Anurag Jain's Blog
Thursday, July 31, 2003

Telephone vs Net

Today I got a surprise: A telephone call from my brother. The purpose was to announce the safe arrival of my parents at his home. Hardly surprising, a call from bro, you might say. And of course, I knew about my parents' US visit! Thats not what's surprising though. What is surprising is the telephone call. You see, my and my bro never communicate over phone. Not for the last 5 years at least! Once upon a time, long time ago (5 years back), we did use to talk over phone, the reason being me not having access to the internet. From the point in time I got onto the Net, I dont recall making a call to my bro or vice versa, save his calls when I am visiting my home. Isn't it wow that we all take things as given, and for granted, but sometimes if we stop, look back and think about things carefully, changes in life kinda seems amazing! In this case, at least, I think its amazing the way Net has changed my life.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Bangalore Song?

I love this city, Bangalore. I wish there were a 'cultural branding' exercise too apart from 'software branding' thing. To begin with, I have been wondering how come this city doesn't have an anthem. I mean some band should come up with a catchy number about Bangalore, which would become synonymous with Bangalore, not just locally but nationally and internationally. I have already conveyed this feeling to Raghu (of Antaragni). Lets hope they take it up. Any other takers?

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

A Clockwork Orange

Watched A Clockwork Orange yesterday. Name of the movie itself creates curiousity. Ourang is Malay for "Man". Now you get the picture? :) Set in near-future Britain (movie/novel was made in 1971 and hence, you could say set in near about today's Britain!), its about a young guy who likes 'ultra-violence' (term coined by Anthony Burgess, author of novel), rape, and interestingly, Ludwig Van Beethoven. This guy offers himself for Ludovico treatment which is a novelty cure for criminals. A wonderful movie, A Clockwork Orange raises a lot of important questions such as: what is good and what is evil/bad? What makes us human beings like/dislike one of these? Can something be done to cure criminals? Director uses incredible (read: contrary to traditional) combinations of music and violence and the effect is, well, superb, and one that makes you think. Its a real though-prvoking masterpiece by Stanley Kubrick. Without giving any spoilers, I would just highly recommend that you watch this movie.

Btw, I watched the movie with subtitles. I was introduced to the subtitles recently by a PGP1 student, Aditya Govindraj. Without subtitles, I wouldn't have been able to grasp half the dialogues on Clockwork Orange, what will all the British accent and words like Devotchka, Droogies, Ludovico, Viddy, Yarbles, Rassoodocks, Malchick!! Talking of software, Did you know about this fantastic player software called MV2 Player? This software can play subtitles if it finds the subtitle file in the same directory as movie. And the interface is REAL COOL!

Monday, July 28, 2003

Open Sesame

We all do have problems remembering our passwords sometime or the other, dont we? Or some stoopid hacker cracks our password every now and then, isn't it? There are two parts to that issue: 1) Choosing too easy a password, and/or 2) Choosing two hard a password. Now, Microsoft Research is drawing on psychology and graphics and trying to come up with a 'unique' Inkblots solution to the password issue.

Now, why do I have a feeling that only if I had pursued my variable password concept (scroll down to "General Programs") further!! You can see the program directly here (OR Ctrl-c, Ctrl-v the link, OR click from concept page). Seriously, password security management/development could be big business/ next big thing in computing!

Sunday, July 27, 2003


The Wildlife Trust of India is putting light reflectors on the elephants' rear in the capital city of New Delhi. The news made it even to the Washington Times. For all its seriousness, the effort does sound funny.

In the meantime, a totally different kind of reflector experiment, though with the same objective as Indian one, is successfully going on in the US.

Saturday, July 26, 2003

Party Time

(Regular) Dance Party in campus tonight. (Translated: Got nuthin else to publish)

Friday, July 25, 2003

Book Reviews

Recently read two books: 1) Sam Walton: Made in America, and 2) The Living Company - Arie De Geus.

The first one is a truly inspiring story of THE biggest company in the world. I was drooling at very single line in the book as to how this guy made it happen. I have jotted down the excerpts and intreresting points here

The Living Company (Prologue) is management funda book on why we should view organizations as living beings. Arie De Geus' 1988 HBR paper 'Planning as Learning' on a related subject is widely quoted in b-schools around the world. Arie De Geus has been a manager at Shell/Royal Dutch company for a long time and the book is a result of the research undertaken by Shell to see what makes a firm long-lasting. They found that as against an average human life expectancy of 70-80 years, corporates survive only for about 40-50 years, on an average. According to Geus, the factors common to long-surviving firms are:
1) Longlived companies were sensitive to their environment.
2) Longlived companies were cohesive, with a strong sense of identity.
3) Longlived companies were tolerant.
4) Longlived companies were conservative in financing.

The oldest know coprorate form firm is The Stora Company - a major paper, pulp, and chemical manufacturer. Stora is known to have booted up as a copper mine in central Sweden more than 700 years ago! There's a club called The Tercentenarians Club. Family-run companies with 300-year pedigrees can apply for membership of the club, which is based in Britain. The only info on Tercentenarians Club I could cull out on the web was with the help of WayBackMachine.

Surprising, isn't it, that the website of the oldest firm in the world doesn't work and that there's almost no information on the club housing oldest firms. Maybe, after all, time has come for them!!

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Was generally browsing through IITM's campus magazine which some alumnus had put on our intranet here, when I came across this gem:


The following was actually an entry in the Guestbook maintained at the IITM website:

We are looking for a bride for our son. Kindly tell B.Tech. Computer Science girls to contact us if they are interested.

Contact address will be made available on request!

(Hey, if this picks up, we'll probably feature a Matrimonial column in The Fourth Estate from
the next edition onwards! - Ed)"

The greatest paradox. Can u solve it?

Came across this puzzle on our intranet:

Few centuries ago, a Law teacher came across a student who was willing to learn but was unable to pay the fees. The student struck a deal saying, "I will pay your fee the day I win my first case in the court".

Teacher agreed and proceeded with the law course. When the course was finished and teacher started pestering the student to pay up the fee, the student reminded him of the deal and pushed days.

Fed up with this, the teacher decided to sue the student in the court of law and both of them decided to argue for themselves. The teacher put forward his argument saying: "If I win this case, as per the court of law, the student has to pay me as the case is about his nonpayment of dues. And if I lose the case, student will still pay me because he would have won his first case. So either way I will have to get the money".

Equally brilliant student argued back saying: "If I win the case, as per the court of law, I don't have to pay anything to the teacher as the case is about my non-payment of dues. And if I lose the case, I don't have to pay him because I haven't won my first case yet. So either way, I am not going to pay the teacher anything".

This is one of the greatest paradoxes ever recorded in history. So can u solve it?


Wednesday, July 23, 2003


I recently came across this word and found it quite apt. What do you think!

Monday, July 14, 2003

Lookie, Lookie, who's here!

As my parents will be off to the US for 2-3 months this month end, they decided to pay my sister and family a visit before that, and hence flew down to Mumbai day before yesterday. And since their reaching Mumbai, everyone, from my sister to my mom to my niece, has been after my life for me to go and join them at Mumbai for a few days. I have been saying no to all of 'em, including to my cute lil' niece's (Prakruti) "Maama, u come here or else.." warnings. And they all know I am not coming. Now, here's the fun part: After saying no to all, I got my tickets to Mumbai booked for tommorrow! And here's the funniest part: I ain't gonna tell 'em that I am coming!! I'll just go present myself at their door! Boy, will that be fun or wat!!

I like surprise visits. (I mean my surprise visits to others and not vice versa :-) I remember, two year back, me, sister, and bro decided to go home unannounced during diwali and surprise parents. At that time my sister and family were in Assam, bro/bhabhi in US . So we all decided to fly down to Delhi and meet up at the airport and then proceed to surprise papa and mummy. And thats exactly what we did! Except that, due to flight scheduling issues, my bro came a few hours later (next day) and hence we surprised parents twice: first me, sister & kids reached home in the evening and then next morning, while my mom was off to temple, my bro & bhabhi arrived and we hid them in a room. Man, was mom surprised or what, seeing them emerge outta room! It was SO MUCH fun!

Well, the fun's gonna be repeated once again tommorrow! (Hope my family aint reading this. Nah, they must be too busy having fun :-). Prakruti, u cutie, here I come!


Saturday, July 12, 2003

A history of Conjoined Twin sisters: India and Pakistan

India and Pakistan are conjoined twins and the common vein joining them together is J & K. The twins were born in Aug 1947. The British doctor overseeing the birth operation deliberately left the common vein in place and didn't attempt to remove it. Now, after 56 years, its too complicated, too late and too risky for the twins to go for an operation.
Right from birth, instead of blaming the British doctors and trying to find a solution, the twins became bitter towards each other. Desire to have to do nothing with each other took roots early on in both minds. They turned their faces away from each others. But as it is with all conjoined twins, they could not afford to ignore each other either. That resulted in flagrant confrontations over the decades. Over the years, more than her own development, Pakistan became more and more obsessed with harming her twin sister India. (It is said that India has lots of issues to deal with including the one of Pakistan, but Pakistan only has one issue: India.) India, on the other hand, too did not do much to take care of the conjoining vein which was swelling due to disillusionment with India for her lack of attention to it. The vein over the years has gone worse and needs medical attention.

The good news is that the twins have started to talk to each other once again after a long history of embitterment. Now, only if somebody would 'separate' them by appeasing the common gland.

(The only difference from human conjoined twins is that in this case, the common gland needs more attention than the twins themselves.)

Yahoo Messenger woes

For last one week or so, my yahoo messenger is really troubling me. It'd work for a while and then drop dead, leaving the ongoing conversation in the dock. And my friends on the recieving end (literally) assume that I am being rude or something. It comes back to life after half an hour or so, if at all. I was told by our system admin that its a problem at yahoo's end.

Yahoo has become so much a part of my life that I dont wanna switch to any other IM solution. Moreover, save for this small current problem, I seriously believe that yahoo is the best free email/IM service. Is anybody else having any problems with yahoo messenger? Please do lemme know.

Friday, July 11, 2003

Alumni Inititaitive

These days, I am trying to network with my engg college alumni. Established in 1921, my alma mater Harcourt Butler Technological Institute (HBTI) is one of the oldest engineering institutes in the country. In fact, IIT Kanpur used to operate out of our campus when they started in late 60s. HBTI has always been very famous for its oldest offerings, i.e., Chemical Engg and Chemical Technology. I know of people who didn't take IIT comp science to join HBTI. However, with the advent of UDCT, IITs, BITS and others, somewhere down the road, HBTI has not been able to maintain its reputation. Government interference is also a big problem.

To get HBTI back on track, we have started a mega initiative with an objective to connect with all alumni, across batches and across branches. We made an announcement on radiocity last saturday regarding this. Also, an egroup has been started where senior alumni are providing basis for having a fruitful discussion. An alumnus one year junior to me even announced scholarships yesterday.

My understanding of alumni networking issues:

- Return of the native. Who are instt alumni really? We need to reach out to all who have ever been associated with HBTI, viz:
* Faculty alumni (currently in other instt/industry). (Guys like Prof.TK Ghosh, known as father of biotech in India).
* student alumni

- Aid/help from Alumni is not just about money. It can be in various forms:
* Creating awareness: Professional updation/Higher studies(MBA/MS/PhD etc)
* Organizing industry visits
* Placements
* Organizing conferences/seminars/talks/symposiums
* Curriculum review.
* Contribution to the general DYNAMISM/ENTHUSIASM/PROUD-FEELING on campus.

If you are an HBTI alumni, please get in touch with me asap. Anyone else, if you've been associated with any alumni initiatives of your alma mater, please make suggestions/recommendations on best practices in alumni netowrking.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Spam: All your base are belong to us

Do u recieve spam? What a naive question. Of course, u do. Everybody does, including Bill Gates. AOL blocks almost a billion spam email messages in a single day! Sixty percent of my own mail traffic is spam.

But what surprises me is the no-solution uniqueness of this particular type (email) of spam. Yes, there are other more traditional forms of spam too:

* Phone: Blank/Crank/Prank Calls. Also telemarketing (A major "Do not call list" initative is underway in the US currently to tackle this problem)
* Fax: Some nasty kid sending blank messages wasting whole sheets of paper. This was especially popular in thermal-paper-only fax days.
* TV: Advertisements at free channels.
* Postal Mail: "Forward it to 50 friends or else.." letters, aka Chain-letters (Internet Version here).
* CellPhone: Unwanted SMS messages from unknown people. Get the cell phone: Your spam is calling.

The major difference between all other forms of spam vs email spam is a economic one: The cost of sending email spam is far lower than any other spam. Hence, the eventual email spam solution would also be an economics-based one and not a technological one. Just imagine how big the guy who finds a solution to spam would become! Any solutions/bright sparks, anyone?

Monday, July 07, 2003

Living on an Island

I often wonder what it would be like living on an island where no body but me is the only human presence. Movies like Cast Away (and may I add Blue Lagoon) have seriously impacted my thought process. I love Cast Away for the way it depicts how a human being can come to terms to one-ness.

Come to think of it, for last 5 years, I myself have been sorta living on an island. I mean, far from the madding crowd, I am nestled in a serene and beautiful campus. I haven't watched TV in last 5 years, save on very short visits to home, and also save the brief period when I had the 'privilege' of cable connection in my hostel room. I still have TV in my room but no cable connection. Do I miss watching TV? No! In fact, I proactively feel happy that I haven't been subjected to mindless, crass-culture remix videos and latka-jhatkas in general. (Remember what Manna Dey said: "Today, songs are not heard, they are seen."!) The only thing I miss is HBO, National geographic / Discovery. Well, thats a small price to pay to save myself from being a victim of dumb-and-dumber TV media, esp with 24 hrs Net in my room. Another proof of living on island is that I have missed the entire cellphone revolution by not buying a cellphone (I tried using one gifted by my bro. Thank God it didn't work). So, even though I am 'connected' 24 hours, I am really living on an island.

Wait a minute, something is wrong. Heck, where's my Brooke Shields? Hell, this aint no livin on island without no Brooke Shileds of my own.

Friday, July 04, 2003

Website defacing contest
There's news about a 'hacking contest' on July 6th. Hold still, my dear website. :(

Campus news
(pronounced 'spidey'. Sounds like 'sidey'. We could have done better:-)
IIMB launches intranet SPIDI. There was a tremendous need of a unified campus-wide communications platform. Kudos to Sigma.

B. Sweden Day
Sweden day happening in campus this evening 1800 hrs.
(Mail from student Presi) Sweden Day is a part of Project India, which was initiated in November 2002 by ten students from the Stockholm School of Economics and the Royal Institute of Technology. The aim is to increase the cultural and commercial understanding between India and Sweden. The project is the tenth consecutive project conducted by students at the universities, and is split up in two parts; The first one is an academic report focusing on Indian students views and expectations of their future careers and employers, but also the other way around, looking at the companies expectations and requirements of their future employees. The report will be published in September and will be distributed among students at the two universities, and to other partners and interested faculties. The second part of the project is the arrangement of Sweden Day at the Indian Institute of Management here in Bangalore where we will present, to the students, Swedish culture and companies. The companies are given a chance to market themselves towards the students in a very different context, which we believe will strongly enhance the image the students will get, both of the companies present and of Sweden as a country.

C. Aarambh
Cultural show presented by Freshers' . Tommorrow (Saturday, July 05) evening 1730 hrs, Auditorium. Followed by usual till-dawn dance party.

D. Pt Vishwa Mohan Bhatt's performance
Sunday, 6th July, 1700 hrs, Auditorium. Orgainzed by Spicmacay and Centre for Public Policy (CPP).

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Just had G Block intro party. First year guys in block were intro-ed in traditional style (jhaadu as mike). This year though 2nd yr guys in our block got innovative and introduced a rating system for intros! So it became more like a beauty pageant even though guys were not really out to compete with each other! It was some sort of block baptization, whereby freshers were also christened based on whatever amusing came up in their intro! So junta got names like aunty, babban, teelu etc etc.. (Babban was nick given based on central character in a funny [read rugby] joke told by this guy. U get the idea how ppl got nicks.) My poor music system couldn't compete with the noise level of junta and on top of that, first time I found myself not playin so good music. Guess, I have to make a nice 'party playlist' sometime. Too much music is creating a selection problem! Oh, those pre-mp3 days of L-square parties where I had to deal with single-CD player and a double cassette deck on the mixer console to dish out the next song lest partying crowd should murder me!

Anyways, had good fun tonite. Although I hope, next year I wont have to see another batch! Too many batches seen already! Well, guess what: I thought the same last year too! That reminds me, I gotta quit bloggin and write my thesis.