Sunday, April 18, 2010


Red eye without a shot of espresso, managed to transfer DXB-MXP without hitches but with an increased level of security checks common in transit airports like DXB.

Onboard EK093 watched 2012 and Bug's life. 2012! what an irony considering that I'll be in the Vatican this coming Wednesday.

Very impressed with articles in the FT of London. The piece "Scourge of God" by Amanda Mitchison who interviewed 62 year Philip Pullman, a lesser known writer in this part of the world, author of "His Dark Materials", a trilogy that features Adam and Eve recast as children and death of God! Its been made into a movie "The Golden Compass" starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. When it comes to writing on semiotics or biblical stuff my favourite has been Umberto Eco whose place I am to land in a few hours. "In the name of the Rose" and "Foucault's Pendulum" are two of his masterpieces. But here is a new author I've discovered, Pullman, his next book "The Goodman Jesus and Scoundrel Christ" was the one that Amanda Mitchison discussed with him over lunch at a fine London restaurant. Free flowing prose describing in detail the person, the lunch, the author and his works .

The author article that caught my eye was "Green Eggs and Ham" by Madur Jaffrey. I thought that she only wrote cookbooks and hosted cookery shows on TV. I was surprised that she wrote a piece for the FT. Savouring the seasonal cooking of San Francisco. The anticlimax was "..Would we like a pizza. She wants to know. Of course it is not any Pizza, it is carpeted with the smallest smokiest fresh morel mushrooms I have ever beheld." Maam with due respect you should visit Napoli. While in Italy I have eaten Pizza in all cities that I have visited and though haven't been to the restaurant yo mentioned in SFO, I can bet the ones in this European country are far better than ones in the rest of the world especially the ones that come from Napoli.

The third article "A lot in the bottle" was about a new entrant to the Tennessee Whiskey, Benjamin Prichard who's cocoction of Corn Whiskey and Single Malts is likely to give the established players Jack Daniels and George Dickel (sour marsh corn whiskey) a run for their bottle!

The last article was "Practical Stress Relief" on creating a work life balance and how amateurs are now running business by sheer passion . The article highlights a a few things that we fail to notice in our busy lives. The 20th century was shaped by the rise of professionals while in the 21st century highly educated and networked amateurs who work to professional standards in areas as diverse as Astronomy, Banking, politics and Technology will have a revolutionary effect on society especially around innovations. That explains the success of TV shows like "Super Singer" in our channels. Check out Life Hacker for your daily dose of DIY.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Two Nice Articles in today's newspaper

This morning's newspaper had two interesting articles one on Ubuntu's latest release Karmic Koala and the other on encouraging FOSS at the school level.

Last week I installed Ununtu on an old Acer Laptop and was surprised by the speed at which the installation was complete. Of course it downloads about 500+ packages once you boot and connect to the net. I guess every other OS in the world does the same.

Read the complete articles here

New Ubuntu version makes software installation easy
Project to encourage Free and Open Source Software use at School level

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Intalio - Getting Your First Process Right

I have been hooked onto Intalio ever since I discovered it in the last week of July 2009. I did have some hiccups in installing the designer, mainly with the version of JDK. Having installed it I then had issues with starting Geronimo because of my Browser and Mail client followed by issues in using the web service. Though the documentation on the Intalio community web site is helpful its rather fragmented and difficult for a first timer to get a grip on it. The boarders on the forums are helpful but it takes a few days before someone posts to your questions. I thought I should supplement the available information on the Intalio web site with a document of my own that illustrates the installation process and how to get your first process right. This I hope helps a beginner and removes the frustration of having to search through various posts to get your first BPM right. You can find it here. You'll need any Open Office compatible wordprocesser to view it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Retro - Toranado Bamboo

While I work out the future course of the blog and its contents here is my latest acquisition. The Retro Tornado Bamboo. Picked this up at the William Penn store at the Terminal 1D, Delhi Airport.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Change in content

The blog is in for some window dressing. I have made changes to the template and hence the new look and feel. I've decided to focus my y blogging on Business Processes and Re-engineering, BPM and BPEL. To this end I've made changes to several aspects of the blog. One noticeable change has been the byline. "My views on software and occasional posts on my hobbies" has been removed as this not reflect the purpose of the blog. The new byline is "Swimlaning process for your business".

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Twitter is the latest craze in Social Media. I hopped onto to this micro-blogging platform a couple of months back to make sense of all the noise. I tweet, but not very often, nor am I able to set up Twitter on my Treo. This morning newspapers carried two radically different opinions on Twitter.

The Hindu's syndicated piece from The Guardian UK traces the reasons behind the remarkable rise of Twitter while The Times of India carries a news item that quotes a survey commissioned by Morgan Stanley which says that its "Not Cool" among teens.
I plan to continue tweeting.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Reading as a Habit

I seem to have come a long way since I read my first book, Enid Blyton’s The Secret Seven that I borrowed from a local library some 30 years back. Noddy, Asterix and TinTin saw me through Primary School while Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys kept me company through my days in High School. Summer Holidays were spent reading, Reading in the morning, in the afternoon and in the night. Sometimes three Hardy Boys’ books in one day! I then graduated to more mature authors like Agatha Christie, Irving Wallace, Ken Follet, Alister Maclean, Arthur Hailey, Jeffery Archer, Sydney Sheldon and other contemporaries. A good book can be very gratifying. The ones I have read brought out the setting in such vivid detail that the lingering taste of Stout on my tongue or the directions to Saville row comes from books. During School and College I spent most of the time reading Fiction and was addicted to it for over fifteen years. Sometime during my stint in Mumbai I discovered the literary world – Non Fiction, since then I have hardly read any works of Fiction, one exception though has been Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Literally one thing led to another and today I am surrounded by books on various arcane (not in my opinion) subjects – From Freud’s Interpretation of dreams to John Adam’s Wealth of Nations. Looking back I sometimes wonder, How did one thing lead to another? How did reading become so addictive? What do others have to do to develop reading as a habit? Here are some notes from my trunk.

An excellent way to start is to read a page a day. Or better still read when you have your morning tea. Read while commuting to work. Place books by your bedside table and read before going to bed. .You’ll be surprised you would have read more than a page.

Pick up something that interests you. It could be the latest Jeffery Archer thriller or some self improvement guides. But pick up something interesting and something that you need not plough through by brute force.

Carry a book with you. You’ll be surprised at the opportunities you get to read a page. Take a book while you commute to work, take it during a journey. If there is time when you have to wait like for an appointment with a doctor you just flip it open and read a few pages.

Make a list of books that you want to read. Better still make a list of books that you want to buy. You can maintain a journal where you can write this down. During the course of your reads you would come across interesting anecdotes or facts Note these down in your journals. You can also create a list on Amazon and add to it. This way you would also get a picture of the cover. Literary reviews appear in every major newspaper and magazine. Cut the interesting ones and paste them in your journal. Use your Journal to keep a log of all your reads. You can also write a short review piece on each of the books you have read along with the start and Finish dates.

Enroll in a library. Its possibly the cheapest way to get access to books. The next best option is to visit a second hand book shop to get dirt cheap books.

Enroll yourself in a good Book Club. The weRead Book Club on Facebook is probably the most popular network for Books. They also have a list of top 200 books that one should read during a lifetime. It’s a good place to start.

And finally turn of the television, the cellphone, your gaming devices and be off the Internet.

My reading habit has broadened my horizons, made me savor life that would have other wise been boring, it has made me taste stuff that I would have never dared, it has taken me places that I have never been to. After all there is no point in being literate if all you do everyday is to watch soap.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Firefox 3.5

Spread Firefox Affiliate Button

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Being Organised - DIY Planner

For several years I have been using a leather planner from "Business India". To Order refill pages and other forms I ticked the items I wanted in the ordering sheet and sent it along with a cheque to "Business India" and this continued every year for the yearly refill pack untill sometime after the year 2000 "Business India" decided to stop the planner refills. So I had to settle for "Business Today" and later "Sanka" from Landmark (the book store) but then getting this in time for my yearly planning exercise (just before christmas) was a pain. At times I could procure these yearly refill pages only during mid Jan. This threw all my planning out of gear untill I discovered DIY Planner.

This blog is dedicated to personal productivity solutions and offers a software application - Dynamic Templates that prints out planner pages. I use the 2 page per day format by printing these on an A4 stationery with two pages per sheet and using the duplex option to print like a booklet. I created my own templates for Itinerary Sheet, Project Planning, Notes. I use a simple two ring binder to keep it all together. Will post pictures of it soon.

I am creating additional templates and adding more capabilitites to my binder like having a pen loop, a place to keep post-it flags, a transperent sleeve to carry stuff, a business card sleeve and a lot of other stuff. Will post the photos of the project soon.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Flexible Keyboard

I watched "Die Hard 4 - Live Free or Die Hard" this past Sunday and was intrigued by the gadget used by the protagonist hacker Farrell (played by Justin Long) - a flexible keyboard. It appears in the scene where Mai Linh (played by Maggie Q) starts the shutdown procedures for the powerplant. Also visible are two Smartphones/PDA's similar to the HP iPAQ.

Checked out the pricing of the flexible keyboard on Indiaplaza it costs about Rs 844 and you get to take one free when you buy one.

Also visible in the movie is a white iPOD. Its in the scene when Fareell and McClaine (played by Bruce Willis) meet WarLock (played by Kevin Smith) in his command centre.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Objects of Desire

I love gadgets and so that first thing that caught my eye was the launch of the new phone from Palm the Palm Pre. Stunning looks and very functional, Initial reports on engadget and gizmodo place it ahead of the Iphone in many aspects. Being a palm fan and an owner of the Treo 680 I'm looking forward to acquire one. Awaiting the pricing info in the meantime, If Rumours rae to be believed it going to be first launched in the US by Sprint at about $399. Looks like we'll have to wait a bit longer for the unlocked version.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Integration Live

Its been business as usual for the last nine months. Successfully completed and cut over to production of an important integration project in first week of Oct 08. It involved integrating the retail assets portfolio of two leading banks in India. Used native SQL for code snippets for the ETL portion. Oracle databases at both source and destination but still posed several challenges. For the tech stuff read the Oracle guy's blog here.

Suse Enterprise Desktop 10

My Windows XP laptop is down and so borrowed my better half's Acer (TravelMate 2403NWXCi) loaded with Suse Enterprise Desktop 10. Great speed in rendering the TFT screen. Haven't got to configuring the WiFi and the software updater to read from the Suse Repository. Is Open Suse a better option. Looking forward to some ideas?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Firefox 3

Download Day 2008

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Social Networking

In the good old days when friends wanted to catch up, we would cycle to the nearest shack and sit on stone benches sipping Masala Chai and voicing our take on the world that past week.

Over the years things changed. All of us went in search of greener pastures after College and for a few years we relied on terrestrial phones to keep in touch with each other. Often these used to result in multiple calls with an unwritten code on who would call whom, but then those were the days dialing was a lot easier then cycling. For a brief period, with the advent of computers came BBS (Bulletin Board Services) hosted by geeks with deep pockets for a subscription fee. Though it was popular amongst the nerd crowd, it vanished into cyberspace without a blip and soon was replaced by Email. It was a privilege having an email id and for about two years it served as a means for keeping in touch. You had to pay for an Email account until Sabeer Bhatia changed the rules of the game with HotMail and then all of a sudden you were connected with everyone across the world – you could send the same mail to you classmates working in India or to those studying abroad.

Connectivity was still limited to using Hotmail at Work! And so for about two years till Yahoo introduced IM, Hotmail was the means of keeping in touch. During these years connectivity improved and so did the popularity of Instant Messengers like Yahoo. Yahoo essentially improved upon the IRC (Internet Relay Chat) which was used to run the BBS’ and made it work on HTTP over TCP/IP. So now I had an official mail account, a personal mail account on Hotmail, a Yahoo mail and IM account. Managing addresses on these servers and syncing them to your paper based organizers became a nightmare. Disruptions in internet models continued to happen and soon businesses jumped onto the bandwagon to exploit this annoyance as a business opportunity.

First on the scene was Plaxo. A web based application that managed your business contacts. It would read your email client’s address book and store all the mail addresses on its servers and at some predetermined intervals send mail to these recipients asking them to update their contact details obviously the mail would also encourage the recipient to sign up. It was a large database of contact information with almost something about everybody who had nothing but an email id! This heralded the first step in Social Networking. Where you could exchange notes without the hassle of sipping cocktails and handing out business cards. Obviously someone could see that Plaxo had a one is to one relationship when in reality the relationship was many to many.

Then slowly on the scene came Social Bookmarking, where as you traverse the web, you flag interesting pages and share it on sites like Stumble Upon,, furl, spurl, etc, for others to discover. Like this you built up a collection as you unearthed little treasures while traveling through the web and shared it with others, the sites on their part ranked these bookmarks based on the number of people who clicked on them. As the bookmark collections grew exponentially, you tagged them with keywords to make these links easier for others to locate.

If you could share your links, then you could and would, obviously want to share your snaps. Flickr was the first one to answer this inner calling. You posted your snaps, tagged them and then flagged it Public, if you want others to see. Others saw left comments for you to respond. You responded and they responded and so the story goes. Over the years things have changed, the anonymity that internet offered by allowing you create the avatar you wanted to portray to the world, resulted in several so called value added social networking sites, that combined all the above features, sprouting like wild oats strewn across cyberspace. My first invite was to join Orkut followed by Hi5 followed by LinkedIn and then Followed by FaceBook then followed by something then something else until I stopped responding to invites. But the invites continue to pour in.

But first Orkut, it took a little under 3 minutes to sign-up and then allowed me to search for friends by name or their known Avatar. Then pictorially tag them based on their “coolness” you could also assign other pre-defined sobriquets. You posted scraps on your friends scrap book and they reciprocated the gesture by posting scraps on yours. Anything goes. The more stupid, the merrier. The person with most scraps was the most popular. There are other silly stuff you can do on Orkut to get cheap thrills – Declare someone as Hot Babe or Cool Guy by assigning little hearts. Express yourself was the motto. But then all excesses should come to a stop. You could find hoards of people realizing that this pastime was addictive and boldly declaring that they would stay away from Orkut much to the chagrin of their cyber buddies, many of whom didn’t have a form other than their online Avatars.

However in the dark recesses of the internet were small evils waiting to strike. Soon MW.Orc masquerading as an image file copied itself to other peoples scrap books and propagated itself until Orkut’s staff identified and removed it only to be hit by other JavaScript Fauna. Of late Orkut has deprecated its nonsense features like coolness and Hotness to a more sober and calm interface like those on Facebook.
My next invite was from, I don’t remember who, to Linked In. I signed up not to disappoint a friend. LinkedIn allowed me to import all my contacts from my Nokia, Thunderbird Client, Yahoo and Google address books. LinkedIn is strict business networking and limits personal expression to a photo and a resume. Contacting others is always through an intermediary thus reducing the annoyance of unsolicited invites. But it could do better. I still have a few invites to accept.

Then came an invite to Hi5 and the Psychedelic MySpace that allows me to decorate pages with background images and themes. These punk accoutrements were so heavy to render that they crashed my browser. The chaos was so intense that its been sometime since I checked out what’s happening to my network on these sites. I did like listening to free music on Hi5 and flagging my favorites. However I dread visiting them for fear of unsolicited mail and spam.

I discovered Facebook early this year. Facebook allows you to add applications (developed by third part developers) that enable you to share restaurant reviews (Local Picks), reviews on Books (Books IRead), You Tube Videos and a host of other Trivia. I can stuff a lot of things in my SandBox even without buying them. My friends can post notes on the Wall to grab my attention. MyMusic allows me to listen to my favourite track while Qloud will update the tracks I am listening on ITunes to my Facebook Profile! However, everytime I install these small applications they have access to my personal data on Facebook which legally allows them to target unsolicited advertising. The NewsFeed application informed me a few days back that Ajay Alex and Ravi Jerome Barnes are now friends, as though they weren’t before! Another application tells me that Ajay wants to play a 9X9 Sudoku with me, yet another tells me that a friend has just Poked me and then Zombie bit me! Ouch! One message tells me that Tom just brushed his teeth! Someone sends me a Bottle of Booze (Hic!). Someone sends me a gift. And so on and on it goes until I am sucked into this networking quagmire that hopes to keeps you on top of what the heck your pals are upto across the world. These silly apps sometimes try to get your attention by asking you to invite other friends. You can make them go away though. But unsubscribing from these sites is not easy as signing up!

I just realized that all I wanted to do a few years back was to keep in touch with friends. Phone numbers gave way to email id’s then to IM’s and now to Avatars on these annoying Social Networking sites. Managing these Multiple Social Network Syndrome is getting difficult. As I write this my friend Ravi Jerome Barnes in Tokyo is tired and wants to crash!
I prefer Masala Chai on a stone bench with some real faces around. Wouldn’t you?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Go Live

Posting this from the Chennai International Airport which generously offers travellers a whopping 54MBps internet connectivity without any fees.

On my way to Colombo for the "Go Live" event of a product implementation. (See my previous posts for details). Travelling economy on UL 122. Updated Facebook.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Going Live

Last night when the world was sleeping my collegaues working on the project for a prestigious Colombo bank sent me an SMS - "We are going Live". Apparently the final round of testing went on till wee hours in the morning. I happened to read it at 4:30 am ( I am an early riser) and promptly sent a quick reply "Great". Indeed this is a great achievement to have this day stare at us. When I first drew the project plan I wasn't sure if we would see this day so quickly considering the that we had to customise the applications in two flavours - one set of features made its way into the core application while another set were delivered as separate artefacts; migrate the legacy data; and implement and configure the application. All the while working with people of different culture and paradigm. We missed the date in the schedule, however within a span of 30 days we were on track and are ready to transition the application to "Business As Usual". Thats about a month behind the original schedule of 9 months thats a delay of about 11%.