Thursday, July 09, 2009

Go Bing!

Just over a month after its release, Bing is still going strong. Though I use both Google and Bing as a customer, its nice to see some serious competition in Search. As they say, "Competition keeps you on your toes". Go Bing!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Business Fraud Alert

We all know that the economy in US is facing troubles. With economic troubles comes more confused people willing to try out quick fixes for all their problems, problems that they built over years with irresponsible credit card usage and need-it-now philosophy. And this is a perfect hunting ground for fraudsters and con-men. I've already written about MLMs and how stupid and dangerous they really were. A friend of mine recently forwarded the following video about fraud with telemarketing.

I fail to understand how people think they can solve all the problems by buying a business opportunity over phone without thinking through it. Seriously, how stupid can you get?? Even if you've seen the person and gone through the product like a hundred times, there are chances of failure (I'm immediately reminded of the famous 'roti-making machine' that made rounds in the exhibitions in India which people bought and didn't get the round, well made rotis like the salesman once they tried it at home. Include the vacuum, the roti machine, food processor, whatever product you want). So, how can people be naive enough to believe something that is just shown on TV??? Beats me!!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Is the way humans think changing?

A group of friends and I, we are doing a discussion on Human thinking and how it changes. The seed for our discussion started with this article. In all, all of us felt the following symptoms:
  • Cannot concentrate on a single task more than ten minutes - interestingly we found that we could concentrate if need be, but that the bar for need was set very high(way up near the sky!) so that most of our daily activities were below the bar. (You can say a deadline in an hour to be above the bar - but even then some of my friend just needed to check their text messages)
  • Needed music in the background to give more productive work - I definitely need them to write better code but felt that when I'm writing articles and documents, the music is a hindrance! And some friends needed music even to study for exams! Heck! One of them even has a "Study time" playlist in his iPod.
  • Cannot remember phone numbers - None of us can remember each other's phone numbers. I remember some phone numbers in India but that's about it. I don't remember my best bud's number in US though we talk to each other every alternate day. I'd be so lost without my cell phone and its list of numbers.
  • Lesser exercise in strategic thinking for the brain - I think Google maps is really, really good making it easy to do all the figuring out for every shopping trip we do. We use the public transit for all shopping!! And my brain gets lesser exercise!! :(
  • More skimming of articles - I cannot read any more serious prose or long poetry. Succinct is the word. Same with all my friends. Sometimes we wonder if the human brain is becoming more attention deficient. But my dad can still read long articles without batting eyelids! Guess the younger generation is the most afflicted with it.
  • More web interaction - I 'talk' to so many of my friends through internet. Facebook, Twitter (though I don't use it much), Gtalk, Orkut, LinkedIn, etc, etc. The phone and face-to-face communication is becoming rare. But its fun and has become a way of life to get up in the morning and check messages on these mediums. I remember times when internet was limited to just half an hour a day and this was just 4 years ago!!
  • More information, less knowledge, lesser wisdom - all of us are bombarded with information from all sides and in all forms. But it takes time to make it knowledge and that time is what we can't give to all information. It takes practice and time to make the knowledge into wisdom. But, we feel that transforming info to knowledge is possible for most of us but true wisdom is really difficult in this fast paced world. But I guess no one cares anymore - people have the internet and Google and Bing to bring the world's wisdom to their fingertips. If they can use that wisdom well, they'd be the kings of this world. But using the wisdom also requires practice. And that takes time!
  • Change in lifestyle - I still remember the day my uncle took us to the bank to learn how it works. But now, everything is online and automated and more abstract than ever. My first bank trip to withdraw Rs.100 from my account required serious planning - go to the bank when it is open, fill in the appropriate form, wait in queue, etc. Now, all I do is, go to the atm, insert card and get the cash. Though it saves time, I'm not sure if the experience is worthy remembering in my day.
  • Loss of older ways - We are so comfortable once things are set but in this fast paced experience, there is no settling down of things. My friend's daughter thinks that it is normal to chat inside the email but I remember times when that was not the case. And my mom still reminisces about the hand written letters and the joy they bring with every shout of "Saarrr! Possttt!!" but I feel disconnected about it (this might also be because my family stayed close and we never wrote letters to each other - I've never experienced the wait for a letter and thrill of seeing it in the mail box one day or the thrill of getting it from the postman).
  • Speed - I need the movie to be over yesterday. My friend needs to tour Hawaii last month. Do you get it? We need everything to be done fast. Fast, faster! Once, I've caught myself thinking that the plane should touchdown as soon as it took off. With the influx of information at our fingertips, 'now' has become the norm. However, sometimes, it pushes people to the brink in coping with the pressures (have you felt the need to cross out everything on your to-do list?) and spoils their lives. It IS important to stop and smell the roses!
These are some of the ways we find that our lives are different from those that lived in the same position just five years back. I do see a big difference in the way we think, even between those in my age and those five years older to us or between us and those five years younger to us. The world is changing rapidly and the human mind is adapting rapidly as well. Hope this all leads to a balance and that the journey is interesting. Hang in there, mate!

What are your opinions on this post? Do you think our thinking is changing? Did your style of thinking change in the last few years? Any thoughts welcome.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

My Hutch puppy!

Thought I left it in school, but oh no, it has followed me like the Hutch puppy!!

Long live our freedom!
Happy weekend!!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The Veggie challenge!!

I've been hounded by a friend of mine(I mean,literally hounded) who is a Vegan(Gosh!! How does he do it? No milk??? Mommy!!) to stop eating chicken and fish. I already don't eat red meat, because I don't like that taste much. But chicken, that is a different issue. And seafood is neither there nor here.

Jogging my memory(and taking my mom's help when I can't), I was a pure vegetarian till about 8 years old. Then started my love affair with chicken. I started eating chicken livers and moved on to real chicken pieces(the one with bones - apparently I became a big girl, big enough to handle bones!). Then, I stopped again due to non-encouragement at home. Actually, non-encouragement is a vastly different word from lack of encouragement. But I digress... And seem to have given some not-to-be-mentioned statements to my family! They love pulling my leg for it!!

Back to my Non Veg story. I started eating chicken again once I was in college when the doc said that I had to get some iron into my body to become Lady Shaktiman! (sadly that never happened - chicken went in but iron got spent more. And Lady Shaktiman? The hope is dimming!). And, as a result, I started trying out different chicken dishes(mmm... the Arunachalas and the shops near my college where we got this yummy grilled chicken!! They won over any hesitations that I had!!) and even started cooking some of them(And this was greatly aided by AS). The triple K's sure had some fun times cooking chicken dishes, right from chicken biriyani to chicken curry. And I became an expert at making Chicken Chettinadu, so much so that I started cooking chicken every week(!!).

Now I stand at eating chicken almost every other week. Been into discussions with different friends about veg/non-veg issues over the past one year. And finally got nailed by one of my friends who said that I should try only veg for a month and if I think that I don't feel a difference at the end of one month, I can get back to eating chicken as I like. He offered the piscatarian choice(veggies + fish for a month and then veggies for a month - he knows I can't/won't cook fish! And schemed to make me live on veggies for (almost)two months!! Aha! Now that won't do!) but brave that I am, I jumped on the veggie challenge directly!

The challenge is to eat only vegetarian diet(meaning veggies, fruits, rice, lentils, grains, dairy products, etc) for a month... That is 3*31 = 93 meals!!

Mmmm.... There I said it. The reason to put this on my blog is to chronicle my experiences with it so that I can judge easily at the end of the month. Since I haven't had chicken today, I'm taking today as the first day of the challenge. Oh God!! I can already see butter chicken mocking at me!! Give me the strength to overcome this challenge and prove the world that chicken eating is actually good for health! Or wait, maybe veggies are better!! Oh! Just prove whichever is better... so that I can stop having these arguments again and again with so many people.

P.S.: All words of encouragement/condolences to my state are welcome. Any support/personal stories are double welcome! But no flame wars please. And certainly no sending yummy chicken dishes home!!!