Saturday, April 16, 2011

Tool: Search Everything – A wonderful File management tool for Windows

A significant amount of the time that we spend on our computers is around storing and retrieving files. As the amount of content grows, we as users tend to create complex folder structures and soon we get overwhelmed by the situation of not being able to retrieve the file we want quickly and many times not being able to retrieve the files at all!

The solutions that exist today in the form of desktop search engines from google, yahoo et al provide a deep capabilities on retrieving files based on content based text search. While there are great options, they come at a hefty cost of heavy indexing that consumes CPU storage and memory, making the machine slow many time unresponsive. Additionally these solutions seem an overkill as more than 80% of the time we are looking for files just based on their names and not their content.

Some time back i found a tool that just fits the above criteria of finding files fast without the burden of a typical Desktop search engine.

The tool called “search everything” from voidtools provides path and name based file management with a simple interface and provides explorer features to complement its search so that we as a user don’t feel the loss of some powerful explorer features.

It has helped me reduce time and effort drastically that i rarely use windows explorer additionally i occasionally amaze audience with the speed that i retrieve files during presentations and discussions.


Here are some salient points of Search everything

  1. its download footprint is ~ 500KB
  2. it works on the ntfs index and therefore is instantaneous on its index and file retrieval, if the disk drive knows, search everything knows
    1. a typical 500GB drives gets indexed in under a min. and remains instantaneous as changes are made.
  3. it provides both path, name and full name search
  4. its search provides regular expressions to do advanced search as described below
  5. it allows sort on every column that gets listed
  6. it provides all windows explorer commands on its outcome result + some additional features for the user
    1. regular, drag drop files into other applications as attachments
    2. all explorer commands on right click
    3. provides full name path as an option on right click, which is extremely useful in attaching files in some web services like gmail, etc..
  7. some limitations of the tool are
    1. only indexes ntfs drives for fat32 is out of bounds. would suggest a first time user to reformat USD flash drives and external HDD to NTFS to get maximum returns from
    2. based on file name search, so needs some discipline in file naming to get more purchase out of the tool.
    3. does not search file properties as that forms internal content of the file, this includes create date, modified date, file size etc.. such filters cant be applied

Some tips while using search Everything  that i follow to extract maximum juice out of this utility

  1. file naming becomes critical, so i add as much tags into the file  names while storing files including
    1. date of the file in ddmmyyyy
    2. context tags like person who sent it, the company, organization
    3. type of the file like whitepaper or report etc…
    4. a typical file name in my system would now be structured as below
      1. Infrastructure Sense Response viramdas black 201102 ssnet.ppt
  2. Using Advanced search to retrieve files better [voidtools provides a complete guide check that out, there is also a F1, chm help file ] from Everything
    1. ! is a an expression to exclude, this way some drives could be regularly excluded like C: in my case where only system files reside [!c:
    2. | can be used for OR search exp when looking for multiple doc extensions like ppt, pptx, doc, docx
      1. *.ppt* | *.doc* would be the search term
    3. Everything provides search options like whole word search and fullname search and case matched search, use based on the context

I have gained significant benefit from this tool and like the attitude of its author to provide it free with only expectation of a donation if the user finds it useful. I now consider this as a top 5 should have for all windows users, and after about 2 years  of use i have made the donation to the author.

This should be a standard feature on all enterprise image and i am surprised why microsoft have not done this as a core feature! Hope you will download and enjoy the tool and pass it on..

Friday, April 08, 2011

Whats makes Android a good choice for Phone buyers?

Phone is the Software - hardware will be commoditized

Steve jobs had remarked that “phone is the software” during the launch of the i-phone in 2006. This caused a marked shift in thinking of the phone based on a platform OS that helps enable hardware in varied ways for the user. And .. rightly so, today that the phone is all about how the hardware can be leveraged through software and network capability to manage user data and interactions. 

The advent of smart phones has caused a shift towards cloud, social and software based mobile computing, Hardware will gradually get commoditized and will play a supporting role to augment and help the software-network phenomena. This makes the first selling point for android, like i-phone it is a platform that enables leveraging mobile hardware in multitude ways for the end-user. As this market grows. we also see, that intel is dabbling with meebo a mobile platform to make up for lost ground to companies like qualcomm and ARM

Device convergence

The next major reason is device convergence. As the android platform is open and allows smart developers world wide leverage and build upon the hardware capability of the device, it results in a lot of gadget capabilities getting transfered as apps within the smartphone. Thereby resulting in convergence of devices into the smartphone.

Today the the following devices have become unnecessary due to the smartphone , watches, compasses, audio player, audio recorder, camera, video, flash light, music system, measuring tape, scale, gps-satnav, calculator game console and so on all have gotten converted into apps leveraging the generic computing capability of the phone

In the future more devices could converge into the phone like a micro projector and so on….

Software market place

The 3rd reason to go with the android is the power of the application market and volume of options available to the user. With the strength of google in developing well architected platform, developers have been encouraged to build innovative software that address many user needs. Several businesses are being built on the premise of a new interface medium in which users will interact and provide new revenue streams. With upwards of 100 thousand Apps and growing, the Android market provides a great reason for customers to buy-in. Though not as big as the i-phone market place yet, the Android market place does not lack in any of the key popular / successful apps that have drawn the attention of users worldwide. At the end i have listed some apps that i use regularly as a showcase of what is possible with the smartphone today.

Open Source and Open Platform

The master-stroke from google is to make the platform free and pretty-much open source offering to the market. Thereby, Google has abstracted itself from the software and is focusing on engaging with the customers through their services , the platform and other venues. By 2015, going by Gartners estimates of 600 Mn devices, would mean that google at a conservative USD5-10 / license, would have foregone anywhere between USD 3 BN nad USD 6BN in revenues.

Instead of revenues, Google has focused on providing two things, eventually low prices for the end-users through open platform and open source. This would be achieved as more handset OEM companies adopt Android and drive prices down. Secondly, google has also made it possible for many new and small companies in emerging markets fight established hegemonies far more easily by not having to focus on the more complex software part of the problem. This has enables companies like MicroMax in india  launch android phones at minimum time to market. This has helped bridge a east-west divide in technology where, the east have excelled in hardware but lagged in the capabilities of software product development seen in the west. Also users have benefited from the hardware innovation capability of the established players like Motorola, Samsung LG and HTC instead of waiting or depending on google to make hardware.

The platform is also open enough to morphing into various avatars thereby keeping innovation thriving. We see that verizon launched an android phone with bing as default search, and ideos [huawei] tablet being launched much earlier than any android tablet based on some OEM changes to android, these tablets have been around in the US market since August september 2010. and so on..

Additionally, Open source means the internal workings are published so that users get better integrated sotware. This ensures that Android is an evolutionary system and prevents stagnation. Standardization is another great benefit seen in Android. Examples are plenty, a few to showcase include, power management where the input is standard USB [ intel ] and thereby universal and interchangeable across all android phones. Even small things like headsets are being standardized to be both audio out and audio - video in and out so that the device can interact with a lot of entertainment equipmnent in the home. Standardization is manifest in the storage and file system. Unlike the i-phone users can view the phone as a standard USB store and dump files which would be indexed and provided based on the context like mp3 for songs inside the media player.

All of the above lead to open innovation across the value chain., enabled through collaboration between OEMS, Google, developers and special services companies where the market need not depend on one company to deliver all the aspects of the user experience.

Configurability of the platform

Open standards, open thinking means that the platform is also open to how the user wants the system to work for themselves. In Android, the system is open to to providing root access on phones for tech savvy users to explore the capabilities futher. Personalizaton of the phone is possible through custom skins and apps like launcher pro, tasker. Custom ROMs are available to replace the existing platform for the advanced users.

Input is critical in a device with a small limited form-factor like the smartphone. multiple keyboards inputs like swype, slideit etc.. along with multi language interface and even easy voice interface enhances the user experience. These features are easily configurable once downloaded from the market

The phone can be configured to the extent of location based profile settings using tools like Tasker. Tasker allows the user to customize the phone based on gps and the phone auto re-configures as the user walks near his office or other configured locations..

On the cloud

A major advantage of the modern smartphone, and so being the case with android is that these devices leverage the services provided on the cloud.

The phone transforms data and services on to networked servers providing user convenience of use and protection from loss. Additionally social and location networking ensures that user gains tremendously from the experience

In android, the platform is built with a focus to have data on the networks. Contacts and accounts are in the cloud. So are task management, calendars. The platform also provides powerful integration with other services like facebook and twitter. Media sharing through picture DB like flickr, picasa and facebook is possible. Most shopping is done through the phone with additional discovery information like recommendations. Coupled with location based features using GPS, The phone provides relevant filtering of the information for the context

SOA Architecture

Another highlight of Android is that its built as a collection of services. A closer study of its architecture shows that the platform provides a directory of services and a service publishing mechanism through which various apps can interact with each other in providing a seamless experience to the user. Some good examples are.

  1. From contacts, user can raising email into any emailing client
  2. Sharing: A picture with geo tagging can be shared into any storage services like picasa or facebook or evernote
  3. files can be additionally shared on network channels like bluetooth which appear in the service list and so on ..

As we think service architecture, the possibilities become infinite especially as the designer moves into business and enterprise applications

User Interface & Experience

Given the small form factor and the mobile usage of the phone, user experience becomes really critical to the user. In the past smart phones failed due to poor user interface, slow response and PC- thinking in their design. In contrast the Android platform [ and i-phone alike] provide a slew of reasons for the user to adopt a smartphone.

  1. Multi-touch capacitive screens have ensured that interface is simple easy and intuitive. Even a small child finds the phone easier to undertand than a PC or other devices, as i observed when my daughter uses the phone. Additionally the phone screen is increased provide real estate to enhancing the user experience
  2. Counter intuitively, the removal of a physical qwerty keyboard has enhanced experience through technologies like swype that would surely become the mainstay of user interaction in the future
  3. voice based controls and interactions have enhanced search capability, read out, write in especially when interacting with the phone in parallel to any other activity like driving
  4. The platform is designed for quick start up, quick app switch over thereby overcoming some of the pc like problems during boot
  5. The interface is simple and to the point .. no complications, most apps are designed for a few things and are actions based. They do that well... keeping both the form factor in mind and the conditions in which they would be used.

Networks convergence

Smart phones, android included provide a convergence of networks and thereby provide added capability. GPS, Bluetooth, Telecom [GSM, CDMA, TLE, 4G...] and Wifi combine to provide a seamless user experience.

Some examples include location based services, maps and satnav through the phone [ avoid an additional device]. Wifi tethering and hotspot access for other devices.. out of box from froyo 2.2. onwards..

Network convergence means a shift from IP over telephony to telephony over IP [VOIP / VidOIP]. As networks mature and migrate to high band capability like 3G and beyod, even voice and media will shift  to the mobile ip network. Long distance VOIP would become easy and a reality as in PCs and Apps like skype, fring nimbuzz and google voice are already there to provide the capability to call any location at nearly local / 0 call rates.. In addition video calling is standard feature from 2.2 froyo onwards in many apps..

Leveraging the Hardware

The Smartphone battle would be decided on how well the platform [OS] leverages the hardware innovatively. Some examples of what android does today are provided

  1. Accelerometer is a small gyroscope that provides feedback on movement of the phone. This has been used making the phone a gaming console, destroying the future of the PSP. This enables the phone in lifestyle applications like training, walking, spirit level, etc…
  2. GPS provide geo and location tagging and awareness enabling the phone to become locally aware and provide features like better search, location based services
  3. Camera IFR provide 2 benefits. firstly image processing for image based search as show cased in goggles and IFR to help measure distances
  4. Audio recording is used in voice call recording apps
  5. The phone through its storage and enhanced storage capability works as a media player
  6. Magnetometer that provides compass capabilities to the devices
  7. NFC : for payments, on the street nearby info

these make the Android smartphone a sure buy for any future phone user.

A Mind-map summary is provided for the user

Why Go For Android


Like there are lot of advantages, as user i have experienced some disdvantages that i list here

  1. Software based systemic issues like hanging [ some of the pc issues persist] low memory, low storage ... do exist
  2. The biggest disadvantage on Android is Fragmentation, this is a long term risk where due to excessive forking by OEMS and other projects, developers would find it difficult to support the platform. Platform issues may not be traceable thereby re-focusing energy from innovation to maintenance as it happens in enteprise IT projects
  3. Custom ROMs from OEM, dilute the effects of android’s original innovation. Samsung does not fully support Tethering and hotspot on its captivate phones.
  4. Slower updates, thanks to differing agendas of OEM, updates are slow to come by.
  5. Phone voice quality, software and background running services sometimes makes voice quality drop... but the question to be asked is how much will voice play a role in the future.. its already known that in the western markets, voice usage peaked around ~2007 and is in the down slide.
  6. Current cost are high  but would eventually be driven down thanks to open system and open source
  7. Battery life - drain - using all the devices
  8. Children would get addicted.. different lifestyles... my daughter now wants to play with the phone all the time and she is 4!
  9. In the us there are lock-ins with telecom provider making expensive long term contracts for the phones. Not an issue in other markets like india
  10. Vagaries of the clouds and single points of failure... in the recent past twitter facebook and even google have blinked on many occassions.. one of the fears for users is availability and security whihc would take time to get reliable and stable

As a user for the past 9 months here are some applications i would recommend to a new android buyer / adopter, this is a continuously evolving market and what i have listed is a small portion of whats out there at current time stamp.

  1. Games
    1. Arcade | Angry Birds, Break the blocks, trism
    2. Puzzles | Andoku, Sliceit, morontest, speedbrain,
    3. Drawing , coloring | Paint, Coloring - Dora, stickdraw
    4. Board | Chess
  2. Productivity
    1. Note Taking | Evernote, Memo
    2. Task Mgmt | gTasks
    3. Email | k9, mail droid, gmail app
  3. Information
    1. News | pulse, Scoreboard,
    2. Browser | Firefox
    3. Markets | Currency / XE Currency, Stocks
    4. Location Services | Yelp, Places [google], tripadvisor, Scvngr
    5. Shopping | Shopper, Amazon, NGPay 
  4. Media
    1. Music | Tune wiki, mixzing
    2. Pictures | just pictures
  5. Instrumentation
    1. Compass
    2. RealCalc – great calculator that emulates to hoary casio scientific
    3. Droid48 – is another emulation of the famed HP 48
    4. GPS Test
    5. Mobile metronome
    6. Smartmeasure | Uses IFR to provide distance measurement
  6. Utilities
    1. Keyboard | Swype, SlideIT Messagease
    2. Appaware | is a application search manager
    3. Skins | Launcher pro
    4. Tasker
    5. Battery mgmt | Juice defender
    6. Sys Mgmt | Mysettings, Quicksettings, SmartBar
    7. Task Manager | ATM
    8. Files Manager | Astro, file expert
  7. Social
    1. Facebook
    2. Twitter
    3. XDA
  8. Lifestyle
    1. Cardio Trainer
  9. Interesting
    1. Google Sky Map
    2. Jaataka | for the quint essential indian

Android is a complete systemic solution for the mobile user. As I say “ everyone is a android customer, it is just a question of time”

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Problem Management wihtin IT operations

IT operations is under considerable pressure to drive down costs, innovate and provide better services to its customers. Problem management forms a key cog in shaping these objectives to some extent. Here are my thoughts on how organizations can adopt problem management within operations.

Problem Management can be considered as helping improve the characteristics of services in the long term for IT operations. Taking the view of ITIL v3, and the 360 view of operations, problem can help improve the services on 2 dimensions

  • service warranty  >> how does capacity, BCP security impact failures and how can these risks be mitigated
  • service utility >> how are architectural decisions in infrastructure, application and functional design of applciation creating issues or problems for sustainable reliable IT operations per service

With this in view problem management can initiate root cause analysis using
  1. Reactive incident failure mode effects and analysis
  2. Incident , requests trends
  3. Pro-active performance analytics of key services using End user monitoring and system component performance monitoring
Root cause analysis is then followed by actions either through
  1. CR that modify system utility and warranty characteristics
  2. SIP initiatives that help improve non- delivery based capabilities of operations
from this perspective we also see that problem management is closely linked service design processes and CSI

What is critical to problem management success is that the operations maintain high visibility and transparency to their work within IT operations, ensures proper chinking and packaging of solutions to initiate continuous improvement and change within IT operations, provide the necessary tooling infrastructure to help diagnose infrastructure problems on an on -going basis and finally and most importantly, ensure that problem management is a common shared interest and is driven bottoms up by IT operations personnel across the board.

The management aspects of problem management that are indicators of success are, in-process knowledge management tools, lean based throughput accounting of problem reporting to management and finally maintaining a single queue of requests through which all problems, errors and changes and managed [ also helps provide higher visibility to the entire people base.

As has been niftily described in the following article, shit - happens and problem management cannot eliminate the need for incident management but a good problem management can remove the unnecessary overhead and help IT resources focus on bigger and more exciting issues facing IT today.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

DSN in the home – 5 Generation DSN idea?

The other day I was watching a movie where the main character has a large screen in her house for tracking an unknown killer. Through the screen she watches the killers video live and has other consoles for tracking the location and viewing other information. This scene set my thoughts thinking, until recently I have been involved in designing a very special Digital signage network that has been named outdu and is in the process of redefining the DSN media business.

The original idea of outdu is to consolidate all DSN networks to make a single internet based network of digital signs which would ensure that advertisers and content owners can access screens anywhere through a single management medium, outdu.

The design of outdu involves many business and technology innovations in scheduling, content transfer, retail response, in content ownership on screens, rights management, screen layout and playout management, managing conflict of interest, content publishing, control and finally specialized content roll out. The key theme in the design being the ability to manage diverse network interests in a single network medium.

As I watched this movie, I realized that the design of the outdu DSN network considered all sorts of networks from single screen to large networks and in commercial from retailer to enterprise to education networks , the common theme has been commercial screen networks. There were specific reasons in terms of monetizing the screens and generating revenue. Also that the idea being at a relatively nascent stage, it would need more push to sell to extreme applications. Some other elements in design which I am sure outdu will accomplish eventually include,

  1. blue-swarming / couponing using blue tooth to engage viewers in advertising and promotions
  2. Local context based information dissemination distribution, for e.g. 1 single advertisement but location specific dealer / contact details
  3. mobile location sensitive signage
  4. P2P signage messaging
  5. Flexible multi layer multi section playout and layout.
  6. flexible self optimized price discovery mechanism etc…

I have for the past few months not been involved with the outdu team though I have kept myself in touch with the progress of outdu and the industry and technology. Recently when I watched this movie and the memories of similar movies like the 6th day in addition to developments in technology that I have kept myself tagged onto, set my mind thinking.

What if the DSN entered the home?

The scenario today is that this does not make sense and that the contraints are justified. Some of the constraints include: the cost of DSN is very high to justify private retail deployment in contrast to the commercial deployment, the deployment is messy and complex therefore making it difficult to place it anywhere in the home, the content is not user centric, nor is the screen of any particular use to the household. What if this scenario changes? What if the design overcomes these problems and the technology environment gets suitable, can we build a Home DSN network?

To think on these lines, we need to breakdown the needs of the household and look at what the enablers are? Some key enablers I list below :

  1. The screen technology has to be interactive and non obstructive. OLED and touch screen techologies are becoming more of a reality and these requirements could be met. This will enable deploying screens ubiquitously in the household without any inconveniences.
  2. OLED enables screens to be flexible, size is not a constraint small to large screens, the screens is a thin veneer that can be embedded in many surfaces. This helps placing the screen in the home and outside easily. Cost is the constraint but size and area constraints are removed.
  3. So the technology is available to cater to the home market needs, flexible, embedded, size no matter, and touch screen for interactivitiy. What about the value to the household? The screen should mean something to the end user, like the iphone. If designed well, the screen can play multiple roles in the house hold like
    1. soft control center for all utilities like lighting, AC fans,
    2. Interactive information center , notice board for interested content and news for the family
    3. Productivity and planning device in terms of alerts, sticky – notes , which can be transferred to the mobile when needed.
    4. Security screen for the home linking up to cameras within the COMPLEX [ for apartment complexes, the homes can have access to some common cameras within the complex other than those around the home ]
    5. Service console for many house hold services like cleaning, maintenance , whitegoods, ….
    6. It could also double up for entertainment if designed well.
    7. Finally the deal maker for the family where the user picks her choice of product interests and any good deals are published on the screen for action, like

i. There is a furniture sale in this location on this Date, category , photos etc..

ii. Based on specific interests defined, the screen can also publish advertisements , feedback from customers

Points g.ii, g.i and the overall solution can form the revenue stream / model

The evolution of the Digital Signage has been

1. 1st generation :: offline screens with local players and content

2. 2nd generation :: Private networks of screens. These have either been networked with central control or managed manually through sneaker nets. These ,networks have typically been for private / local use

3. 3rd Generation :: like outdu, network aggregators where single network will span multiple diverse networks ownership and by content needs

4. 4th generation :: extended integrated networks with extensions like :: extension of space into networks, extension to interact with the capability to sense and response, extension into motility through moving local aware screens, extension into promotional action through couponing, extension into glocalization through multilayer content in whihc certain layers are localized.

5. 5th Generation :: public networks for private needs in the home and else where with personal management as described above.

These are the thoughts that makes me look at the market again, in outdu design the question was how many screens? We were looking at anywhere around a 1mn screens commercially deployed, additionally if we make this a cellular- mobile network then we could look at 100s of millions of screens. The day the screen reaches the home then we can confidently think of another 50 -100 Mn screens in a mature market scenario with a ball park of 25 – 50 Bn USD market potential from the home market.

It will be interesting to see who will occupy the space first.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Visited 2 places similar yet vastly different

Over the weekend I drove down to Chennai for a short 2 day visit some very interesting experiences worth mentioning in a blog. The purpose of the visit was to get my B1 visa for the USA and I set off on the journey with a lot of preparation both in documentation for the administrative process required by the consulate and mental preparation from our company admin team on how difficult the process is and the care needed to be taken in terms of the questions asked the answers to be given etc..

I drove down as flights are getting increasingly a nuisance of an option, getting to and out of the airport, airport waiting time delay in take off and landing and no freedom of movement once in Chennai. I also ruled out train or bus with the need to visit a temple on route to Chennai, this is a place that is rapidly gaining popularity for its 100% clad golden temple. This temple is located in sripuram, 7 km off vellore and is part of the narayani peetam founded by a swami who goes by the name “shakthi – Amma”

I started on a Sunday morning @ 7:00 hours and my drive was eventless until I passed vellore by around 10:00 hrs and I decided Id put a visit to the temple, on reaching the temple I saw a crowd as bad as tirupathi and decided that its better to come back on Monday on my return when crowds would be lesser than the weekend fare. Having lost 1 hour of time in the detour I proceeded again on to Chennai, The road as usual is great until one reaches the end of the toll road @ madura vayol about 10 km from proper Chennai, it’s a mess there on and normally its caravan like progress. Having reached my check in destination, Deccan plaza on royapettah high road [ off RK Salai] I quickly went of for an afternoon siesta. Deccan plaza is an interesting place for the vegetarian traveler, 100% vegetarian, decent rooms , decent price, not so good food! Though!. Evening having woken up I watched parts of both the IPL matches which were not captivating enough, I have missed out on most of this IPL season without cable connection in my new rented apartment. I have intentionally left out cable for some peaceful evenings without having to be glued to TV. The downside has been no IPL.

The next day was Visa day, the interview being 10:45, I was able to catch up with a friend over dosa @saravana [ the singular dosa option of Chennai!] and catch up on some samachar from his end. The interview began with sweltering heat of Chennai sun on the side walk , thankfully due to the scheduling mechanism, the crowd was minimal. After 15 min of pure sweating and a document check outside I was inside. The consulate has some rules, no electronic gadgets, [ cellphones cameras etc.. are all no no] , no sealed envelopes etc… The consulate would have loved having the Mahatma over for visa processing no paraphernalia! I also observed that the even the security guard was arrogantly offensive, knowing that he represents the US government and not INDIA! That shows how certain countries have gone about building their brands! Once inside the process was a breeze very unlike the heavy preparations we were asked to go through back @ the company. In about 5 mins and a cheerful exchange with the Visa officer I was off [ will remember this simple process in contrast to the complicated perception of it outside!] back to the sweltering hot reality of Chennai outside.

With the primary work of the visit done, I was back on my way to home town with a pending visit to sripuram temple, with some time saved, I also squeezed in a pit stop @ kanchipuram , its shankar mutt [ some Indian words are difficult and funny to transliterate! This specific word transforms into a school subject or something canine! when transliterated.] and temples. When I reached Kanchipuram @ 14:00 hours, a pit stop is all it it turned out to be as the temples were closed for the afternoon and would open only 16:00 hours. Filled petrol and with a 1 hour wasted detour was on my way to sripuram. Also bought a raw mango [ kilimooka manga] for lunch

In about an hour and a ½ I was entering the sripuram temple. As I was entering the temple I was told to drop off all cameras and cellphone and any other gadgets that I may have on myself. With this kind of security, no cellphones, etc… along with the typical no footwear, I realized the outwardly similarity to the Us consulate, there are vast differences though. The consulate is an entry for material pursuits in the USA the sripuram temple is to get rid of material pursuits / intentions atleast for a while.

What an amazing temple, the swami got a vision when he was about 12 years old and the legend goes that the goddess herself has taken possession of him at that early age and he has thereafter been able to realize a higher state of being and goes about doing some magical stuff for people around him and the locality. He has in any case built up a large organization called “ narayani peetam”. Narayani is the goddess formed from the combination of the trinity of goddesses Lakshmi Sarawati & Parvati. His latest projects is the Sripuram [ the temple complex is in the form of a 6 sided star with the main temple in the center ] temple built fully on gold and inaugurated last august [2007]. This temple was constructed to attract even the faithless [ on the pretext of the amazing] so that they can experience spirituality and be converted internally. The temple is a “gold” standard on how to build and run temples. Beautifully maintained lawns, a 1.5 km walk-through along the sri-chakra [ the six sided star] , with a collection of wise words from “shakthi –amma”.

The temple itself is a beautifully carved and clad in gold with a water moat around it. It is not bigger than any typical temple. The records have it that 1500 kg of gold have gone into the building of the temple. And is surely worth 1 visit. You could visit the online pages of the organization at

With the temple visit done I was back on the fast track to Bangalore, this was a memorable week , with 2 similar places that I visited in terms of security with such differing purposes / outcomes.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Twenty Twenty is for FORTY FORTY!

there has been a lot of comment that t20 is a format for young people and not for the old, a lot of the criticism recently being piled on Royal Challengers fortune being linked to old guys in form of chanderpaul, Kallis Dravid and co...

I beg to differ, actually my hypothesis is that t20 is for older people who have the right mindset for the game, therefore the key is mindset and not age, in contrast for age, actually test and oneday is more for youngsters.

here goes the argument

1. in IPL T20 a lot of crickers performing at the top end of the spectrum like warne mc grath jaya suriya, ganguly in flashes, gilly, zaheer khan, sehwag, shoaib, hussey, and tendulkar in the future [ hasnt showed his class yet!] are all no diaper babies in cricket most of them well past 30 , are uncles, and some reaching grandpa status of 40! like jayasuriya . in his 42 ball 100 i dint see a glint of his age? nor do we in mcgraths

2. Actually if we see the trend with money flowing in a lot of the old guys are happily giving up their international cricket for t20 in ICL also there a lot of these old foggies who are trading their wares @ world class levels.

3. the reason is simple we need to look at ourselves and get some ansers, i am 33 below fitness cricket freak in a corpor environment, can i play 20-20 game, 50-50 1 day or a 5 day test? well at the business end of a 5 day test will the be the end of business a certain vishwanath! we all prefer t20. Corpo cricket for a long time has been t20, think about it 4 overs to bowl a few fields ops in the out boundary and a couple of swings is what makes a T20 evening out. Even the bowling does not need brash energy like ishant, rather some guile and keeping the batsmen guessing works better, so if you bowl ud rather jog down observe the batsmen and keep him guessing than run in like a bull on rampage! look @ balaji his innocuous bowling has been decently effective so has warne too!

4. in contrasts 10 overs or 100 overs in steaming sun or even further bowling ~ 60 overs across 5 days or btting to a 300 the runs in 1s and 2s is harassment is human rights violations, once one is above 30+

5. So what makes it into t20, hit the ball attitude, good reflex [ this is one thing against the uncles!] guileful bowling and enjoying the game is all that is required

so long live the old uncles , i think Jayasuriya can play IPL for 6 more years and entertain crowds like never before, because guys like him have the talent, proven it and can now extend their careers by another 4-5 years easily unlike the past where they would have had to retire when 35 -37 max.

I end with the argument that royal challengers royal challenge is to get up forget the classic style legacy cricket aka dravid and kallis [ i admire this guy even recently in a paki series he made a few centuries tests albeit!] and just go for some unrestrained hitting and some fun..


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Many friends and colleagues have asked me to list down all the websites that I keep talking about in a central location so that it is easy to refer in the future. So I took the advice and set out listing all those from memory that makes great use for an individual of my type. My type cant be described in a few words and I will let the website links do the talking

So here is the gopu44 list of useful websites as on January 25, 2008 at the airport in Mumbai waiting a delayed flight. Like all personal lists in this infinite information cyberspace this is only an iota of what is and what you can get. Mine is a list that I have gotten to like a lot and use often.


As this blog is on sites, where best to start than the online bookmarkng facilities. > the pioneer in this area, also one of the 1st sites to innovatively name themselves and move beyond the .com mindset. Lots of sites have followed suite.

The other options include:

Learning never stops

One always wants an upgrade whether its software cars tech-gadgets or knowledge ! that’s the constant pursuit reality of human existence, for knowledge upgrades, the world has become easier through the open courseware project iniated by MIT, and followed by many other universities finally culminating in the opencourseware consortium [http//]. The MIT site has basically thrown open all course material on the web and you can go do you game theory or advanced electronics fundamentals there, these are also augmented by great classroom videos now being hosted by and

Other references that I dig into are : English language history through as I look for linkages between languages across the planet.

Then I do crosswords and puzzles and look for anagrammatic combinations, sites like is really handy are really handy. ; helps find phrases and words from wild card entries therefore even helping your poetry prose or branding exercises. So all words ending in –phobia if you are quizzer and want a quick run down on that then just put in *phobia and you get the whole 9-yards.

For English reference there are a plenty of sites and my frequent water hole is

Then the inquisitive mind is never satiated, some of the old time sites are great locations to look for info > [ the English man that I am!]; and alternatively ; ; ;

Finance and Business

I have delved in stocks for some time and sites like ; ; are very useful for stock quotes and company and industry information.

Management Reference

Being a consultant & in management activities it is critical to gather information and facts in projects. Data gather from external is a critical to the success of a project, some such sites are, ; > provides info on all happenings in our continent ; > info on companies; > economic journal on the; gives some good

I have been bitten by the TRIZ innovation bug, TRIZ stands for theory of Innovative problem Solving in Russian Analgram, useful for my work and how I organize and break down problems in People managmenet, Business and technology the reference sites for TRIZ are : ; ;;

Patent Search

TRIZ says that ~ 98% of you innovative problem solving need has already happened. Either you are going to be the application artist who learns from the past [98%] or sheer genius [2%] who is just about to change the way the world perceives. Likely hood you are the artiste! TRIZ says to be the artiste, one step [ in the ARIZ framework ] is to identify generic solutions for your generic problem [ read triz for further understanding]. The way out is to search for how people have solved their problems by reading through their patents. Some good patent search sites are: ; ; ; ; &

Then there is which can convert any USPTO patent into a pdf file for local saving and sharing.

Legal reference

Being in management and searching other patents needs legal advice !! It is also useful to track what is happening in the legalo-sphere and sites like & provide not only news but also regular weekly email on whats happening and not.

Search Code easy

Even though I come from an MBA background I have dabbled with code and software and continue to active code in VBA, perl and SQL [ if that can be called coding!] so the assistance on the web is for code search utilities like ; ; and googles own

Jobs search

Freedom is an expression of being able to move from one job to another. There comes a time when you want to gauge your market-ability; job search is useful here and these sites are useful beyond the well known job portals > google like search interface, meta-search engine on all job sites wonderful utility;

Personal Interest

Personally I do research and study on ancient Indian history and philosophy and I find these sites useful :

Then there is this bug to know whats cool and happening, amazon has come up with an interesting site which is a social ranking site for any topic from restaurants to books etc.. check out

For white page listing in India nothing like ;

While google or yahoo maps are seriously awesome sites, is a great map tagging utility where one can [using google maps API ] identify locations of interest on the map. Don’t be surprised to find your local mall & theater mapped into this site.

For Indian filmy music download of high quality check out also check out provides comparison of sites with some very interesting insight. I will leave it to you as to what you take from this site. Say compare, and helps extract videos from and

Open Source and Free software

The open source wave is bringing new tides of change to the world of IT whether it is the enterprise or the personal PC.

The complete repositories of FOSS [Free & open source software ] are found at ; ; . these are like project portal for FOSS where you can get download, help and wikis.

If you are searching for FOSS then sites like ; help search and catalog FOSS software.

For the desktop there is or

Finally I worked in performance optimization and testing of software and infrastructure in an very interesting phase of my life, is a veritable source for such tools and techniques you can also get direct gyan from by searching the right keyword combo.

Pictures and images

A picture is worth a 1000 words and presentations need them, sites like ; ; ; are good sources for searching images using keywords. Better than the google / yahoo image search.

Beware! >> You would get high quality professional pictures here.

Unique document shares

A website that helps upload ones personal fantasies of thought and search for those of others in diverse subject areas very useful stuff here to instigate thought

Go search a presentation that you would like

Gadget reference & Purchase

We are in a gadget world, we like to surround and surround sound ourselves with electonics and radiation. Some great sites for comparing the best poisons are : ; ; ;

Once you have been poisoned then comes the support issue, & may help!

Science and general reference

Certain things from school never go away, interest in general stuff or basic maths geography stats etc.. etc.. some sites of that nature >;;;; for tech reference.


For book buying in India this may not be a well known site but is very good,

Torrents and file shares

40% I hear is the packet share of torrenting across all TCP bandwidth usage of the internet today. If you are not torrenting you are not happening! Some starting points > seriously illegal sounding site.

Miscellaneous personal pursuits

Random walk theory I believe in and like the chaotic universe is our lives, the next moment however well predicted or predicated has its own surprises, so be random. The result is interesting interests! Like where one can search people out, there are other good alternatives too. a great site for EXCEL resources like add-ins and code. While there may be many video scraping utilities for offlining youtube / google videos, is a great SAAS. If you want to know feel and be amazed by web 2.0 happening sites go to is a great web design reference site managed by Jacob Nielsen a design guru. Then for movies reviews and facts there are or