December 29, 2009

New Year Resolutions and me

I guess it's time to make some resolutions for the year 2010. Should I really do this? what I asked myself. Quiet contradictory to my belief, the answer of was -

People give their 100% when they put their skin in the game. Commit to the world on what you plan to do. That's like putting your skin (ego) in the game, and you would strive hard to keep up your commitments. You would never want to lose to your ego....would you?

Sometimes I've wondered "Isn't it good enough if I'm truthful to my conscience?" But only later did I always realize that the conscience' guilt can always be convinced. I can always tell my conscience "Ah Ah...I did not do it and I understand it is not right. I will do it tomorrow" and he will get pretty complacent.
It's sometimes good to catch the tiger by its tail - It Makes You Run!

And now, let me come back to My New Year Resolutions. Here is how they go - Really short list to begin with -
  1. Run at least 35kms a week
  2. Realize my Biggest dream
  3. Quit the rat race. Join the real race
  4. Cross-train with the 18 gear cycle I bought two years back
  5. Get back into regular blogging - I've almost missed this for a good year now.
Wow...I've got 5 points on my New Year Resolution list! I know two of them are a little unclear - I assure you clarity very soon!

Stay Tuned, and wish you all a Happy New Year!

November 29, 2009

Snake Robots

Yes, you read it right - It's about Snake Robots.

Howie Choset is an associate professor and the director of the BioRobotics Lab at Carnegie Mellon University. For more such interesting news and videos on Robots, go here.

For my readers who are viewing this by email, do visit my blog link as this is a video

3D Models from WebCams

Here is something really interesting - A software that builds a 3D model of an object as you rotate that object in front of a webcam!

Check out ProFORMA from University of Cambridge's Engineering Department.

For my readers who are viewing this by email, do visit my blog link as this is a video.

November 24, 2009

How to Keep Sales Strong in a Tough Economy

Here is a video from All Business, on How to Keep Sales Strong in a Tough Economy

For my readers who are viewing this by email, do visit my blog link as this is a video.

How Do You Shift to a Sales 2.0 Culture?

Here is a video from All Business, on How Do You Shift to a Sales 2.0 Culture?

For my readers who are viewing this by email, do visit my blog link as this is a video.

Partnerships, Incorporation, and Employee Stock Plans

Here is a video from All Business, on Partnerships, Incorporation, and Employee Stock Plans.

For my readers who are viewing this by email, do visit my blog link as this is a video.

The Secrets of Growing a Successful Business

Here is a video from All Business, on the Secrets of Growing a Successful Business.

For my readers who are viewing this by email, do visit my blog link as this is a YouTube video.

How to Cut Through the Hype

Here is a video from All Business, on how to cut through the hype.

For my readers who are viewing this by email, do visit my blog link as this is a video.

Plug Innovation - Unplugged!

I recently bumped into this cool innovation - World's Thinnest and Flattest Plug!

Though designed for UK Standards, this is well extensible to other worldwide standards. I'm loving it!

For my readers who are viewing this by email, do visit my blog link as this is a YouTube video.

October 29, 2009

IBM Global Truck Study - Insighful One..

10,000 hybrid trucks would reduce diesel fuel use by 7.2 million gallons per year

In an attempt to help the world turn Greener and help Truck Manufacturers transform their businesses, this study revealed three stunning findings as external forces to the Truck industry -
  1. Technology - 71% of respondents feel so. Telematics will play a key role here.
  2. Globalization - 54% of the executives feel so. This once happened to the light vehicle manufacturing industry - It's going to be a tough battle!
  3. Sustainability - 48% of respondents feel so. With environmental and human safety regulatory bodies working hard to to bring in safety norms, this is going to be an area for the Truck industry to seriously look at.

A total of 91 executives across 13 countries were interviewed to complete this study. More information can be sought here.

October 22, 2009

Human Habits - A Survey

Dear Readers,

Here is a request to you - Need Your help in completing this very small survey on Human Habits. It will be great if you could complete the 12 questions in the survey and also forward this link to your friends and Tweet this article!

Here is a link to the survey -

Thanks and I really appreciate your help here!

Identifying Hidden Talents

Here is an interesting read I came across on Harvard Business. Pasting it below as I may want to revisit this article sometime in the future..

In today's economy, finding external talent to fill your company's needs isn't always possible. Nor is it always necessary. By paying attention and asking the right questions, you will likely discover myriad hidden talents among your existing employees:

  1. Turn a compliment into an interview. When congratulating an employee on a job well done, ask exactly what helped her succeed. By better understanding her process, you may uncover an unseen strength.
  2. Ask why employees prefer certain tasks or projects. Preferences can be a view into someone's talents. An employee might enjoy a project because it involves a product she cares about or because it gave her a chance to design surveys. Knowing which will possibly uncover talents.
  3. Inquire about dreams. Ask your employees what they would do if they had their career to do over again. Peoples' dreams often include an aspect of themselves they don't regularly share.

October 05, 2009

Cloud Computing - Ubuntu Linux - IBM

Cloud Computing has been such a hot topic in the market today. Open Source software has been a major role player in today's technology world that is steadily marching towards a more standards-based model. And, Linux has (for long) been a strong contender to bring in open source into the users' personal computers.

IBM's Smart and timely move could very well be one of the first major steps in the creation of a truly open personal computer platform. On the 23rd of September, IBM announced the partnership with Canonical and other Partners to offer Cloud and Linux-based Netbook Software in Africa.

More on my thoughts on this move, and the potential of this partnership would come later. But for now, here is the video where Mark Shuttleworth, Founder, Canonical, shares his thoughts on this partnership.

Here is a link to the official Press release by IBM.

October 03, 2009

Back after a Six Month Holiday..

It's been six months since I last updated my web log, and a lot has changed since then....except the Chennai heat! I was a bachelor six months ago and now a happily married guy. My Geni family tree has grown two-fold since what it was six months ago...thanks to my wife! My blog subscribers have grown by 1/3rd without any active posts :-) (and received a lot of comments on some of my older postings). The Chandraayan-1 moon mission ended prematurely (though claimed to have completed it's primary mission).

There are a bunch of other changes that the world has seen in these six months. More importantly, the world seems to have gotten slightly better on the economic front and 'started' to head-out of one of the worst hit recessions of these times.

About these and more other interesting happenings that we are blessed to witness in the months to come, I'm looking forward to being active on my virtual space now on. See you soon with something to chew upon...

April 10, 2009

Technology & Infrastructure - Creating a "better" tomorrow?

From the stone age till date, man has made steady progress in the fields of science & technology. The invention of the wheel, numbers, aircraft, etc have played a big role in evolving mankind from what it was to what it is today. But, have we ever paused a single time and taken a glance back into the road we've walked? Have we asked the Whats, Whys, Wheres and Hows on whatever progress we've made? Still wondering what I'm trying to say? Read on...

Planet Earth is a part of the Solar System, and has taken thousands and millions of years to become what it is today. From a hot mass of burning matter, the planet has slowly cooled outwards-in. The formation of water and land bodies have been purely governed by the changes Earth has been subjected to. The influencing factors like the gravitational pull of the Sun, moon and other bodies in the Solar System have been some of the noticeable external stimuli due to which we see Earth the way it is - 2/3's of water and 1/3's of land.

The movement of the seismic plates below the surface of the Earth has taken the planet through different stages; from the Ice Age to the age of Information and Technology. As we learnt in Physics, there is a Newton's law that states that "An object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force". This applies well to our planet too. In the many years of mankind, apart from the external forces from the Solar System, our planet has increasingly seen yet another force - Force created by us Homo Sapiens.

Due to the technological advancements in the field of Civil Engineering, man built bridges and flyovers. Man has achieved extreme advancements in this field, that the world also saw the reclamation of land from natural water bodies (viz., seas, oceans and rivers) to create more land for human habitat. As a matter of fact, a good part of Mumbai (in Maharashtra, India) was claimed from the Arabian Sea. So is the Palm Jumeirah.
Due to natural equilibrium, the Earth has naturally been occupied by water for more than 2/3's it's surface area. As the first example, just imagine a pot of water that is filled to its brim. What will happen when you drop a stone into it? The water starts to overflow! This is precisely what we are forcing by claiming land from the natural water bodies!

Here is another example to explain another harsh action of mankind - Just imagine a pot filled with water till the brim and a piece of paper floating on the water surface. What will happen if you place a stone on top of this piece of paper? The paper sinks! This is what mankind is doing by building enormous buildings, skyscrapers, bridges and flyovers!

If we can treat the land (1/3rd of earth's surface) as a physical structure for a moment, we should also understand that this physical structure is also subjected to stresses and strains. Any physical structure has a point of failure / breakage. Applying strain above a certain limit is going to drive the physical structure (land) towards the point of breakage!

Having said that, here is my next question - "Can we make this better? Can we give Earth and mankind a little more time to exist? If so, How?" Here are my thoughts on how we can give ourselves and the generations to follow, a better and safer planet from an infrastructure perspective -
  1. Reduce the number of tall skyscrapers - Build smaller structures and use more of the earth's surface to build structures. Start building satellite towns and start expanding away from main cities
  2. Stop reclaming land from natural water bodies - Use what is available! Did you know that a very large part of Australia is uninhabited? Did you know that vast areas of land in India and China are uninhabited? This is the case in most countries!
  3. Stop breaking mountains to create artificial structures (viz., man-made caves, rivers, etc)
  4. Stop mass deforestation! There enough land available to build homes and offices - Let's leave the jungles to the flora and fauna
  5. Stop building dams to obstruct the natural flow of water....unless or until its absolutely essential
All of this cannot be done without YOU. I urge you to THINK and ACT on it. If you can do your one bit towards this, I'm sure the generations to come will be more grateful to you than ever. Did you have more and better suggestions? Do let me (and the world) know!

Let us make the world a better and safer place to live. Peace..

March 24, 2009

Off Technology, People and Governance - Reckon a Change!

With a world that's fast changing, it's inevitable that one may have to do and undo things in an attempt to betterment. Today's world has seen lot more diversity than it was about a decade or two ago. With the technology making news every hour, every minute and every second, it is getting tougher to think of a world sans this wonder invention of mankind - Technology.

With the citizens of the world and the businesses across every street taking advantage of the technology wave, the world has definitely started to look better. From the age of the pin-hole camera to the age of the Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) televisions, mankind has gotten to see the world with an increasing touch of reality. From the days of Morse code to the day of the broadband internet and the T1/2/3 lines, mankind has gotten to know happenings across the globe in near-real time.

So, here comes my question - How have these inventions changed You and Your society? As I type this on my laptop, I do realize that in less than 5minutes from now, there are going to be a good number of readers across the globe reading my writing and commenting on the same. Such is the speed of communication. Technology and mankind have shared a very interesting relationship - A Love-Hate Relationship. Interesting? Read on...

When Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, the whole world applauded and patronized the invention. Soon, telephones became a common product in every household. When the Global Positioning System (GPS) was invented, the world loved it and it soon became a common feature in most cars and homes. Countries laid down laws that took into account the different types of communication, technology, etc.

With the growth and evolution of technology, the world has become more closely tied to technology today than ever before. This calls for a basic understanding from the citizens of the world that we will need to start looking at technology as one of the key constituents of social and community life too.

For example, Google's Street View service has provoked a lot of citizens on the privacy front. When this first cropped up in August 2008, I thought it was handled appropriately. But then, I saw this happening again just a few days back. Has there been a real solution to this problem? While democracies have always stressed on freedom of speech, freedom of action, etc, it's also important to respect people's privacy.

How can these things be handled? The governments of the world need to revisit their constitution and amend some of these privacy related statements and clauses. It's also important for the governments to have a constant update on the technology progress and accordingly make amendments to the countries' laws to eventually help mankind enjoy the luxuries of technology while getting to have their share of privacy.

March 10, 2009

Blogrolling is back - Simple and Smart is the key..

I've been waiting to see Blogrolling back in action for quiet sometime now....and it's really nice to see them back. They seemed to have done a migration to a newer technology platform, and it definitely shows up after logging in. One thing I've observed though is that it has become a little slower than the previous version. Nevertheless, I'm happy that they are back!

So, what's in Blogrolling? It's as simple as a link manger. Call it a roster or a list of favorite links, it's just that. Sometimes simpler things are more addictive! Like how many of us have got influenced by Google's search engine, I've somehow always liked simpler manifestations of technology.

Let's hope to see more simpler and smarter manifestations of the technology monster.

March 04, 2009

Deepam - The Brighter Side of Indian Education

I've been observing this very small organization called Deepam for quiet sometime now. This is an organization that wants to "give back" something to the society. They have been doing some commendable work in the recent past that has attracted my attention in more than one instance of time.

It all started with two urban citizens sharing a common goal - Create a Brighter India. The two people are - Ram Viswanathan, who is a technocrat with one the world's biggest IT companies...the Big Blue, and Karthikeyan Vijayakymar, who is an entrepreneur with a strong passion to change the world. I'm proud to have been associated with the two as a friend in more than one way.

Well, let me not get into the past, and give you the opportunity to know more about what Deepam is all about and what's been cooking under the Deepam tree. Do visit to know more.

The National Knowledge Commission has been running a contest, and our friends at Deepam have posted an essay and video. The essay and film talks about how Deepam is solving some of the problems in Indian Education System. I strongly urge you to visit the following links and vote/rate these content and help Deepam in supporting a cause.

Please vote / rate the essay here ( please create a login for knowledge portal )
Please View / Rate the video here ( to rate, please sign-in to youtube )

All your votes and ratings will push Deepam one step closer to the prize, which in turn will help this organization get the necessary support to give better education to the Young and Growing India! Also, don't forget to spread the word!

February 14, 2009

My Blog Feeds Moved - Nothing much changes though!

I've been loving Feedburner ever since I started to use it. I started to use Feedburner after Google acquired the company in June 2007 for an estimated $100m. Needless to say, the Google+Feedburner combination has always interested me from both performance and feature set perspectives.

However, even though the acquisition had taken place two years back, there has been no migration of feeds to a Google platform till the recent past. Recently Google started to move Feedburner feeds to its own platform, and I've got a lot of reminders to move my feeds too. Finally, after several reminders, I just finished moving my blog feeds from Feedburner to Google.

The reason for not moving thus far has been for the very reason of not wanting to move and risk losing some valuable subscribers. But I'm sure Google has worked out things well...and the transition seems to happened very smoothly.


Should you have trouble receiving my posts, I request you to wait for a week's time. Should you still not receive updates, do drop me a note!

My feeds link has changed from to The "feeds2" is the only change. Still, the old link should be redirecting you to my new link. You can still continue subscribe to my posts by email through the "Subscribe via Email" links on my blog or by visiting


To all who've been struck by the Cupid, Wish you a Happy Valentines Day!! To all who've spent the night staring at your UNIX screens, Wish you a Happy 1234567890 Day!! Have a fun-filled weekend and Stay Inspired!

February 13, 2009

Running in Chennai - When, What, Where, How?

Many people have asked me about running in the city of Chennai, and I've tried to give them the right information. In this article, I thought of putting down my thoughts on this subject - I hope it will be useful for many in the days to come.


Firstly, I'd like to give a little information about the city of Chennai. Chennai is located in the state of Tamilnadu in India. Chennai is a pretty big city and is one of the metros in India. The climate is more tropical and the temperatures average at about 30 degrees Celsius annually. The humidity averages at about 70% and the day gets pretty busy by about 7:30AM. The traffic is pretty high during the day time with the peak hours being 8:30AM-11:30AM and 5:00PM-7:30PM. The atmosphere gets pretty polluted...especially during the peak hours.

The roads in the city are pretty wide in most places, but you are sure to bump into some pot-holes in many roads. The city enjoys summer from early-March to mid-August in reality with the peak summer falling somtime in the second half of May. Temperatures during summer can average at 37 degrees Celsius, and can go as high as 44 degrees Celsius during the peak season (second half of May). The city enjoys rainfall from mid-September to early-December (or late-November), and the roads get pretty much flooded with puddles of water. The winter season is during the months of December to early-February, when the temperatures can fall as low as 20 degrees Celsius.


Chennai is a city that loves sports of all kind. The city has one of the best cricket teams with equal excellence in the sports of football, hockey, kabaddi and field atheletics. Running has been a much appreciated sport with a big number of atheletes into short distance running. There are big organizations like the YMCA and SDAT which have extended unrelenting support to this sport through the years. Chennai Runners is the biggest running club in the city, and with more than 600+ members, this club has been doing extensive running programs ever since 2006. I strongly urge you to visit to know more.

As you would have guessed by now, Chennai is pretty tropical and humid most part of the year. Should you want to run in the city, I strongly urge you to carry a bottle of water or a fuel-belt. With the sun up and shining by 7AM, I strongly urge you to do early morning runs. Ideal time to start your run will be at about 4:30AM or 5:00AM, if you plan to do longer distances (>10-15kms). Also, use a good non-greasy sun block (with SPF of 30+) is advisable to avoid su burns. Chennai also has a lot of stray dogs, but with an increasing number of runners hitting the asphalt, these dogs seem to have got used to seeing people run and hence don't get into your way!

In terms of the apparel, a good running tee that breaths is something that will keep you cool and comfortable during your run. A dry-fit tee is what I would strongly recommend. With the city traffic being high, it's a good practice to run on the right side of the two-way roads...against the traffic. Should you want to find out good running routes, do visit Also, if you are looking for a group to run with, you should join the Chennai Runners' Google Group and get updates on our regular runs!

Keep Running 'n' have Fun! Stay Fit 'n' Healthy!

February 12, 2009

1234567890 Day - It's Once and Forever

In a world that's changing so fast, it takes more than sheer alertness to notice smaller wonders. But this time around, it's something to do with the time itself. Yes, in less than two days from when I write this article, the world is going to be getting a chance to celebrate the 1234567890 Day! Woah...what's this curiously sounding day all about? Read on...

As I write this article, my clock shows 9:06AM on Thursday the 12th February Indian Standard Time. In just about a day, 19 hours and 54 minutes from now, the UNIX time will equal '1234567890'!

When most of the people in this part of the world will be celebrating Valentines Day on the 14th Feb, the world will have another reason to celebrate by wishing "Happy 1234567890 Day!!!" So, if you are wanting to know the exact time of this unique event, here are the details -

Folks in India can celebrate it on Saturday, Feb 14 at 5:01:30 AM (IST)
Folks in the Pacific Time zone can celebrate it on Friday, Feb 13 at exactly 3:31:30 PM (PST)

So, what are you waiting for? Folks in India should plan to extend your Friday night party to the early morning hours and have your UNIX screen displayed on a large 75mm screen and see the time tick 1234567890!! Probably a toast to in the name of 1234567890 would get the promoters of this unique day (Colin and Andy) a greater reason to celebrate!

Advanced wishes for a Happy 1234567890 Day!! (Aint this sound 'cooler' than the much beaten Valentines Day!?!) Have Fun!!

Stay Different! Stay Inspired!

PS: For those of you who are celebrating Valentines Day with your loved ones - PLEASE DON'T SHOW THEM THE UNIX SCREEN...YOU ARE IN FOR A BIG TROUBLE!! LOL

February 10, 2009

Dilbert @ Work - On Taking over New Roles

Found this apt in an environment like that of today - A recession hit world where companies tend to give additional responsibilities (originally done by someone who is fired without notice!) to existing employees who don't have a clue of what needs to be done.


PS: Incidentally, a friend of mine was recently subjected to the a situation very similar to what Dilbert is subjected to in the above cartoon strip by Scott Adams!

Auroville Marathon - Here I come!

Wow, its been ONE FULL YEAR since I did my first official half marathon. I did my first half marathon in Chennai on 10th February 2008, and the Auroville half marathon on 17th February 2008. These two runs tipped off a great (and eventful!) running year 2008 from me.

I've been doing lesser and lighter runs ever since I did my Singapore marathon in December last year. And now, I've planned to kick-off this year's runs at the second Auroville Marathon that's happening on the 15th February 2008! I'm running a half marathon at Auroville this time too. Though there are multiple reasons for one to run the Auroville marathon, to me, its more to do with the place itself. The serene and pristine surroundings in Auroville is something that has to be experienced. The place (and its people) had created a magical spell in me last year, that I decided to start my 2009 runs at Auroville.

There are many things special about the Auroville marathon. But personally, I enjoyed the unique pasta party, the fruits and fresh lime juices on the run, the ride to Auroville from Chennai with my Chennai Runners friends and the awesome foot massage after the run. But this time, I have been pleasantly surprised by a very unique aspect of Auroville marathon - I gotto "pick-n-choose" my BIB number!!! No, I'm not kidding. Thanks to my Chennai Runners friend Balaji, I got a VIP privelege to choose my BIB number. Balaji has been based out of Auroville for sometime now, and has been assisting Chandresh with the organization of this marathon. Thanks, Balaji!

Chandresh, who has been the key organizer of the Auroville marathon, had done a tremendous job last year. The organization was by far the best I've seen for a first-marathon! Chandresh is a long distance runner and a marathoner himself, and I'm sure he put himself in the runners' shoes before chalking out the route and organizing the run. Chandresh - I'm looking forward to a wonderful time at Auroville!

Having been running very scantily since my Singapore marathon, I'm looking to take the Auroville one pretty easy with the focus just being the completion (in a decent timing). I'm going to be running for Asha this time too. So, do contriute to my run and join hands in educating several underprivileged children in this country.

January 23, 2009

Let's Start LIVING, Start THINKING

We are born in this earth not to exist, but to live. That said, many of us just continue to exist. We have been taught to eat, taught to walk, taught to ride a bike, taught to read, taught to write...the list can go on endless. But, one question can make a difference - Have we every questioned these teachings? If so, how many times have we done this? Read on to know more...

How many times in our life do we really question ourselves "Why should/did I do this?". We continue to sit in a room with the lights on, even when the sun is up and shining to illuminate our reading desk. We continue to switch on the television as we read the newspaper because we are used to hearing the news in the mornings. We continue to keep the water tap open while brushing the teeth. We continue to drive down the same route to office (when there may be many shorter/better routes) because we are used to it. Each one of us would have some mundane ways of doing many things. We continue to do what we do because we are used to doing it that way.

Have you observed top sports stars? Have you seen a top runner's training programme? All top runners spend a considerable amount of time observing themselves when they run. Have you ever wondered why gyms have a lot of mirrors? Have you seen body-builders train with mirrors around? These mirrors are not (only) to see how good they look, but to help them observe their training! Observation is the core of all these sports and fitness activities. This is what helps sportsmen and women understand their pitfalls and identify points of improvement. A training programme without observing can prove useless!

Improvement comes when we start observing whats existing today. Observing is the fundamental need for innovation and continuous improvement. For instance, the way governments, industries, transportation systems and others have been operating is precisely the same. They continue to exist.

For a country to grow, the government should stop existing and start working. For the economy to grow, companies should stop existing and start working. For a greener world, industries and the energy sector units should stop existing and start working. Observing today's approaches, processes, systems and analyzing the pitfalls is the key to innovation.

Here is what I would suggest, to infuse innovation in your personal life and professional lives. Spend atleast 10 minutes a day for yourself. Think about how you spent the day, and how you did the things you did. Think of ways that could have made things better. Think of things you could have avoided doing. Think about what you saw on your walk down your company's aisles or your factory's floors. Ask yourself one question - "Why did I do it?" or "Why is this done that way?". Keep answering your question until you get a satisfactory answer. Finally, you have lived your day!

Here is nice video that you might enjoy. Keep Thinking! Stay Creative! Stay Inspired!

January 21, 2009

IBM.COM / THINK - A Smarter Planet

IBM has unveiled a whole new initiative this year to create a Smarter Planet. Here is the Tale of a Smarter Planet that would set you thinking, and possibly innovating. Together, let's build a Smarter Planet!

Hope this short video has set your thoughts reeling. I look forward to fueling your thoughts and innovation more in the days and weeks to come! Stay Mused! Stay Inspired!

IBM: 4Q08 Results are Out & Strong!

IBM has had a very impressive year 2008. The corporation's Senior Vice President & CFO Mark Loughridge discussed the 4Q08 earnings yesterday evening at the corporation's headquarters in Armonk, NY.

In a year like this, when the world has been facing enormous and growing economic challenges and uncertainties, IBM has shown some record figures in the reports. Here are some of the highlights of the full-year 2008 -
  • Record revenue of $103.6 billion;
  • Record pre-tax profit of $16.7 billion;
  • Record earnings per share of $8.93;
  • Record free cash flow of $14.3 billion, up $1.9 billion, excluding Global Financing receivables
In just the fourth quarter, IBM has again shown a good increase of 17% in diluted earnings and 12% increase in income. Here are some of the highlights of the forth-quarter results -
  • Diluted earnings of $3.28 per share, up 17 percent;
  • Net income of $4.4 billion, up 12 percent;
  • Gross profit margin of 47.9 percent, up 3 points;
  • Revenue of $27.0 billion, impacted by strong U.S. dollar, down 6 percent, down 1 percent adjusting for currency;
  • Software revenues up 3 percent, up 9 percent adjusting for currency; pre-tax income up 15 percent;
  • Global Technology Services revenue down 4 percent, up 3 percent adjusting for currency; pre-tax income up 35 percent;
  • Global Business Services revenues down 5 percent, flat adjusting for currency; pre-tax income up 26 percent;
  • Services signings of $17.2 billion, 24 deals greater than $100 million;
  • Strategic outsourcing signings up 20 percent worldwide, up 44 percent in North America.
A strong fourth quarter capped an outstanding year. In 2008 IBM performed well in an extremely difficult economic environment. Clearly our strategic transformation --- migrating to the more profitable segments of the industry, investing in growth regions of the world, and driving productivity through global integration --- is continuing to pay dividends
- Samuel J. Palmisano, IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer

With such extremely good results, we can expect more from IBM in the year 2009. No doubt that the current economic climate has made things more challenging. But not to forget that opportunities lie in challenges - The smarter ones take a major portion of the apple pie!

Some quick links:
IBM 4Q08 Earnings Presentation webcast -
IBM 4Q08 Earnings Presentation MP3 -
IBM 4Q08 Earnings Press Release -

January 20, 2009

How companies work in a bear market...

Dilbert Health

PS: Wondering why these Dilbert posts? Nah....I just wanted to take a break from serious articles! Watch out for my next article! Till then, Adios and have fun!

New job induction...when the industry was doing good

Here is what might have been happening when the job industry was doing good. You can even relate it to personal experiences...

Dilbert Work

Wondering how this scenario would have changed in an industry that's going through bad times? My next post has it!

January 15, 2009

Arnold Schwarzenegger, California, Tweets - They are related!

The whole world has been talking less and twitting more these days! Ever since Twitter was launched, there has been an exponential increase in the number of people who have taken to this microblogging platform. Personally, I find Twitter quiet useful and comfortable (thanks to the variety of Twitter tools that's been flooding around)

Many people have been using Twitter for different reasons (Google can help you with some top reasons). I know people who publicize information using Twitter and also people who do public chats using the tool. The uniqueness that Twitter brings to the internet world is with it's simplicity. It's a no hassle and no frill tool that can be used by a non-Techie.

Ah! That reminds me of something - Did you know that even Gov.Arnold Schwarzenneger's team uses Twitter? Yes, I'm talking about the same person who was once a Mr.Universe and a Hollywood filmstar! You must check out his twitter page, and will be surprised by the way his team has been exploiting this platform - They use Twitter to post updates on the administrative activities' progress and other updates that his administration is carrying out! Isn't this a novel way to use Twitter?

Have you been using Twitter for a unique purpose too? If so, do let me know!

Keep Twitting! Stay Inspired!

January 12, 2009

Top 10 Strategic Technologies for 2009

Curious enough, I was digging through Gartner's shelves. Here is what I bumped into - Top 10 Strategic Technologies for 2009. Gartner has identified the following 10 technologies (in the order mentioned below) as the toppers for 2009 -
  • Virtualization
  • Cloud Computing
  • Servers — Beyond Blades
  • Web-Oriented Architectures
  • EnterpriseMashups
  • Specialized Systems
  • Social Software and Social Networking
  • Unified Communications
  • Business Intelligence
  • Green IT
There is nothing you might really want to observe with just this list. The curiosity arose when I was trying to compare the above list for 2009 with the list that Gartner released for 2008, which went as follows -
  • Green IT
  • Unified Communications
  • Business Process Modeling
  • Metadata Management
  • Virtualization 2.0
  • Mashup & Composite Apps
  • Web Platform & WOA
  • Computing Fabric
  • Real World Web
  • Social Software
It's quiet interesting to observe the fact that Green IT has moved all the way to the bottom of the list. Also, Computing Fabric seems to have disappeared? No, Gartner has preferred to explicitly call it Servers - Beyond Blades this year. In my opinion, Cloud Computing has been the one significant inclusion in the 2009 list of technologies. Yes, indeed this technology is fast catching up and many companies have gone ahead to set up cloud centers. More on cloud computing in a later post.

Green IT is more of a buzzword that is going to be floating around for the next few years. In a nutshell, Green IT is more about how we can implement technologies that are friendly to nature (viz., lower emission, low power consumption, lower heat dissipation, etc).

Below is a video where David Cearley discusses these top 10 technologies at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo Orlando 2008.

With the economic slowdown, these technologies will definitely play a key role in shaping the world and aiding mankind.

It's Business and not Technology that Leads

A brief look into the history books would set the picture right - Technology jumped in to help man do things more effectively and faster. The wheel was invented when man wanted to move heavy boulders from one place to another. The computer was invented to help man perform calculations much better. The list is endless. The crux of the matter being that the need leads and the technology just follows. When needs become endless, technology starts to evolve!

Due to technological advancements, the world started to rely on technology more than what was earlier. The setting in of the Information and Technology era marked the setting in of full fledged usage of technology in business. Over a period in time, the world got into a technology rat race. IT companies started to compete in the technology space and businesses started to chase success with the usage of better and sophisticated technologies. Eventually, many of the non-IT businesses started to set up an IT arm to pursue its techno dreams.

In the pursuit of technology dreams, businesses started to get more technology dependent by slowly getting more of their business closely linked to IT. Today, most of the world's biggest businesses across different industries are heavily based on an underlying IT infrastructure. Unknowingly, the leaders and head honchos of world's biggest businesses have invested so much into IT, that they cannot survive without it.

Inadvertently, the IT heads of these non-IT businesses have started to focus so much on technology and lost focus on the real business objectives! In bigger corporations, this problem has been accentuated by the inter-department/intra-company politics - Often, there is a clash between the business, functional and the technology wings of these corporations!

The latter point mentioned above has resulted with information redundancy due to the creation of information silos! In simple terms, this is nothing but information gluttony. This inter-department/intra-company politics sometimes goes to such an extent that the IT management shuts doors to the business teams, and eventually sets up an IT infrastructure that is sometimes contradictory to the actual business need!
"IT people have a fundamental belief that they're not doing anything wrong," says Tony Fisher, CEO of data-quality specialists DataFlux. "That's because they lack an understanding of the business at large. You end up with an environment where the IT manager sits in his office naive and happy, thinking he's doing all the right things, reading all the right journals, and executing everything according to specs that have everything to do with technology but little to do with the business."
- Excerpt from Dan Tynan's article on

In a time of recession, it's more important for businesses worldwide to focus on resolving these intra-company politics and work in unison. When the demand is low and the operations are slow, businesses should start to realign their departments and operations in a way that lets the business drive and use technology as a means to grow. Taking an inward view of their internal operational layout will help businesses fine tune and innovate their operations and approach, thereby becoming a lean and agile enterprise!

January 11, 2009

Chennai Open ATP Tennis Tournament 2009

Thanks to our family friend, I got to see the Chennai Open ATP Tennis 2009 last evening. I happened to witness this wonderful mens singles semi-finals game of tennis between Marcel Granollers(ESP) and Marin Cilic(CRO), which the later won 6-4, 6-3. Some pictures can be found below.

Not sure if it was Somdev Devvarman's good or bad luck, he has made it to this ATP tournament's finals without having to fight his opponent Rainer Scheuttler, who suffered a wrist injury.

After Leander Paes(1998) and Prakash Amritraj(2008), Somdev Devvarman gets to share the limelight for being the third Indian tennis player to have reached an ATP semi-finals ( the second Indian player to reach the semi-finals in Chennai ATP, after Leander Paes did in 1998).

For my email subscribers who are not able to view the above slideshow, do visit my flickr page here. I'm hoping to be able to make it to today's finals match between Marin Cilic(CRO) and Somdev Devvarman(IND). Will definitely share some pictures if I happen to make it! Till then, stay tuned!

PS: Should you want to use any of these pictures, do feel free to drop me a note!

January 07, 2009

Why do I Run?

Every passionate long distance runner on earth would, some(many)time in his/her life, be asked this question-
Why do you have to run such long distances? What is in it for you?

I've been a victim of this kind of a question many a time till date. The most interesting came after my Singapore marathon...and it was-
Why did you have to go all the way to Singapore spending thousands of rupees to just run 42 and odd kilometers? You could have done it in the very place you reside, right?

I could not resist a chuckle when people asked this question. Nevertheless, this question has always managed to set my thoughts reeling. Hence I thought of putting these recurring thoughts in black and white.
In today's fast moving world, one hardly gets time to think about day to day routines. More than often, we end up doing something because we are used to doing it that way. The reason for us doing this is predominantly the fact that the conscious mind concentrates on the main task while giving the subconscious mind the responsibility of doing these mundane tasks.
And because of various reasons, the conscious mind gets loaded with a whole slew of new tasks, that the older tasks get moved into the subconscious mind. This cycle of the mind's working has taken off the comfortable cushion space to think differently and be innovative.
This is the reason the mind starts to get dull and loses the enthusiasm to do anything. I had experienced such a state many a time in the past (before I took up running). That's when I was thinking and realized that -
We work so hard for name, fame and money to eventually be happy. But over a period in time we realize that we've done everything but being happy

Why does this happen? It's simply because the mind has become duller and has lost that glow. A mind that has continuously engaged itself in chasing goals, tends to miss out recognizing achievements. This tendency results in the lack of happiness (as, you always keep feeling "I've not accomplished anything").
Running is something that came by just in time for me. Though it sounds like just a physical activity, Running is a gift in different ways. Running is one single activity, doing which can give you the following benefits - all in one shot! -
  • An excellent physical exercise - Shorter your Waistline, Longer your Lifeline!
  • Rejuvenates the mind - More oxygen to the brain, more active it gets!
  • Cleaner and Fresher skin - Sweat gets the darn dirt out of the skin pores! An increase in metabolism will result in fresh skin faster!
  • Stronger legs and back - This greatly helps us stay fit (if your work is in front on a computer, you would appreciate the value of a strong back!)
  • Staying closer to nature - What can be better than an early morning run? Hearing the birds chirp and smelling the fresh's Bliss!
  • Run your errands - I sometimes shop during my run...Yes! I'm not joking! Ain't it a healthy way to shop?
  • Travel and see places - What better excuse can one get to travel to different places to run half or full marathons? It's fun!
  • Meet people and network - Running on the roads around your place, you are sure to bump into many of your neighbors and exchange a casual HI! Joining running clubs can give you the best experience of networking!
  • A feeling of achievement - Running past people with large waistlines, seeing your waistline reduce after some consistent running, finishing longer distances and marathons, etc can give you a sense of accomplishment. Doing two kilometers more or doing a distance faster than before, can fill you with great pride! You don't have to wait for a job promotion or a salary hike!
  • Tunes the mind to fight longer battles - Running long distances can impact the mind to persevere and fight the long drawn battles at work and personal life. It fills you with grit and determination!
What more could I ask for? Would you say NO to a cartload of gifts packed in one neat package? Ain't this a good reason to run? So, to you, here is my advise - Step out and start running! Fuel your creativity and innovation....and you are sure to be a winner for life!

Happy Running! Stay Inspired!

January 04, 2009

Chennai Runners presents Running Plus!!

Time has come to relive your dreams...
It's time to brush shoulders with some serial marathoners in this part of the country...
You need not wait more to talk to a sports doc about your fitness related queries...

Chennai Runners proudly presents Running Plus, a first of a kind Running Clinic in the city of Chennai! Details about this event can be found here. Do give me a holler if you need more details..
Chennai Runners Running Clinic

A larger picture of the above invite can be seen here.
If you are in Chennai on 10th Jan 2009, do come over!

January 02, 2009

My 2008 Book Collection - Did I read them all?

As many would say, time and experience teaches a lot of lessons. The year 2008 has been the 'teacher' year to me. It taught me a lot through real life experiences and it also made me buy a lot of books!

I was just looking around my bookshelf (Uh! My books are pretty much scattered everywhere!) and realized that I ended up buy quiet a bit of them in the past year (14 of them!). But then came this question "Karthik....did you read them all? Don't say a 'yes'!" Huh! yes, I've gotto admit...I did not read them all 'fully'. While I did manage to finish most of them, the rest of them are still with those bookmarks. Nevertheless, I enjoy building my own library (...and compete with my dad! He has got about 300 novels so far!)

Here are some of the books I bought (click on them to get more details about the book) -

For those of you who has not read any of the above books, here goes my recommendations.
Who Moved My Cheese?
is a very good book, which is now available in an abridged version (which is better) too. This book is a must read for anyone who wants to live (not survive!) in this world and make the fullest use of every opportunity in every front.

It's Not About the Bike. My Journey Back to Life falls next in the order of reading order priority. Lance Armstrong has very beautifully written this book, in which he talks about how he fought with the world's most deadliest of diseases, cancer, and got back to do what he loved to do.

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari is the next best thing to spend some useful time with. The author of this book, Robin Sharma, needs no much introduction to many of us. While many motivational speakers tend to use disconnected examples to explain (and elaborate) different areas of life and work, Robin has adopted a different approach. Robin uses the character of a monk to connect with his readers. A true masterpiece and a must read!

The Power of Impossible Thinking was another good book I bumped into accidentally when I was browsing in the bookstore. I found this book really thought provoking. In a way, it has helped me a lot to change the way I approached many things in life. I would recommend this book for a good read while traveling.

The Einstein Factor - Ah! Win Wenger has done an astounding job out of this book. The reason I'm writing about this book after having written about four other books is because this one falls under a different category. This books demands time. This book combines practical exercises to boost your thinking power. I would highly recommend this book for weekend and holiday reads. If possible, do get your hands on its audiobook version.

The Toyota Way is more to do with the way we do things ('manufacturing' is the context used in this book) and how we can do it better. This is about how Toyota revolutionized the world of automotive manufacturing by incorporating some of its home grown approaches. This is today widely accepted my many companies.
Freakonomics - This is a book I'm still half way through. It's been a good read so far. I would reserve my recommendations till I complete my reading.

As far as the rest of the books go, I haven't read them (except The Greatness Guide...which is OK. Robin set too high an expectation with his first book!) yet. I might set my hands on one of these when I get time (unless I spot a really good book in one of my future bookstore jaunts!)

Have you read a good book? Would you mind suggesting me one? I would love to read them too! And if you are one of those who has not cultivated the habit of reading books, do try it'll become an addiction!
Till my next article....adios and have a splendid weekend!

January 01, 2009

Geni, the Genius Genie

Oops...I'm not going to be writing about Genie in a Bottle or a Genie from Alladin's magic lamp. This is the Genie I discovered on the internet some long time ago. This Genie has phenomenally helped me connect to different people in my own family. This Genie has helped me know many unknown people in my own family ...wait...unknown?? Yes, that's correct - unknown. Read on to know more...

In late 2007, during some loose internet searching on a topic related to genealogy, I bumped into this wonder-full website called Geni. As expected from any inquisitive internet searcher, I went ahead and got myself registered with this service. That was it....I never even cared to get back to this website from the next day on (as my objective was different at that point in time - to search for some information related to genealogy).

It was in early December of 2008 (just a few weeks ago!) that my dad suddenly came up to me, asking me if I could help him document our family tree that he had written down long time ago. Ah, that triggered a thought in me - Why don't I see what Geni had in store? Does Geni still exist? As I was in front on my laptop (which I am most of the time!), I quickly went on and revisited Geni....and to my surprise, I did remember the password and username I had registered with!

What has happened from then on is something really spectacular. Today, I am connected to more than 2733 people in my own family!! I've been able to send birthday and anniversary wishes to so many people in my own family, that I was simply amazed by the sheer Human Network this helped me create from within my own family.

From my experience I can say one thing for sure - There is nothing in this world that's more powerful than a good human network! Networking and Collaboration is the key that enables communities, businesses, cultures and policies. Geni precisely does this - enables an ever-growing and self-participating human network within families across the world. Once you add a relative and his/her email address, Geni gives them the power to add people in their family (your extended family!).

Behind the scenes, Geni uses the GEDCOM specification. GEDCOM is a standard file format used to save, transfer, and transport genealogical information. To know more about GEDCOM, here is the Wikipedia page link.

So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and take the plunge! Create your family network on Geni, and I'm sure the rest will fall into place automatically. Begin the new year with everyone in your family!! Good Luck and Best Wishes!