June 30, 2005

Adelaide Festival of Ideas


(Pic: Screenshot of www.adelaidefestivalofideas.com.au)

I am looking forward to the upcoming Adelaide Festival of Ideas, where emininent speakers talk about their dreams and ideas for the public (this year's theme "What has to be done?") which is open for debate. The sessions include a wide array of topics. All daytime sessions are free-of-charge, where as evening special sessions are charged at $15 minimum.

Some of the topics, which I am going to attend are (All are free!):

  • Crisis as Opportunity: Nature’s Solutions as the Key to our Future
  • The University of Google:Speed searching and the killing of knowledge
  • Einstein’s Big Year Out
  • Brain Drain or Intellectual Traffic
  • Information:The Soul and the Embryo (Parallel Session with the topic below, so, I have to choose one!)
  • Shaping a Sustainable Future:What you can do now
  • The Global Warming Debate: Good Science or Bad Politics?
This is a very interesting and thought provoking concept. It has been celebrated in Queensland as well. Another festival, which celebrates Visual Arts, Music and Dance, usually lasts for four weeks is Sydney Festival

June 28, 2005

Five Tips from Andrew Carnegie



1. Invest in Yourself.

2. Master your Mood.

3. Public speaking is just speaking.

4. Enlarge your Friend's Circle.

5. Seek Knowledge and Value, not Money alone.

If you can more about Andrew Carnegie here.

June 26, 2005

Research@Yahoo Labs


(Pic. courtesy:Yahoo Inc.,)

I came across the web page of Yahoo! Research Labs

Of all the innovations that are being tested, Yahoo Mindset stands apart.

It is a simple search engine, whose results can be adjusted according to our purpose of the search. Commercial or Research. You can slide the bar towards shopping or researching!

Try some of the next Yahoo things like Fare chase, Movie Recommendations, Gift finder

Innovations at work!

June 25, 2005

Plunge into Blue Ocean!


(Pic. Courtesy: http://www.blueoceanstrategy.com)

Who thought that e-mail will be the communication tool of the future?

Who thought that a search box would lead a multi-billion dollar industry?

It is very astonishing. We stop and wonder how did these guys figure out the future. We astonish where the market was for such tools just four years back? Looking back, no one would have played with the idea of Hotmail or Google!

That is what the blue ocean strategy talks about.Kim & Mauborgne talks in their book about two kind of oceans (markets). The red ocean is the existing market - you have to sweat it out to beat your competitors. The blue ocean is the future market - where you would create the demand, create the market, form your own rules and establish your own kingdom. For Example, Google!

The only catch is you need to create a blue ocean which expands day-by-day. Once, you figure it out, You will be the King! More here...


June 24, 2005

Big Brother Cut or Uncut?


(Pic and parts of text courtesy)

The viewership for Channel Ten increased manifold in the past weeks. Media and the citizens are making hue and cry about their children's future(?!!).

Reason: A reality show named "Big Brother:Uncut".

Though I never watched a full episode, I read from newspapers that, Big Brother is like the movie 'Truman show'!. A group of young men and women, wearing radio microphones, are locked in a 'house', with video cameras on them 24 hours a day. There are even video cameras in the toilets. Audiences tune in to watch the 'house mates' eat, sleep, chat, argue, and shower. (Something ) The 'house mates' are also given tasks, which vary from the mundane to party games to spice things up. Who would possibly want to do this? I was amazed to find that Series Three had over 30,000 applicants wanting to be 'house mates'.

Australian censorship laws govern what can and can't be shown on Australian television, so the live shows are broadcast with a 30 second delay. All unacceptable nudity, slander, sexual and/or racial comments are cut out. However, there's been no cut in the episodes of Big Brother:Uncut. That's the why all the fuss is about.

Personally, I never agree a television show's success if it can't be watched with all the members of the family. But, it is strange that when Aussie parents (who never care about their children - do NO supervision of their kids!) condemn this show!!

The producers of the Big Brother have apologised for the 'inconvenience to the parents', Channel Ten says, 'the show will go on!"

June 23, 2005

Do you have Friends?



You must have right friends at the right place ;-)

regards,
Thiru

June 22, 2005

Microsoft vs. Adobe?



This time, it seems Microsoft is taking on Adobe - the professional media giant, with new beta versions of Microsft Acrylic (codename) for image editing /designing software, and another one named Metro equivalent of Adobe PDF document format.

Though, I wanted to touch and feel Acrylic, it gave me an error saying I need Windows XP for installing it. When I went through the discussion forum (I found some very good works), it seems Acrylic is in very nascent stage and it is premature to compare with full suite of Photoshop or Illustrator.

As far as, the new file format plus documenting, Metro we may have to wait till the next release of office suite Office 21 or Longhorn.

Wait, wait and Watch, watch!

June 20, 2005

Personalize or Perish!



Personalize your products for your customers..or else get perished. If you dont believe me, just Google for Mass Customisation.

Be it KFC Meal or Software or your Jeans or for that matter a Cartoon! Customize, Make your customers not only happy, but elevate them to an state of ecstasy! Show them, your firm is making things for each one of them.

Certainly, I would be happy if my shirt fits exactly to me with the designs what I want. Certainly, I don't need my Start button in the lower left corner of my screen..

No, I am not a rebel to stand out in the crowd. I am unique and my desires, wishes are unique. I have the right to remain the way I want.

It's also not a laughing stock..Think of 'Personalized Medicine'.. Your medicine will be made to suit your body and health conditions.

Generalization is for insects..Personalize..!

What's wrong?



I thought I would skip the Bangladesh match thinking it would be a walk-over for Australia. How wrong I was. I told my room-mate (Research Room) that 'See you on Monday with two Australian wins..hopefully!"

Seeing Australia in the middle ..I could not believe my eyes..They exhibited no dominance in the field..whether it is batting or bowling..It happens for everyone..and for all the reasons.. the Australian media is tearing Ricky Ponting and his teammates complacency. The people whom I met showed no interest towards the 20-20 defeat, but the Bangladesh victory came as a shocker. And also, the personal stories of Shane Warne and Andrew Symonds made to the front pages. My PhD Australian mate told, 'something terribly wrong with the guys..!" shaking his heads!

I still believe that these results wont affect the outcome of the Ashes series. I would bet on Ricky!

Mmm..Everything which goes up..must come down or what?

regards,
Thiru

American Beauty:Look Closer


(Pic courtesy: Cinemark.com)

I like watching American Beauty which is based on the novel 'Look Closer' by Alan Ball

The amusing part is the last words of the main character, Leister at the end of the movie!

Lester: (voice over)


"I had always heard your entire life flashes in front of your eyes the second before you die.

First of all, that one second isn't a second at all, it stretches forever, like an ocean of time....for me, it was lying on my back at Boy Scout Camp, watching falling stars...and yellow leaves, from the maple trees that lined our street...

Or my grandmother's hands, and the way her skin seemed like paper...and the first time I saw my cousin Tony's brand new Firebird.

And Janie...and Janie. (twice we see his memories of Jane, the second when she was younger, dressed as a princess) And...(with love) Carolyn. (we see a younger happier Carolyn shrieking happily in a carnival ride; we've seen a photo from this long-ago family activity before -- he was looking at one right before his death)

I guess I could be really pissed off about what happened to me...but it's hard to stay mad, when there's so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once, and it's too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst...and then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain.

And I can't feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life...(amused) You have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm sure. But don't worry...(cut to black)

You will someday."

June 17, 2005

Irritating Humour

A couple of friends are in a bar late one night and are drunk. They start arguing. One claims that irritation, frustration and exasperation are all the same. The other says they aren't. Finally, the second one says he'll demonstrate with an example.

He dials a number and asks for Ramu, the person says grumpily 'There is no one called Ramu here and this is a hell of a time to dial the wrong number' and hangs up. This,the man tells his friend "that was irritation". He dials the number again and asks for Ramu a second time, the person on the other side screams at him about making crank calls and bangs the phone down. "This was frustration", he tells his friend.


"Now, I'll demonstrate exasperation"....he dials the same number again and says "Hello, this is Ramu, have there been any calls for me today?"

Where will you look?

Google plans to use trucks equipped with lasers
and digital photographic equipment to create a
realistic 3D online version of San Francisco, and eventually
other major US cities. The trucks would drive along
every San Francisco street using the lasers to measure
the dimensions of buildings, to create a 3D framework
onto which digital photos can be mapped.
 

 The move would trump Amazon'sA9 service with its
"Block View" technology offers two-dimensional photos
of buildings on US city streets. 

Meanwhile, MSN Earth is planning to offer Oblique Aerial photos
in association with Pictometry. This
feature allows people to take a look at the face of
the buildings which is most familiar rather than
'unfamiliar' aerial view.
 
Delivering Maps, as you like it!

regards,
Thiru
 

June 16, 2005

Wedding Window

Anand weds Preethi..I dont know them. But, I liked their idea of having a web page for their wedding.

http://www.arvindwedspreethi.com

You can see more interesting things about the groom and bride!

It is really a good, fascinating idea you can see more of these kind of pages on
http://demo.weddingwindow.com

It also updates you with news, photos, videos for
those who could not attend the wedding in person.

So, Who's Next?

regards,
Thiru

Think of Indian Children


"When we were young kids growing up in America,
we were told to eat our vegetables at dinner and not leave them.

Mothers said, 'Think of the starving children in India and finish the dinner.'

And now I tell my children: 'Finish your maths homework.
Think of the children in India 
who would make you starve, if you don't.'"

Speech by Thomas Friedman of
The New York Times....

Special Thanks:Shravan

June 14, 2005

Philippines friends


On any given Sunday, you could spot me in the market purchasing lots of fruits (as much as I can carry!) and vegetables.

One such day, I was waiting for the bus. There were a group of women who were talking in some language, asked me how much is the oranges (I usually buy 10 kg bag, it costs very cheap – I use it for 2 weeks). I told them 4 dollars.

One woman showed me different kind of fruit and said she paid 2 dollar for 1 kilo. I said my 'buy more, save more' logic. Another woman asked me if I could exchange one orange with that fruit. I gave them oranges and said 'no' to the fruit what they had (it is another kind of citrus fruit, they had). They told 'oh, you are nice, we become friends etc'.

Later, they told they are teachers from Philippines and visiting Adelaide for an exchange-training program. They took some group photos with me. Thus, I got some friends from Philippines (they e-mailed me after reaching there). They teach me Philipino language. So, next time when we go Philipines, we need not worry about accommodation.

By the way, do you how to say Thank you in Philipino? "Salamat"

June 12, 2005

Good, Clean and Green Future!


Here's another good webpage!

http://www.worldchanging.com/

Ways to a Good, Clean and Green Future!

regards,
Thiru



Reading Web Tea Leaves

BM recently launched WebFountain, an ambitious commercial service that mines valuable information from about half of the web's content, including informal communication from weblogs, newsgroups, and chat rooms.

IBM's supercomputer can process about 14,000 web pages per second. The system reads each page, extracts its content, then automatically annotates the material. The tagged pages, often many times the length of the originals, go into a huge data storage array. About 3 billion pages are already in the system.

All this painstakingly labeled information is then available to anyone interested in looking for trends or other valuable insights into what's going on. Users can deploy various software tools, including their own, to analyze the data and dig out relevant patterns and relationships.

[Source: Science News]



Voluntary Student Unionism


The debate is still going on. The subject is 'student unions should be compulsory or not'. Now, students pay a little amount of their fees to student union (whether they use a service or not!).

Student unions offer certain kind of services to the students in need. Student unions are more powerful; sometimes they get into a legal battle against the University itself for students rights.

The John Howard's government is proposing a system of 'User Pays' – arguing student unions should not be compulsory (a student may pay to use some service). Students may be happy in the short run. But, without a compulsory service fee, a student union would not exist in the first place. There were nationwide debates; protests and opinion polls are going on.

Last week, our university opinion poll results were released in which 85% of the students supported compulsory student union fee (they are ready to pay a small fee in order to get some big help from the student unions!).

Let us see what happens (John Howard's party enjoys the majority in the parliament!). 

June 11, 2005

Everything happens for a good reason!

Some truths of life …. Somewhere we all have experience this during our Tenure

Sometimes people come into your life and you know right away that they were meant to be there...to serve some sort of purpose, teach you a lesson or help figure out who you are or who you want to become. You never know who these people may be but you lock eyes with them, you know that very moment that they will affect your life in some profound way.

And sometimes things happen to you at the time that may seem horrible, painful and unfair, but in reflection you realize that without overcoming those obstacles you would never realize your potential, strength, will power or heart.

Everything happens for a reason. Nothing happens by chance or by means of luck. Illness, love, lost moments of true greatness and sheer stupidity all occur to test limits of your soul.

Without these small tests, life would be like a smoothly paved, straight, flat road to nowhere safe and comfortable but dull and utterly pointless.

The people you meet affect your life. The successes and downfalls that you experience can create whom you are, and the bad experiences can be learned from. In fact they are probably the most poignant and important ones. If someone hurts you, betrays you or breaks your heart, forgive them because they have helped you learn about trust and the importance of being cautious to whom you open your heart.

If someone loves you, love them back unconditionally, not only because they love you, but also because they are teaching you to love and open your heart and eyes to little things. Make every day count. Appreciate everything that you possibly can, for you may never experience it again.

Talk to people whom you have never talked to before, and actually listen. Let yourself fall in love, break free and set your sights high. Hold you head up because you have every right to.

Tell yourself you are a great individual and believe in yourself, for if you don't believe in yourself, no one else will believe in you. Create you own life and then go out and live it.

Share this with anyone whom you believe has made a difference in your life!
"If you take your eyes off your goals, all you see is obstacles."

Thanks to: Aparna Kumar-JB

Watching a Movie:Aussie style

Australians like to go outdoors. So, watching movie is not in their list of past time activities. Yet, there are lot of theatres in Adelaide.

There is a multiplex called 'Greater Union' where even Hindi movies (Now, Amitabh's Waqt) get released. They run for daily 2 shows for more than a week.

On Tuesdays, the movie tickets are reduced half. So, instead of 10 dollars you need to pay 5 dollars only.

I have not been to a regular movie yet (except the special Chandramukhi). I would like to see 'War of the World', obviously on a Tuesday.

Mostly, the US top 10 movies run good in Australia too. Same like India, most of the UK top 10 movies never get released here.

The recent Australian thriller has done good business all over the world is the film "SAW". Two men wake up in a windowless bathroom. They share it with the corpse of a man holding a gun. The men, each equipped with a saw, are at the mercy of the moralistic jigsaw killer. They have 8 hours for one to kill the other or both will die.

June 10, 2005

My Glenelg Trip

'After 60 years of continuous service, Trams are going to take a short rest' – thus told newspaper advertisements. Trams connect between the city of Adelaide and a place named Glenelg (pronounced as 'lenel' – and see it is a palyndrome!). Glenelg is the place where first British settlers of South Australia set their feet in 1836. This is the place from which they proclaimed the state of south Australia. Since, the old trams are going to be stopped and will be replaced super fast, modern light rails, I decided to travel in the historic trams I went on tram and spent some time on white sandy beach collecting some pebbles and shells (couldn't resist!). Only mild, small waves in the greenish blue sea. Then, I went to a museum where I learnt some history and some interesting facts (The land for establishing the first city costed just 60 pounds!). I wanted to see the place from where the proclamation of South Australia was read. It was near unique, arch-shaped gum tree (fondly referred as 'Foundation Tree '), which is still preserved. Another observation, which I made, is many of the old people were standing on the way and taking pictures of this old tram (since, it may not run again!).

June 8, 2005

Corby's Story

It is hard to miss these kind of headlines. I completely missed it until the judgement came ["20 YEARS IN HELL"]. I am talking about Schapelle Corby (Did I spell it right?), who had twenty-year jail sentence for allegedly importing Marijuana into Indonesia. As any crime story, no one knows the truth. You happily board a plane from Australia to spend holidays at home. The cops at the airport claim 4.1 Kg of drug from your luggage bags (Not in the cabin bag which you will carry). I would faint. Is she really guilty? Has someone planted the drugs in her bags? If so, who? Is the trial was fairly conducted? If she is guilty, why she has not got death sentence (as per Indonesian laws) and many more questions remain unanswered. Now, there is another allegation about some of the baggage handlers in Australian domestic airports that they do drug smuggling using passengers bags. That was one 'mistake', which went to Bali. Australian Government already initiated a secret enquiry.

There is only one way a passenger can be proven not guilty. During check-in, their bags are scanned. The scanned images could be recorded along with some identification (passport). In case of any inconsistency at the destination airport, this could be cross-verified. (A reader provided this idea in 'Letters to Editor' column).  One thing is sure, Australians will not prefer holidaying in Indonesia in the near future.

June 5, 2005

What is meant by Tautology?

Tautology. Certainly I had no clue about this word, when my supervisor wrote this on my draft research proposal document. Apart from the many silly grammatical errors (He often says, 'Don't worry, it would take a while to come out of Indian English!'), I had to understand these kind of high-end jargons to understand the corrections in the document.

Ok, when I googled and looked up in wikipedia, it said, tautology means redundant representation with superfluous words. He had marked this when I had written "a brief summary". A summary itself is a brief account, don't you agree?

Mmm.. day by day, we learn!



June 4, 2005

I love cooking

This post may surprise lot of fellow male bachelors. But, my friends know this well!!
I love cooking, because I love eating (not quantity) a variety of food.

The experiment of cooking started when I was staying in Bangalore.
Frustrated with the food stuff served in some of the hotels,
I thrown a challenge, 'At least , I can cook better than this!".

We started cooking, thankful for the other 5 guys who were guinea pigs
on whom I tested my cooking skills and learnt. 
(Don't worry about them, they are all alive and doing very well!)

We used to say whenever some new friends visit, 'You name it, We cook it" is not our motto.
Ours is 'We cook it, then We name it!'
(Most of the time, we started cooking for something..
ended up 'discovering??!!' an entirely a new food stuff!!)

Cooking is an art, it needs practice!
It takes a few trials before you hit the right mix! Then, whatever you cook, will be a good dish!
Cooking needs your full attention. (That's why woman are good at it?)
A momentary laps of concentration leave you with food which
you can't even smell (forget about eating)!

It gives satisfaction and joy, if I cook my own food and eat.

By the way, the world's best chefs are only males, aren't they?

Thiru
pthirumurugan@gmail.com
(After long time, a personal blog!)

June 3, 2005

Ten Worst Corporations of 2004

Mutlinational Monitor is an international watchdog magazine - which monitors what the MNCs are doing in the dark.

So, it listed 10 worst corporations of 2004 and reasons also! Makes it a good read!

In the campaign "Killer Coke.org" against the Coca Cola firm, not strangely our Indian agitation (This is the recent one, allegedly the Coke firm, near Waranasi, misuses the groundwater leaving the surrounding wells dry!) has also caught my attention. And only Columbia and India are prominent in the 'Anti-Coke' campaign!!

Against this killercoke.org, Coca Cola, itself has come up with another website http://cokekills.org/ which redirects you to http://www.cokefacts.org/ telling all the 'good things' the MNC is doing and answers some questions. You will find here, another Indian story about this firm establishing State-of-the-Art Rainwater Harvesting Facilities in Kerala!

What do you say? Coke or Nope?


June 2, 2005

Travelling to Kandahar!

Yesterday, I watched Kandahar an Iranian movie which is shot in Iran-Afghanistan border.

You will almost forget that it is film, it is like you visit those places and see for yourself about the toughest living conditions.

Shot on the border of Iran and Afghanistan, Kandahar is a politically urgent story of a young female journalist named Nafas who escaped Afghanistan with her family but must return and race against time in an attempt to rescue her sister. The sister, maimed by an exploded landmine and distraught over the constant persecution simply for being a woman, has written to Nafas vowing that she will commit suicide by the next solar eclipse. Nafas must disguise herself as an Afghan wife by wearing the traditional head-to-toe covering of the burka in order to find her sister in the Taliban-controlled city of Kandahar.

The film is inspired by the real-life experience of actress Nelofer Pazira, who plays Nafas. In 1989, she fled her homeland of Afghanistan and later received a similar letter not from a sister, but from a long-time friend who wanted to end her life.

The director of Gabbeh and writer of The Day I Became A Woman, Mohsen Makhmalbaf is one of the masters of Iranian cinema

We would join with her in the journey, seeing how the people's lives are, landmines on the desert, the teaching (I still recall a scene where a 5 year old boy raises the rifle and tells how to operate!), the women's lives behind the curtain..

Deeply moving film!! It is all real things! Watch it to believe it.
Thiru

pthirumurugan@gmail.com


June 1, 2005

Wanna Debate?

Should mankind invest in the exploration of space?

Should human cloning be banned ?

Should reproductive human cloning always be prohibited?

Like these and many more debates are happening..

If you love those kind of debates, expressing your views on global issues,
you must visit http://www.debatabase.org/

The Debatabase, the world's most useful resource for student debaters. Inside you will find arguments for and against hundreds of debating topics, written by expert debaters, judges and coaches.

Enjoy debating,
Thiru