Googling your life style ….

I have always believed that if you are in awe of any technology, then it is probably not worth using it, because in most cases, a technology in “awe” is probably something that you cannot use in everyday life. I may sound a little philosophical when I say this but it is true – technology is only useful when any average person can use it. It should be a part of one’s everyday life. Of course, things do take time to mature before it becomes part of one’s lifestyle. I cannot but talk about Google when I talk about this issue.

I personally believe that if you leave aside Internet, the one “thing” that has really touched my life and made it better is Google and its variety of search tools. Today, if I don’t know about any topic – be it software, hardware, electrical wiring for the house, fertilizer for the plants, gardening tips, car maintenance tips, romance tips 🙂 – I just have to go to Google and type it in and I have never been disappointed. So, what is the advantage of this ? – it just means that I don’t need to maintain those stacks of manuals and data and paper. It is all there somewhere in the Internet and I know Google will do a good job of giving me EXACTLY the data that I want.

The same can be said of the Desktop Search that I have installed. Yes, there are some bugs that Google has found with it. But it has been really so useful for me. It has helped me to retrieve relevant content so easily – more importantly, it also searches within the files of different formats. In other words, if you wanted to know all the emails that have the word “ABC Inc” in it, you just have to search for it and all the emails would come up. Of course, all previous searches on the Internet that you might have done with the words “ABC Inc” will also come up. All this just makes one’s life easy and less cumbersome.

I am inherently not a very organized man – however, I do envy people who are organized and can finds things where they are every time. I always forget where my car keys are, I forget to take out the cell phone from the car after parking it all the time and I seldom remember to lock the door after I come in. Blame it on age 🙂 or not – people like me definitely need Google. No wonder, the stock price of Google is soaring. People say that too much of a good thing is not good – I guess, it does not hold true in this case.

Keep Googling !

A Super Blog ?

This is quite interesting – I got to know that Arianna Huffington, the socialite, political commentator and aspiring politician (she ran for CA’s governor post last year) is planning to start a Super Blog, which will feature postings from some of her celebrity friends. I don’t how useful this is going to be but what I found interesting in this concept was the idea of a “Group Blog” – although Blogger does provide this, I don’t know whether anyone uses this to a large extent.

Another interesting thing is the impact that Blogs are nowadays having on Business. In fact, it has become such a growing phenomenon that Businessweek’s latest edition has Blogs as the cover page topic.

Coming back to Arianna’s Super Blog, here is a really hilarious take on that.

MS Excel – the Manager’s ONLY tool

One important thing that I have learnt in the few courses that I have taken at B-school is that MS-Excel is such a powerful tool. Before joining B-school, I was just restricted to writing Word documents for designs and PPT documents for presentations. Excel was just not required. But the last couple of courses have really opened up the world of Excel to me and boy! – I am really impressed.

From the simplest of computations to finding out an optimal solution for a linear programming model to forecasting future sales, Excel seems to do it all. No wonder, they call it the Manager’s only tool. (I know I know – you will say that there is Word, PPT, Project etc, but let that be for now).

Of course, we are still learning the nitty-grittes of this awesome tool – every day in the class, we learn something new. I guess, that is a good thing !

Till then !

Hunt for the next “Wright” man

John Wright’s tenure is over – if you have missed this event, then I am not surprised. During current times, when some of the cricketers are minting money and the media goes gaga over them, this humble and down-to-earth man was not even given a ceremonious exit. The fact that Indian cricket has progressed over the last few years owes a lot of John Wright and I think, the BCCI could have at least given him a fitting farewell. But then, that is BCCI – after all, what can you say to a body which once famously said, that the “team belongs to the BCCI and not India” ! Anyway, I sincerely wish John Wright all the best in his future endeavours – he truly deserves a standing ovation.

Now, coming to the more serious issue at hand. The cricket season is over (Indians had a pathetic season) and now, there is no coach. The surprising part of all this is that the BCCI has shown absolutely no urgency in appointing a new coach. They have been as lax as possible – I guess, they will do it in the last minute and then blame the coach for the bad performance. What I fail to understand is that the BCCI is such a profitable organization but it is so inefficiently run – obviously, if you have power/money hungry adminstrative officials sitting at the top, cricket will take a backseat.

Curiously enough, lot of other teams are also going through a period flux with the coaches. Here are a few:

Bangladesh : Dav Whatmore’s tenure came to an end and he was contemplating a move to India (of all places). As usual BCCI did not show the urgency and of course, Bangladesh almost doubled Dav’s salary and that was that. He stays on with Bangladesh till the end of the 2007 World Cup.

Sri Lanka : John Dyson’s tenure is over and Sri Lanka is now in the search of a new coach. Although they are actively looking out for a new coach, they are still in the same position as India.

New Zealand : John Bracewell has come under a lot of fire and flak for the poor performance this season – there is talk that someone else might replace him the coming season.

South Africa : Although Ray Jennings is the current coach, his stint comes to an end soon and the front runner for that position is Rod Marsh, the former Aussie wicket keeper.

England : This might come as a surprise but there are speculations that Duncan Fletcher would leave and his job might be taken over by Tom Moody.

India : Greg Chappel, Viv Richards, Tom Moody ? – BCCI, come on and do your bit !

Hopefully, India will get the “Wright” man for job.

Adios !

Back to Earth !

After the initial euphoria of winning back-2-back 1 day internationals against Pakistan, India is now back to earth with a thud. They managed to lose the last 4 1-dayers and with that the series is lost. It might have come as a shock to many who had been hoping for a complete domination by the Indian side. Though I knew Pakistan was a very good 1-day team (see analysis below), the result took me also as a surprise. Let us look at some of the reasons why India fared so badly:

  1. None of the bowlers barring Harbhajan and probably Zaheer Khan could adapt to the pitches and bowl intelligently. I feel that is the irony of the whole situation – if you cannot learn to bowl on your Home pitches, then where will you be able to bowl ? Nehra went constantly over 70 runs in his 10 overs, Balaji looked listless in his bowling, Pathan seemed to have lost his magical touch of taking wickets and Ajit Agarkar was as inconsistent as ever. When will they learn ? – today, there is a not a single quality fast bowler in India – a bowler who can run through a side and that is pretty much shocking !
  2. The form of the Indian batsmen has been a constant source of worry this season. Barring Rahul Dravid and Sehwag, none of the batsmen have been consistent. Sachin showed flashes of his brilliance, Yuvraj showed that he can tonk the ball hard and Kaif showed that he had it in him to be a good batsmen, but the unfortunate part is that they are not consistent. A good innings in 6-7 matches is no good – you have to constantly perform, especially in today’s competitive world where there are so many talented youngsters waiting in the wing.
  3. Ganguly’s horrible run of form – if batsmen mentioned above had a poor season with the bat, Ganguly had a nightmare. In fact, it came down to such an extent that people felt that the ban imposed on Ganguly for 6 matches for the slow over-rate was considered a blessing for all and sundry – himself, the team and the public. He needs to take a break, then start playing with a fresh mind and start hitting those big sixers. Hopefully, he will be back with a bang.
  4. No clear strategy against Pakistan – India seemed to have no strategy against the Pakistan batsmen. Shahid Afridi is a batsman who starts hitting the ball blindly from the 1st delivery and always gives you chances. But time and again, our bowlers would just bowl in the slot waiting to be slaughtered by Afridi. Of course, once Afridi gives you the start, then you don’t need to worry about anything – play with a cool mind and any target then becomes small. Also, the form of the Pakistan batsmen was constantly good – Youhana, Inzi, Razzaq, Shoaib Malik all performed when required.
  5. Enough said about the problems about the Indian team. I think we must also acknowledge the fact that Pakistan looked a better and balanced team in the 1-dayers. They have 3 all-rounders in the team – Afridi, Razzaq and Malik, all of whom can be relied upon to bowl 10 overs and also score some useful runs. On the other hand, India doesn’t even have a single player who can do that. That, I think, was probably what hit India the most. India seriously needs to find 3-dimensional players – read Woolmer’s article on this view.
  6. So, this season ends on a pretty bitter note – they really need to pull up their socks and get their act together. The “Caribbeans in 2007” is not so far from here – we need to get a strong team built up before that.

Cheers !

Tamil New Year blitz

Happy Tamil New Year to you all.

Apart from being the New Year, it also is a boon for the Tamil movie watchers. As has been the norm over the past years, this is the day when the most eagerly awaited Tamil movies are released. This time, the excitement is more than ever with the 2 biggest stars of Tamil cinema, Rajnikanth and Kamal Hassan, both releasing their movies on that day. I guess, this should make the fans really happy.

Rajnikanth is back after a 3 year hiatus after his last failure, Baba. His new movie is called Chandramukhi. Kamal Hassan is releasing a bilungual in Hindi and Tamil called Mumbai Express. I am trying to convince Susmita to go and see the movies in the theater (for obvious reasons, both the stars have released their movies worldwide on the same day as their Indian release) – the fact that the movies have English sub-titles should help in my argument :).

Actually, it is quite interesting to note that most of the people whom I know and who are not from the South of India, prefer to watch Kamal Hassan’s movies than Rajnikanth’s. For example, it is easy to see why Kamal is more popular in the rest of India – he is a superb actor and his performances in movies like Sadma, Sagar etc have just been stupendous. However, it is difficult to describe the impact of Rajnikanth – he is a good actor but he is an even better star ! – his styles and mannerisms have what that have made him such a mega star in the South – his fans never get tired of him – that is why he is aptly named “Thaliyavar” (The Leader) there. However, he still remains a mystery to many of non-South Indian masses. Interesting indeed !

Till then !

Setting up a garden

One very important reason why Susmita wanted a home was that she could have a garden in her backyard with multi-colored flowers and and lots of different type of vegetables ! So, now that we had a house and decently big backyard, the natural extension was to setup a garden. That is what we did over the weekend with a trip to Lowe’s. In the nursery section, my wife just went on a spree – it looked like if given a chance, she could spend the entire day there :). Boy, she really loves plants !

Anyway, the end result of all that was that we got quite a few different types of flowers (roses, marigold, gerbaras etc) and some vegetables (bell pepper, parsley, coriander etc) too along with the pots to plant them in. The whole of Sunday afternoon was pretty much spent with yours truly potting these plants along with the soil. We are also planning to hire a professional gardner to set up a soil bed so that we can plant more plants there. Also, we want do some more landscaping to the backyard.

For now, most of the plants are doing good and my wife seems to be happy. Touche!