Archive for August, 2007

A second at a time, fighting the laziness index

Posted by abyjain on August 24, 2007

The inspiration for this post comes from this post here, on Naina. My life though, somehow, has never been so hectic. I have hardly ever had to run from one project to another and always given my brain lots and lots of time to wander into nothing-land. I don’t even know what I’m thinking then, but possibly, everything that can be thought, has been thought πŸ™‚

On most days, I wake up and start the day with 3-6 aims in mind that need to be achieved. They will usually comprise a mix of work related targets for the day, or home related projects involving the washing machine or the meetings or commitments to others rounded off by a two-some dinner with wife or some other commitments to expand our social graph!

I wonder what makes people different, and is it really the amount of work that makes them so busy or is it the way they run their lives. I’ve thought about it often (as I have thought about everything already) and I’ve come to the conclusion that its a mix of everything. Most importantly it is also something that I have termed the laziness Index. The higher up you are on the laziness index, the shorter will be your method to reach your goals. Sometimes it would be fair to call it a shortcut and at other times, it’s just about being smart πŸ˜‰ Also, I think the laziness index decides on how much of the flim-flam you’re willing to cut across in order to reach the end of your to-do list for the day/week/month.

I usually wake up easy (no, it is not easy to wake up, easy in the sense of nowhere to reach in a hurry), get ready easy, and go to work easy. Also, in a day, if you have 5 things to do, in 8 working hours, It IS actually quite easy to get them done if you prioritise properly and knock them off one at a time. This I learned a long long time ago, I wonder if there are any people who still have to learn that lesson. And then it is smooth sailing to your out-of-office engagements, whether it is driving classes, meetings, shopping or anything else. The dinner (social or not) and then a nice evening watching a movie or reading a book to zzzzzZZZZ land. Life is good!

The one other thing I learned is that human beings spend a LOTTTTTTT of time talking. I mean, if people count the number of productive hours in a day and what they did for them, they’ll usually be disappointed with the results they got. One of our teachers at school, when we were veryyyy young said – “Just remember the amount of energy and time you waste when you keep talking, it’s not worth it” Of course, we will always do it, but maybe we need to put a cap on it. Not only does it take time, it is physically quite sapping… I usually can’t talk about something for more than 5 minutes… the message has to be conveyed by then!!!

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Network signal receptiveness of Mobile phones

Posted by abyjain on August 20, 2007

I think all of us would agree that some cellphones seem to be better able to adapt to low signal areas than others. Still, I don’t see this as a criteria for rating when cellphones are reviewed. It’s really strange, cos there’s really no one who does not face a low signal area ever. If nothing else, when you’re driving out of your city/state, this capacity of your phone will determine when you move out of network coverage.

If anyone visiting this page knows of a resource that rightly even closely hints on the “Network receptiveness” of a mobile phone, please let me know. At least for me, it would be a big factor in deciding which phone to go for. More importantly, a manufacturer who gives a higher weightage to the task the phone was originally supposed to do should be rewarded for it.

Maybe I can make a website for this and make my million dollars off that? Who’d do the testing for me? Vote-mechanisms?


1 – A cellular repeater can be bought for a residence or a vehicle, and though I have never used one, it seems like they should do the trick.

2 – A weak network signal makes a cellphone work harder, consuming more battery and emitting more radiations

Edit on 19th January 2008,

In my own world of testing and experiences, Sony Ericsson phones seem to have much better signal response in low signal areas that both the dopod 818 pro and the Nokia N80. My brother has the W850i and my wife just got the Z750i and they both seemed to get better reception in our low network coverage residence in Bur Dubai. Hence, for now:

Sony Ericsson > HTC & Nokia

Generic statements for now, but will try to add data as I experience it. Inputs are welcome!

Posted in Cellular, Tech | Leave a Comment »

India next hot spot for Billionaires after America

Posted by abyjain on August 15, 2007

We’ve all read about how the wealthiest in India are setting higher and higher standards everyday. To put it in perspective, as per this report as well in the economic times, there are 36 billionaires in India as per Forbes, and India has the second highest number of billionaires in the world after the United States. The feat is brilliant, considering how huge an economy Japan is. Some doomsayers will say that this exactly is the irony and pain of India, that the rich are super rich… and even a mammoth economy like Japan is better spread, but I’m not one of those. I try to look at the positive side of the story. India has 3 members in the 20 richest in the world as well. Higher than any other country except the US once again. Wow! At least we could call India the land of opportunity now. The big thing about Americans, if you notice in the smallest nuances of their dialogues etc. is that they think everything is so great and so exceptional about their country. Most other citizens are so busy criticizing what is wrong in our systems.

Through all this, one thing that does make me sad is the slow demise of the Birla clan (relatively speaking). I studied in Birla institutes for my schooling as well as my Engineering, and it always made me sad, even in my childhood, as I saw other groups grow and become bigger than the Birlas. The article above in the ET also states that when Forbes actually started the rankings, the Birla’s were the only one on the list with a net worth of almost$2 billion (imagine that in 1987) … but I have to say they did precious little in the wonder years that India has seen since then. What were they thinking? Perhaps that all the hue and cry was for nothing, and that India would continue the way it had in the last 40 years before then?

The thing that confuses me a little – As far as I remember, Slim should be on top of the list!

Posted in Global awareness, India, Money | Leave a Comment »

Incredible India – Government of India takes to youtube for Tourism Promotion

Posted by abyjain on August 14, 2007

πŸ™‚ The good feeling again… when you see the government and its arms do something constructive. I can’t help but think though that there would be a private contractor behind this as well. Imagine… we’re so stuck with inactive/lethargic governance that I refuse to believe someone in the tourism ministry or someplace took the initiative to get this campaign to youtube. Of course, this has been one of the big successes of the government of India in the recent past – the Incredible India campaign.

Of course, being a dutiful Indian, it has to feature on my blog as well. I’m wondering how many people on slow connections would have the patience to watch them…

Dunno how many of them are official videos and how many from other sources… but it’s all good!

Posted in Advertising, Global awareness, India, Videos | 2 Comments »

Dubai Guide, Post #2

Posted by abyjain on August 14, 2007

After my initial post on getting into Dubai… the next issue to tackle would usually be finding accomodation for yourself. Not to deny that at this stage a number of things start happening simultaneously, almost all of which are also counting on your residence visa to be stamped onto your passport… but let’s deal with finding a house and renting it for now.

The first thing to do is get a number of brokers on the job. Points to be noted:

a) Most brokers hardly have time (circa 2007) and are doing you a huge favour

b) Try to know where you would want your house to be, hopefully even the size and the rent you’re willing to pay

c) Have as many of the papers ready as possible, as the broker and property manager want the deal closed yesterday (when you do find something you like)

– Resident visa/permit

– Cheque book for brokerage/deposit/rent

– Letter from your employer (If I remember correctly)

Once you have all these brokers working for you, it is advisable to see at least 3-4 places everyday till you find the best combination for yourself. Many buildings will be family only, and apparently some areas are best left alone. The thing is, Bur Dubai and Marina etc should be the costliest… I know about Bur Dubai (the golden sands area) and it is so as it’s in the heart of Dubai. Whether you wanna go left or right, you’re in a very central place. Of course, if budgets demand it… you can get a cheaper place in Deira.. lesser in Ghusais and then moving in to Sharjah etc. Also, one has the option of going towards international city or away from Bur dubai in the direction opposite to Deira on Sheikh Zayed road along Al Barsha etc… rents should get cheaper as you go farther away. Obviously localities like Jumeirah, Marina, and the upcoming Downtown Dubai have their own spiralling costs and lifestyles.

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Indians can deposit $100,000 in banks abroad-Indians Abroad-The Times of India

Posted by abyjain on August 13, 2007

Indians can deposit $100,000 in banks abroad-Indians Abroad-The Times of India

There is a story here, which commented on how the RBI hd no answer to the rising rupee… well, some people in government definitely do have brains. As per the story in the link above and here, the RBI does have some aces up its sleeve.

As usual… the post of relevance is above…. but this is very big news. Especially for people living in foreign lands who sometimes need money to invest which was till date not allowed under Indian laws. I don’t know if my interpretation is correct, but this measure could do a lot in controlling the value of the rupee cos there are a number of people who would want to invest rupees into dollars into investments outside of the country. Wow! Also, in one stroke it also takes care of a lot of hawala etc. kind of transactions and hence bring more money into the open…. nice move RBI. This is what a strong economy permits us to do…. we can get out of the vicious circles of stifling, killing controls and grey and black-market dealings into a strong and permissive system.

The thing is, for a lot of people, it seemed illogical not to be able to bring money from India when you’re living abroad and need money here. I obviously don’t know the details as of now… but it looks like a good move that regular people like you and me will be able to send a significant amount of money abroad every year and do whatever we see fit with it. Of course, it also takes care of the rupee rise whammy that we were talking about earlier. Hmmm…. things are looking up. I just hope the stock markets also stay up….

Update: I noticed 2 things later …. a) It is for resident Indians (which again means manipulating the system) and b) It has been notified originally since 2004… so why is it in the news now? Some changes?

Posted in Investment, Money | Leave a Comment »

Gulfnews: The common man continues to suffer

Posted by abyjain on August 11, 2007

–> Gulfnews: The common man continues to suffer <– the root cause of this post

There’s a decently written article on the link above on how the “common man” continues to suffer in India after 60 years of independence. Sentences from the said editorial goes like this – “But why should all the sacrifice and suffering be the fate of the common man? He gave his all during the independence movement. What about those who wallow in luxuries in every regime and in every clime?”

My polite submission to the writer is… why are we assuming that the “common man” fought for independence? I’d believe that it was the uncommon and gritful man who fought… and for every other achievement of India/Indians or over the world… it is the uncommon man who does something. The plight of some many in India is such only because they choose to be “common” and carry it on their shoulders like a weapon. It is the common doctor in Indian hospitals who goes on strike because he is not paid enough for (not) working, it is the common hawaldar who asks for a bribe when you have already been robbed… and it is the common minister who makes sure the development of the masses just does not happen.

Of course I agree with a lot of stuff that is written in the article, but the author forgets that the privatisation and other recent evils that he talks about were absent till a decade or two ago. I’m sure India was doing much worse with the so-called Hindu rate of growth then. At least now I see myself moving forward economically and with my standard of living. And of course this is not a one-off statement. Who can deny that there is a sense of well-being and optimism all over the (urban side at least that I know of) country. A lot of things are wrong in the country, and a lot of us, including myself, have done precious little to make it better… but let’s just stop using the “common” platform as a weapon to get everything for free. If education will remain a low priority of the people, and if archaic belief systems that put whole families in debt will not be shed then the farmers that our high commissioner talks about will continue to die.

The “Common man” in India can not do well… he can not be prosperous, and hence can not be happy… at least not in the near future. The reason for that is simple… there are too many common men & women in our country. With the productivity levels that we have, especially on the agriculture side… prosperity is not possible for 1 billion+ common men. If one does not have the courage to be uncommon, then one should not complain… I think. After all… you’re doing as well as the average! And our population pyramid does not permit us to distribute freebies to such numbers. It is NOT, and I would repeat –NOT a crime for an Azim Premji or Sunil Mittal or anyone else to earn as much as they do… we perhaps forget the amount of jobs and careers that they have helped create. These gentlemen are perhaps far more helpful in building the lives of some of the common Indians than any politician who served s@%ewed India… or the ones who established the huge monoliths of public enterprise that not only suck in taxpayer money but also provide electricity or phone services or civic amenities at pathetic levels of competence.

Those who wallow in luxury in every regime and every clime (from the linked article) are precious few, if they exist at all. Everyone, I am sure, has had to fight for what they have sooner or later, whether it was Dhirubhai Ambani or the Birlas or Tatas. Let us not sell them so short and assume that just connections or simple bribery or some magic wand from Diagon Alley made them billionaires and they wallowed in the lap of luxury ever after.

Posted in Corruption, India, Mindsets, Money, Politics, Progress | Leave a Comment »

Jinnah must be rolling in his grave

Posted by abyjain on August 9, 2007

Jinnah must be rolling in his grave

I found a very interesting fact today while reading something totally disconnected with the issue – That Nusli Wadia is the grandson of Jinnah – the founder of Pakistan. Jinnah had only one daughter and she had stayed back during partition and married a Parsi, who later converted to christianity. Nusli Wadia though turned back to being a Parsi… and has had a pretty complicated life with the family, religion, politics and business. The article linked above on a Pakistani newspaper and more pages at Wikipedia and here at The Times of India speak about this affair. At heart is also the Jinnah property in Mumbai worth thousands of crores that Nusli Wadia’s mother is fighting for. This property was not declared “evacuee” property after the partition as the daughter did not go to Pakistan and as a goodwill gesture from Nehru.

History is so interesting.

Posted in History, India, Money, Politics | Leave a Comment »

Making money off the internet

Posted by abyjain on August 7, 2007

Bill Gates Carlos Slim, the mexican billionaire, son of Lebanese immigrants, is now the richest person in the world as per the Forbes magazine. The admission comes close on the heels of the calculations of a noted mexican personality in the recent past.

Even though Slim has made his riches through telecom, banking and many other trades, the internet has been the most prodigious instrument for making money in recent times. On the smallest level, Google adsense seems to be making a number of people quite self sufficient. And of course these avenues have made sure that google itself is one of the richest/most hyped companies in the world. To think, that the internet gave these guys Larry and Sergey so much money to be a part of the richest in the world club is amazing. I was going through some pages on the web which give a guess-timate on how much people can make using google adsense on their own websites and the amount of money involved is not too small.

On the other hand, I have friends who are even today really keen to start an online presence which can help them make money… take for example www.uaemillion.com – to be honest I haven’t understood the business logic behind this site till now but I am not willing to bet against it. The person who has started it, has no dearth of enthusiasm, forget everything else. Sometimes, I feel it is enough to have enthusiasm on your side. The other things will fall into place. I’m also hoping that I get 1% of his company when he goes public for being the first person ever to link to his site… Well, there’s nothing there right now anyway!

So coming to the point… is it possible to have a blog presence that is so highly read that adsense or sponsored ads make you money? I believe it is, but only if you specialise in something. ONLY, if you have knowledge that is a little bit rare or difficult to find in a structured format… AND if you have a format that google likes πŸ˜‰ I think that’s the biggest issue nowadays, like my brother faces with www.hovr.com (his mobile gaming portal)… that google should like you in order for your business to succeed. Man, imagine having so much power. These guys can make or break a company just by twiddling their fingers algorithms.

Posted in Google, Internet, Money | Leave a Comment »

Dirty Minds, A Lot Of Us Have Them at Psychotic Ramblings Of A Mad Man…

Posted by abyjain on August 7, 2007

Dirty Minds, A Lot Of Us Have Them at Psychotic Ramblings Of A Mad Man…

There is a very nice post by the blogger on the link above… about how people stereotype and how men will go to great lengths to talk about characters of women that they hardly know. I’m wishing more people would pass such stories along and stick to their own businesses so that life can be a little less bothersome for many others.

Posted in Mindsets, Someone else's blog | Leave a Comment »