harvard University, INSEAD, IIT and XLRI, iDiscoveri is a social enterprise with a vision of reviving education in India.

    Internship Location: Hyderabad/Chennai/Mumbai or Gurgaon

  • Intellecap-- Shaping Outcomes

    Focused on the multiple bottom-line investment industry, Intellecap offers services to various players within this space including investors, enterprises, entrepreneurs, multi-lateral development agencies, policy makers, and many others.

    Internship Location: Hyderabad

  • Ujjivan-- Enabling a 'Better Life'

    Founded by Wharton alumnus Samit Ghosh, Ujjivan is one of the fastest growing Microfinance institutions. It has provided financial services to over 1,00,000 of India’s poorest women

    Internship Location: Bangalore

  • Vaatsalya-- New Face of Healthcare

    Winner of the BiD Challenge (India) for its business plan "Bridging the Gap in Healthcare Access", Vaatsalya is set to drive a new paradigm of healthcare in rural and semi-urban areas of the country.

    Internship Location: Bangalore/Hubli

  • D.Light Design-- Affordable Light and Power

    Founded by Stanford alumni, with a mission to provide everyone access to safe and bright light

    Internship Location: New Delhi

  • SELCO India-- Sustainable Energy Solutions

    Selco, with 13 years of innovations in bringing sustainable energy solutions to under-served households and businesses

    Internship Location: Bangalore/Ahmedabad or Sirsi

  • GEWP India-- Low Cost Irrigation Solutions

    GEWP sources micro irrigation equipments from local manufactures, and sells the same using network of supply chain which includes dealers/distributors and retailers.

    Internship Location: Aurangabad

  • DhanaX-- Let's Multiply Wealth

    An award winning platform for person-to-person lending that supports the entrepreneurial spirit of thousands of small farmers, underprivileged women across the globe

    Internship Location:Bangalore

  • Ethos

    Ethos is a multi-family office servicing ultra high net worth families across Asia providing them wealth management services, philanthropy services, lifestyle services, education and training services and other support services.

    Internship Location:Mumbai/Bangalore

  • A Little World

    A Little World (ALW) is an innovative social enterprise creating India's first domestic payment platform focused on serving low income customer segments in rural India.
While you're at it, well... hurry up !!! Do make sure the complete application is submitted on or before the 22nd February, or the coming Sunday.

Best of Luck!!!


Thursday, February 05, 2009


What connects Isaac Asimov (Author), Asia Carrera (Pornographic actress), Scott Adams (Cartoonist), Buckminster Fuller (Architect, inventor, futurist... Polymath!), Geena Davis (Oscar-winning actress), Martin Cooper (Inventor of the cell phone), Julie Peterson (Playboy Playmate), Alfred Hinds (Criminal/Prison escape artist) and Bobby Czyz (Boxer).

If you're already confused, add to the list Derek Barbosa (Rapper), Cyril Burt (Psychologist), Rolf Gindolf (Sexologist), Jeremy Hanley (Politician), Maurice Kanbar (Inventor of SKYY Vodka), Richard Lederer (Punster), Andrzej Majewski (Writer, photographer and director), Steve Martin (Emmy Award-winning actor, comedian, writer, playwright, producer, musician and composer), Adam Osborne (Created first commercially available portable computer, the Osborne 1), Gareth Penn (Private Investigator), Sir Jimmy Savile (DJ, actor and television/radio personality) and so on...

Well, the connection here is that all the personalities described above (kindly prefix "celebrated" or "famous" to their descriptions in the parentheses) are, or have been, members of Mensa .

And yes, do add to the list, me.

Actually not yet, the membership formalities are yet to be fulfilled. But I have qualified the test, falling within the 99th percentile of the standardized IQ test, the Cattell Culture Fair Intelligence Test if I remember(the actual score is yet to be confirmed) and its just a couple of weeks before I get my Mensa Card. But let me tell you about Mensa first.

Mensa is the largest, oldest, and best known high-IQ society in the world. It is a non-profit organization open to people who score at the 98th percentile or higher on a standardized, supervised intelligence test.

Mensa's constitution lists three purposes: to identify and foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity; to encourage research into the nature, characteristics, and uses of intelligence; and to provide a stimulating intellectual and social environment for its members.

Mensans come from all walks of life and almost every job and profession, representing almost every age group. There are many famous and prominent members (As you might've seen above...), which deserve further detailing.

Isaac Asimov, perhaps the most prolific author of all time, wrote/co-authored more than 500 books, and has been published in nine of the ten categories of the Dewey Decimal System. This Novelist/ Short-story Writer/ Essayist/ Historian/ Biochemist/ Textbook Writer/ Humorist was a long time member and Vice-President of Mensa International.

Asia Carrera is an AVN-award winning actress, who frequently describes herself as "the nerd of porn".

Scott Adams is the creator of the Dilbert comic strip (Please don't tell me you haven't heard of it...) and the author of several business commentaries, social satires and experimental philosophy books.

Buckminster Fuller, an American architect, author, designer, futurist, inventor, and visionary, who lends his name to a family of complex carbon structures called Buckminsterfullerenes or "Bucky Balls.", was the second president of Mensa.

Geena Davis is an Academy Award-, Golden Globe-winning and Emmy-nominated American actress, film producer, writer and fashion model, known better as the Thelma of Thelma and Louise.

Inventor/Entrepreneur Martin Cooper is considered the father of the mobile phone.

Julie Peterson, or should I say Doctor Julie Peterson, is an American model and actress who was chosen as Playboy's Playmate of the Month in February, 1987. Dr. Peterson graduated from Life University as a chiropractor.

Alfred Hinds was a British criminal and escape artist who, while serving a 12 year prison sentence for robbery, successfully broke out of three high security prisons. Despite the dismissal of thirteen of his appeals to higher courts, he was eventually able to gain a pardon using his knowledge of the British legal system.

Bobby Czyz, a retired American Boxer, who is both a former world light heavyweight and cruiserweight champion, once even wore a shirt with "MENSA" on it while walking to the ring for a match.

And the list goes on and on with other prominent authors, cartoonists, film/television/other media personalities, scientists, inventors, entrepreneurs, politicians, sportspersons, lawyers...

And me...


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lyrics & Translation to Praan - The where the hell is Matt song

I have found myself humming the song from that video of a guy dancing all over the world, or rather trying to hum it, continuously over the past few weeks. In case you're facing the same difficulty, try the following:

Bhulbona ar shohojete
Shei praan e mon uthbe mete
Mrittu majhe dhaka ache
je ontohin praan

Bojre tomar baje bashi
She ki shohoj gaan
Shei shurete jagbo ami
(Repeat 2X)

Bojre tomar baje bashi
She ki shohoj gaan
dao more shei gaan

Shei jhor jeno shoi anonde
Chittobinar taare
Shopto-shindhu dosh digonto
Nachao je jhonkare!

Bojre tomar baje bashi
She ki shohoj gaan
Shei shurete jagbo ami
(Repeat 3X)

Bojre tomar baje bashi
She ki shohoj gaan
Shei shurete jagbo ami

Bojre tomar baje bashi
She ki shohoj gaan
dao more shei gaan

The lyrics of the song are from the poem "Stream of Life" taken from the Nobel-prize-winning collection 'Gitanjali' by Rabindranath Tagore. The translation for the same is as given below:

The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day
runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures.

It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth in numberless blades of grass
and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers.

It is the same life that is rocked in the ocean-cradle of birth and of death,
in ebb and in flow.

I feel my limbs are made glorious by the touch of this world of life.
And my pride is from the life-throb of ages dancing in my blood this moment.

Suits the video pretty well.

Thanks to Matt Harding, Gary Schyman (The composer) and Palbasha Siddique (For singing it so beautifully). And of course, Thanks to the late polymath, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, may he rest in Peace.