Saturday, May 15, 2010

Its a new day...

I havnt penned my thoughts in a long tim... mostly was empty headed.. so nothing really to pen... my job was getting mundane... challenges over and was personally at the top of my game at BIG FM. i had to do something when the going was good.. instead of picking up from the rubbles...

but then a sudden wave hit me... start my own company... what an inspiring thought.. so i thought and i thought and then i thought some more.. finally running out of ideas... went off to wrk.

I knew that for me to move my fat ass and do something wud take a monumental task. and so i did just that. Come jan 2010, i put in my papers and quit BIG FM.

Now i had a mission... do something worthwhile and not wrk for some company. decided to launch my own chain of preschools (hey! everyones doin it!)

So there u have it folks... Me George Mathew... launching my own preschool chain....

My friend put it aptly when she said "Oh! so now u can start ur education!!"


Saturday, January 30, 2010

First for 2010

Almost a month after the start of 2010, here is my first post for the year. Rather slow dont you think? Me too! So what's been happening? Well, lots actually...

1) 2010 came with a bang. Yes, new year was lots of fun. I was with my sweetums, my lil colour tele and we had the most romantic new year together... she serving me the mind numbing visuals and me lapping it up. Anyone's guess who the bigger idiot is!

2) Well, the debate about the bigger Idiot will be made clear with this next happening. I quit as Station Head of BIG 92.7 FM! And that too without another job in hand. So come Feb 22, ill be out on the streets without a job. None of my attempts so far at another job is bearing fruit.

3) Im thinking of alternate career options:
a) Entrepreneurship - Dotcom company. workin on a few ideas.
b) Agriculture and associated industries
c) Rural Tourism - what say? I am from a very scenic village in south india with mountains, waterfalls, temples and beaches. If i have a good product, will you buy?

So there you have it. An exciting start to 2010. Well, lets see where it leads me.

What do you think?

Saturday, October 03, 2009



30... and nothing to show for it... except a lot of fat, bad health and temper.

What a national waste!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Dancing Queen...

Well, this just proves it, dosen't it? She IS my niece... Lil Baby Girl Nia...

And isnt she a natural... like a duck taking to water... just like me... (read all about my dancing skills here)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Life as I know it...

I wondered... How long since i have been around? I typed my DOB into WolfarmAlpha (which is a fantastic info portal BTW) and got this answer

Time difference from today (Sunday, September 20, 2009):

29 years  11 months  17 days ago

1563 weeks  4 days ago

10945 days ago

29.96 years ago

Well, apparently not too long ago eh?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Workaholics anonymous...

I was at Cochin yesterday on client calls when I got a call from one of the office numbers...

Me: "Hello"

Parvathy: "Hey, just called when I got some free time... 30 secs!"

Me: "Ok..."

Yes, thats right, I was confused... after all, Parvathy, my Programing Head, was supposed to be on leave and even so, why was she calling me?

Me: "What are you doing at office?"

Parvathy: "What do you mean 'what are you doing at office'! I told you I'd be coming"

Well, on the contrary, she had actually told me that she would NOT be coming... but what the hey!

Me: "Ok... So whats happening there?"

Parvathy: "Oh! Im so tired... So much work to do"

Me: "Ok.. then go home and enjoy your leave dude!"

Parvathy: "You know I cant... and since when have you started to call me 'dude' !"

You can make out just how much girls don't like something just by the tone of their voices... and yeah maybe we are not to call colleagues "dudes"

Me: "Err..."

Parvathy: "Don't 'Err' me ok? And don't forget... make sure you buy groceries when you return from office today... IF you want dinner!"

At once the detective in me woke up... I got this strong feeling that something was definitely not right...

Me: "Parvathy! This is George here!"

Parvathy: "What? George? Aaiiyyoooo.... I thought I was speaking to my husband!"

And she quickly hung up!

So, is there something like being too engrossed in work? Is there something like working too hard? Well, if there is, then the award definitely goes to Mrs Parvathy Nair!

You know you are working too hard when:

1) You go to office even when you are on leave...
2) You dial your colleague's number when you actually want to talk to your husband...
3) Having dialed the number you fail to realize the person on the other side is NOT your husband even after talking for 5 mins!!!


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Theft... is the need of the hour!

So, after 2 long years i finally landed up at my home for this year's Onam yesterday. Ahhh... let me clarify... even though it sounds like i have led a nomadic life in the wilderness of the Himalayas or something, and ended up in me stumbling up in front of my parents one fine monsoon morning, this is not so much the case. I have been very much among civil society... well apparently!

Why 2 years? Well, last year i was whooping my a** at Great Lakes doing my MBA and the previous year my parents had deserted me for my sister! (there were visiting them during the time)

Anyway... I was so happy to be back home... especially since i have not had the chance to come here ever since i took up my current job... and to think, my parents stay jst 60Kms away! I was happy for 2 reasons 1) coz its just good to be home 2) I get to enjoy my Amma's fabulous dishes... so many of them... the curries, the Payasams etc...

I had told Amma to prepare all my favourite dishes and be ready for something like a raging bull thru a china shop... but i really dint expect to see what i saw.

If there is a competition for miniaturizing an Onam Sadhya, my Amma would have won it hands down... when i sat down to eat the sumptuous sadhya, all i got were 3 curries and that too rationed! Well probably she was tired and could not make many curries since we have very little help at home. I bit down on this bitter fact while biting down of some bitter gourd.

The high point of any sadhya is the very sweet and tasty Payasam. And as soon as i had finished my meager rationed Sadhya, i waited anticipatedly for the Payasam. I think i really had the look of a puppy waiting for its timely meals. I understood that coz the moment Amma gave me my share of Payasam, i let out a loud whimper...

Even the Payasam was rationed out!! I got probably 2 ml of the stuff... just enough to get a taste of it...

I protested... vehemently... and just as vehemently Amma shot down my protest with one little word "Price Rise"... Ok 2 little words... but you get the point...

Anyway... I plan to do the unthinkable today... I need my fair share of Payasam,... inflation be damned! Im gonna raid the fridge tonight...

In the good old days a hungry, starving guy had to only steal from the local khiranan shop... but what a world we are in when a guy has to steal from his own house just to eat!!!


Monday, June 08, 2009

Sight and Vision are so very different...

It is not often that we come across a personality who, after a brief interaction, impresses and affects your life in a profound manner. I had one such encounter yesterday (07th June, 2009) when I met Sabriye Tenberken ( . I met her at the Radio Play hosted by the International Institute of Social Entrepreneurship (IISE) for which I got an invitation since I am part of the radio business .

When Mr. Rajesh, the manager of the institute, sent me an invitation, I did not know anything about this. I thought it was a function at a blind school discussing the importance of radio for the visually impaired. Also, I like volunteering and hence thought it would be a chance for me to get involved. So with these thoughts in mind I traveled to the location of the institute. The road to the institute was a winding one, full of twists and turns and roads leading left and right. The more I traveled the more I was convinced that it was a blind school for children with visual impairment.

I could not have been more wrong. The gates opened onto a sprawling 2.5 acre campus which had a total of 5 buildings overlooking a the serene waters of the Vellayani Lake. All the buildings are state-of-the-art and completely eco friendly. The campus can house a total of 45 students who are given training for an entire year during which they learn the nuances of running a business and becoming independent for life.

And all this was possible due to the hard work and determination of one woman. She is a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, a recipient of the Mother Theresa Award, and TV host Oprah Winfrey’s choice of “Eight Women Oprah wants you to know”. Her vision is to remove the taboos that are associated with any sort of handicap. She believes, and rightly so, that each of us are capable of changing the world and making it a better place to be in one small step at a time. The institute shouts its mission statement in everything it does “Do you have to have vision to be a visionary?” and it proves with equal fervor that vision need not be a hindrance to human development in any way!

Not only the IISE, but she has also built schools in Tibet, where she also helped to develop Braille script in the Tibetan language. This was in 1992 made the official Braille script for the nation. Apart from this she also swims, opens schools, learns new languages, uses a laptop, rides horses and also climbed upto the base camp of Mount Everest. So, what’s so great in doing all this? Nothing, except that she has been completely blind since the age of 12 due to a retinal disease!!

The passion with which she spoke to the audience… the passion with which she interacted with each and every one of the guests present yesterday… the passion with which she carries the light of her vision aloft… it is something that needs to be seen and experienced.

So, how were the Radio Plays that I had gone to listen to in the first place? They were OUTSTANDING!!! I listened in awe as the 5 plays filled the room with emotions and zeal. They were very proffesionalyy done by teams of 4 visually impaired participants. Over a 7 week period, they mastered the techniques of story, scripting, casting, recording, editing etc. And came out with works of art that truly deserve a larger audience. The topics selected were relevant and heatfelt. The execution was proffesional and the final outcome were 5 plays that the institute can be truely proud of. I felt humbled by the creativity shown by the participants. Each of the plays was better than the other in one aspect or the other. And it was so wonderful seeing the smiles on the faces of each of the participants... the happiness in what they were able to achieve in the short span of time alloted.

The world really needs more visionaries like Sabriye. And I wish her all the very best and heartfelt prayers in all the endeavors that she takes up.

(Please go thru the link, you will be as impressed as I was)

Sunday, June 07, 2009

OOH is not just a media problem!!

I work for a media company now (BIG 92.7 FM part of the Reliance ADA group; 45 stations across India) as Station Head for Trivandrum. I head the Kerala Market... essentially because there are no other BIG FM stations in the state which means I take care of the entire state, as far as BIG FM is concerned that is (Dont blame me for the sorry state of affairs there otherwise)!
I joined the company on the 4th of May, 2009 and ever since have been on a whirlwind tour of the length and breadth of India... Readers dont mistake me, its not that I'm an important Jet Setter in the company... its just that I have been booted from place to place on the excuse of training me. This ass-kicking took me to Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and finally to Trivandrum.

Anyway, part of the groups business is OOH media... expanded, it is Out Of Home. Meaning, all those hoeardings that you see at junctions, Malls, Buses, Metros etc. the BIG company (on many levels!) has many of these assests that we rent out. (For advistising please contact me at 9020680385 :) ) Well its not easy business. With so many players in the business, its cut throat competition.

So, anyway when I reached Bangalore after 2 weeks on the road (literally!) I went on a shopping spree! I went to all those stores in Bangalore which screamed 60% OFF!! Even at those prices, most of the clothes were out my reach and having just spent a year doing my MBA and not earning did not help matters at all either! All the same, I managed to grab hold of my bag full of 1 Rupee coins and heaved it to the shop.

My friend who was with me all the time was obviously impressed with my high speed purchasing rampage. I was like a Rhino in a China shop! Or rather like a star crazy girl when her hearthrob hero enters the room... I bought everything from shirts to trousers to socks to undergarments! After doing this over quite a few shops and maxing out his credit card, he took me aside and councelled me, "Dude... slow down. These shopd will be here later too. You can buy all these clothes after you get your first months salary too! And since when did you start getting so finiky about the clothes you wear? From what I know of you, you wear just about any old rag that covers you!!"

"Dude..." I whispered, "Dont tell anyone, but this is what happens if you are OOH for 2 weeks at a stretch... laundry not done!!"


Monday, March 16, 2009

Quirky Questions...

March 15th is a hectic day for almost all students at Great Lakes. I would say the MOST hectic day! This is the day when many of us start and finish the yearlong empirical research study that we have to do at Great Lakes. I say almost all because those of us doing their research under the guidance of Prof. Venkat and Prof. Zubin have already finished the research well in advance (I believe some 3 months back… Sheeshh!!!). The rest of us, mortals, are still in the fray for the consolation prizes – meaning grades other than A!

When it comes to empirical study, there are all sorts in our class. Some of them (the like of ppl described above) are serious, deliberate and studious. Some do it for the all-important grades. Some do it because they have to inorder to graduate. Some… don’t do it! Ofcourse, this “Won’t do it” attitude is only till the last day for if we don’t submit our study, which amounts to 2 credits, we get an “F” grade. Which essentially means that our MBA does a double flip on its heels and then we can kiss it goodbye!

It was in this context that I gave a frantic call to Miss R. She is one of those “model” students, the pet of the Prof. and all in all a complete crackpot! (BTW, her study has been accepted at the ASAC Conference, Canada and she has promised me a suitcase full of chocolates when she returns. There Miss R, no escaping now!!).

Coming back to the topic, this how our conversation went:

Date and Time: 15th March, 2009. 5:30 AM

“Tring Tring” (Phone rings, and after a persistent 7-8 rings it is picked up)

Miss R: “Hello George. What is it NOW!!??”

Well, you gotta hand it to her. She had been extremely calm considering I had been incessantly calling her and asking her for advice on the empirical study from day one. And this call was at an unearthly hour (I don’t care what Prof. Venkat says, I still maintain that 3-6 AM is as unearthly as they come).

Me: Heave Ho, Huff and Puff

Miss R: “George! Behave yourself! You should not wake a girl up at this hour and spray her with sleazy noises! Infact you should not call a girl up at any time and make sleazy noises! Shame on you!”

Well, she had a point. It is not gentlemanly to call a girl at unearthly in the first place and then to treat her to weird noises was worse! But honestly, I wasn’t trying any thing sleazy… it’s just the way I am!

Me: Croak and Cough

Miss R: “George! What’s the matter with you!!?? Have you turned into a frog or warthog or something? Not that it makes much of a difference!”

Again she had a point. I wonder if I should rethink about her being a crackpot… she was making perfect sense till now.

I finally found my voice

Me: “R… help… please…”

Miss R: “Get a grip on yourself dude! I know its something silly to do with the empirical study… Whats the problem?”

Silly?? Well, excuse me! Me no model student, but I do ask smart questions too y’know! Like the other day when one of our Profs was explaining the concept of Theory of Constraints, I asked a question that let even the Prof dumbfounded and open-mouthed… I asked. “Sir, if inventory pileup is the biggest enemy to any plant, then isn’t the best solution not to manufacture any inventory at all? Just manufacture the end product!” Well, there you have it! Perfect solution to your problems, GM and Ford. Maybe I ought to become an operations consultant… if Goldrat can do it, so can I… So there!!.

Me: Whining and Wheezing

Miss R: “Let me know when you stop making stupid noises! Ill wait”

Patience, thy name is Miss R!

Me: “R… not noises… no breath… going black all over… verge of death…”

Miss R: “Really? What a shame! I was gonna invite you over to finish the last 4 pieces of KFC that I bought yesterday! Now, ill just have to throw it away!”

Me: “KFC? Ill be over in a jiffy! Why dint you say so in the beginning? I thought I smelt KFC when I was passing by your place yesterday!! (Yes, I have a very developed olfactory sense, especially when it comes to KFC… Its one of my strengths!) And don’t say that you throw it away in front of it… KFC also has feelings you know… Don’t be so cruel to the poor thing even though it has been deep fried in boiling oil!”

Miss R: “So… you are not dying, is it? Hmmm…”

Me: “Errr…”

Miss R: “I thought so! Now tell what is the problem?”

Me: “Well, you see I have the most important question to ask you about the empirical study”

Miss R: “Yes, you really need to write more than 5 sentences.” She pre-empted…

Proves that she does not know me at all, doesn’t it? Obviously I had more that just 5 lines! I had close to 7 that too excluding the name of the study and all such jazz!

Me: “Ha! Gotcha! I have more than 5 sentences” :-P

Its after I did that anteater impression that I realized that she could not see the sarcastic look on my face… I let it go. No point in bringing it up to be just snubbed!

Miss R: “Woow! You really exceeded my wildest expectations!”

Me: “Dangzz J

Miss R: “BTW, you still haven’t told me why you woke me up from my slumber. As it is, I slept late yesterday”

Me: “Really? You too? Well me too… infact I haven’t slept at all. I was too busy with my empirical study. I swear, writing this stuff is hard work, don’t you think so? I mean, I was...”

Pity she cut me off right there… I could have told her a whole story of my experiments with the truth! (No! Its not something kinky, you dirty minded freak!!) But unlike the Mahatma I dint really have a revolution to make the entire thing really damn exciting and make a book of it…

Miss R: “George!!! If you have nothing other that blabbering and making confounded noises, both of which are synonymous by the way, ill go back to my sweet sleep…”

Me: “No No… pls I need your help”

Miss R: “Then tell me what your problem is you silly ass!”

I was hurt… really… Miss P says I’m more of a penguin… And I haven’t yet refuted her… maybe it’s the way I walk! And ofcourse the fact that I’m blacker than a dirty, unpolished diamond… a diamond all the same ;-)

Me: “I have the most important question about the study, with out the answer to which I wont be able to submit my study at all!!”

Miss R: “So tell me already! You sound more like a broken record saying the same thing over and over again! You have been torturing me over the phone for the last 10 mins and disturbed my sleep and giving me a damn headache!”

I could see that she was getting a bit ex..., what’s the word… excited? No exasperated… yes that’s the word. But me torturing? I always thought my croaky voice had quite a soothing effect on ppl!

Me: “Ok Ok.. hold on to your horses… Sheeshh… its not as if you were doing anything important right?”

Miss R: “AaArrrrghhhhh!!!”

Me: “Hey! Don’t butt in when I’m trying to ask you the question! Then you’ll come back and tell me I was not asking the question too… Seriously dude! You need to make up your mind!”

Miss R: “GEORGE!!!!!!”

Me: “Ok, hey tell me… What should the font size be?”

There was a loud bang and it is still ringing in my ear. I wonder what happened… The phone got cut off and I have not been able to contact Miss R after that. Whenever I call the phone I get the message “This number is currently switched off”

On a separate note, I heard that Miss R’s phone fell on the floor and broke into some 9 pieces. I wonder how a phone can just fall on the floor and break into so many pieces…

Hmmm… one of the mysteries of physical science, I guess!


Saturday, March 07, 2009

Ive lost it!

Ive lost the gift! I dont seem to be able to write anything funny anymore. Insanity was my forte' but now im all an abyss of gloom...

I hope its temporary


Monday, March 02, 2009

A humble request, that backfired...

Now that the job scene is really really bad for MBAs, I decided not to wait for that coveted job that I expected to get from my school. Instead, I have started my search in earnest. Exactly a month back I sent the following mail to all my friends, hoping that they will forward my resume' to their companies. 

It's been an enormous success! I got one call, asking me if I was ever serious in life!


Its that time of the year when budding MBAs such as myself, with hunger and stars 
 in our eyes and a stomach to match, start sniffing around for the best den to creep into. With not having had my monthly intake, for almost one whole year, I am hungrier and meaner than ever! Only, this year when I went sniffing, I almost choked due to all the fire and carnage around me from all those burning businesses. All the ASatyams of the world had to find this one year to surface!!

Well, in these times of gloom when the world has gone BOOM 
, I have but one appeal to my friends – HELP

PFA my resume' for your reference (and also for your forwarding). Do send them to your companies and also to friends who might be able to help me out with my search to satisfy my hunger pangs. 

I'm looking for Project management, business analyst, business development, product management, delivery manager kind of roles... In short, I'm just short of hanging a board around my neck which proclaims "Will Work For Food" 

If any of my  readers take me seriously, id like to meet you. 

After this mail was sent out, I begged, pestered and provoked Jamshed V Rajan (Jammy) of OuchMyToe to take an interview of mine for After the 45 min interview, they have put me on hold. So if any of my readers try to call me, thats why my phone says its busy (not coz i dint pay my bill like some of you think)

BTW, did you know that my gtalk status says "You cant fool all the people all the time, but try me :)"?


15 Myths about Open Source Software

I had compiled this 15 myths about Open Source Software for my reserch paper - OSS in India, A SWOT analysis. But my coz bro told me to remove it as it did not give an independent objective view. So here it is, I dint want all that writing to go waste!! :)

15 Myths of Open Sourcing Software

Due mostly to its differentiated style of development, Open Source lends itself to a lot of doubts, queries and myths on the minds of people introduced to the concept. Most often than not, these myths tend to be the reason why Open Source is not understood well. Of course, the myths remain myths for those Open Source projects that strictly and religiously follow the tenets and principles of Open Source Software development. In those cases where these are not followed, many of the myths sadly turn into reality. Listed below are 15 myths that we came across while doing the study and clarifications for the same. 

    1)    Community consists of all developers – People generally tend to associate Open Source communities to a group of hardcore developers working on the next big thing. While this is a perception that has undergone a sea of change, it has not been addressed fully. Open source communities are not exclusively developers. There are a many communities where the contributors are general users of the software and many of them have nothing to do with writing code. But these contributors are extremely useful all the same. They help in identifying, reviewing and clarifying requirements. Some of them offer to be alpha or beta testers of the product. In many cases they help in driving the community to develop better and more versatile applications. They represent the face of the customer and are instrumental in lending a direction to the development of software. In reality, it's generally very, very difficult to fix real bugs in anything but the most trivial Open Source software. Most of the time, what really happens is that you tell the actual programmer about the problem and wait and see if he/she fixes it. Most people do not participate in the development - even for Linux itself, most of the development is done by a very small number of people

     2)    Open Source development gives complete access to code – One of the bones of contention for many companies and developers is that Open Source Software is basically what it says it is – Open Source. Companies and individuals fear that if the code is open, then they are vulnerable to all sorts of threats like security, theft etc. But what they don’t realize is that not all Open Source companies have a complete set of open files. There are business models that allow companies to open some of the code for peer review and development and at the same time have other enterprise versions to be closed and restricted. While the free version of the software can be open source and subject to change and development by the community members, the company that develop the enterprise version can keep the code closed and away from scrutiny. While this might be a bit away from the central idea of Open Source, it is just another way of monetizing software development.

     3)    Data and source security is compromised – Open Source Software certainly does have the potential to be more secure than its closed source counterpart. But simply being open source is no guarantee of security. For those new to security, the idea that the best way to keep something safe is to hide it. This idea is known by experts as security through obscurity, and is generally discredited. Probably the greatest reason that security through obscurity doesn’t work when it comes to code is that, if security is breached, you have no way of knowing what has happened. By contrast, if the code is open to anyone to read, then the odds are that the insecure elements will be detected and corrected. Since what you want to protect is the information, not the technique used to protect it, according to most security experts, OSS tends to be more secure than proprietary software. Two main claims made by proprietary vendors: (1) that release of code benefits attackers more than anyone else because a lot of hostile eyes can also look at open-source code, and that (2) a few expert eyes are better than several random ones. Of course, because bug detection is public, detractors can say that OSS is buggier than proprietary software. However, because we have no way of knowing how many bugs in proprietary software go unfixed or unnoticed, the number of reported bugs is not a reliable measure of security. Whitfield Diffie, the co-inventor of public-key cryptography and chief security officer and senior staff engineer at Sun Microsystems, notes “It's simply unrealistic to depend on secrecy for security in computer software. You may be able to keep the exact workings of the program out of general circulation, but can you prevent the code from being reverse-engineered by serious opponents? Probably not.” Open source software projects can be more secure than closed source projects. However, the very things that can make open source programs secure -- the availability of the source code, and the fact that large numbers of users are available to look for and fix security holes can also lull people into a false sense of security

    4)    Open Source Software development exploits people – The Open Source development community consists of a group of people who come together to develop better quality software. This community could consist of developers, testers and end users of the software. Most often than not there is no monetary compensation to the work done and people volunteer to work for free. This leads to a lot of proprietary companies and competitors of the Open Source Company to level charges of exploitation of the volunteers to produce software for the company to profit on. But the very fact that community members volunteer to be part of the process negates this argument. Though there might not be a direct monetary compensation to the contributors, there are other benefits that keep the community together. Many times the developers will find other ways to monetize the work they do. They could take the code they worked on and use it in other areas that provide them with monetary benefits. Many of the communities work by motivating and encouraging its contributors by sending them gifts and freebees like memberships and free access to road shows, conferences etc. Apart from this, they are also compensated in terms of the recognition they get among their peer group for the work that they do. The basic law that says that nothing in this world comes for free is true in the case of Open Source Software development too. The key contributors to most open source projects today are a mix of university researchers, developers internal to companies who use that particular open source package in their work, independent consultants who profit from the increased visibility their participation brings them, and developers sponsored by companies who have identified a clear revenue stream associated with that project.

     5)    Open Source Software is better than proprietary closed software – There is a growing feeling that tinkering with Open Source Software code by community members leads to better software. This is not necessarily true. If the project that the team is working on is not controlled and managed properly, then the software that is developed need not be better than a proprietary product that has been executed properly. There have been many instances where mission of the community, documentation on project, code collaboration etc is not communicated properly to the members and this leads to the project getting executed in an inferior way. This also leads to a lot of dissonance among the community members and ultimately the demise of the community. This leads to the fact that Open Source Software projects are not always a success. Software experts and researchers who are not convinced by open source’s ability to produce quality systems identify the unclear process, the late defect discovery and the lack of any empirical evidence as the most important problems. While many Open Source projects are superior to their close-source counterparts, it's also true to say that a closed-source approach to a problem can have some benefits. Some of these benefits include having a more focused direction for the team, given the fact that there is just one manager and team leader, firmer schedules and deadlines, tighter management, profit incentives, salaries and bonus motivations. While this can also be true for open source projects, the "design by committee" that goes on with community projects often results in a more bloated and less focused product that tries to be all things to all people. Sometimes a simple lack of funds on the part of the developer can hamper the development.

     6)    More is better – Open Source Software development opens up the opportunity for contributors to incubate and develop a plethora of applications and features that can be add-ons to the original software. This is something that Open Source Software development does very well. Most of the time these features tend ot be personal pain points of the developer and might not really be of use to many others. The 80/20 rule becomes very relevant here, that only 20% of features are used by 80% of the users. While this might seem like a good thing at first, it could also be argued that eventually trying to reduce the choice somewhat for the end-user would also be beneficial. Reducing the choices would reduce the bloat and clutter that tends to overtake the project. Choice is good, but a reasonable pre-selection of options is better for the end user. Most users want their applications to be simple, straightforward and light.

     7)    Open Source Software development leads to interoperability issues – The Open Solutions Alliance (OSA), a nonprofit, vendor-neutral consortium dedicated to driving interoperability and adoption of comprehensive open solutions, after meeting with more than 100 customers in five cities throughout the United States and Europe, found that interoperability between open solutions tops the list of requirements among customers and channel partners who are deploying these solutions. Interoperability is a challenge among both large and small organizations. Key issues with small organizations include single sign-on and authorization, data integration and synchronization, UI and portal integration, and content management integration. In addition to these, larger enterprises also had 
business process integration, production management, and legacy/proprietary integration as key issues. Across the board, non-technical interoperability issues, such as how to support and manage integrated solutions being sourced from multiple vendors are seen as pain points. Interoperability between Open Source and proprietary software is often a catch22 situation. It is simply not possible to isolate both. There is not software that is 100% free of either Open Source or Closed Source. A 2006 Forrester study showed 75% of large businesses surveyed were either using or planning to use open source software up from 60% the year before. There’s also Gartner’s prediction of 90% open source adoption in enterprise software development businesses by 2012. Interoperability used to be a major problem during the early days of Open Source Software development. But the Internet has provided a forum for thriving virtual software development community and they have been working diligently to solve interoperability issues through the consensus specification of open interfaces and encoding. Since these specifications are new to the industry, open source products are in a position to compete on an even playing field with commercial alternatives.

     8)    Open Source Software throws Intellectual Property out of the window – A license defines the rights and obligations that a licensor grants to a licensee. Open Source licenses grant licensees the right to copy, modify and redistribute source code (or content). These licenses may also impose obligations. What the author/licensor is granting when they grant a license to copy, modify and redistribute their work is the right to use the author’s copyrights. The author still retains ownership of those copyrights; the licensee simply is allowed to use those rights, as granted in the license, so long as they maintain the obligations of the license. The proliferation of open source licenses is one of the few negative aspects of the open source movement because it is often difficult to understand the legal implications of the differences between licenses. An important legal milestone for the open source was passed in 2008, when the US federal appeals court ruled that Open Source licenses definitely do set legally binding conditions on the use of copyrighted work, and they are therefore enforceable under existing copyright law. As a result, if end-users do violate the licensing conditions, their license disappears, meaning they are infringing copyright. The typical open source project is a grass-roots effort that contains contributions from many people. This method of development can be worrisome from an intellectual property standpoint because it creates multiple opportunities for contributors to introduce infringing code and makes it almost impossible to audit the entire code base. The risks of this development process are largely borne by the licensees. It’s a legal minefield. But many companies do clean implementations for their enterprise editions and make sure that none of the IPs is violated. As for the Open Source versions, they make sure that the contributor is duly referenced so that the violations does not reflect on the parent company. In many cases the violations are not serious enough to warrant a legal penalty, but in case it is, the licensing model of Open Source is such that the contributor is protected to a certain extent. Also, the community generally comes together to help out any such violations. It's true that software that incorporates other GPL-based software must be provided under the same terms--this is its so-called "viral" characteristic. However, even GPL'd software can be used freely. Open Source is about internet-enabled collaboration. Licenses play a role only to the extent that they set out rules designed to make sure that companies don't undermine the playing field.

    9)    Creating and maintaining a community is easy – Contrary to popular belief, creating and maintaining a community is not an easy task. Communities are created when a group of likeminded individuals get together to achieve a common goal such as commonly contributing to a project, improving the code base or develop faster and better code. What community members look for is recognition for the work they do and a sense of belonging to a group that is making a difference. Thus, maintaining the motivation levels of the community while pleasing the individual members are an art in itself that community managers have to perfect. Most of the time community managers spend close to 75% of their time on resolving issues and clarifying questions. Community managers have to make sure that they preserve the culture of the community as it grows. They also need to make sure that they weed out elements that are not contributing to the growth of the community. Communication is the key among other things.

     10) Cannot profit from open source – The underlying argument here is that Open Source Software is not all free. It is true that open source software will reduce the amount of money that is spent on existing commercial software. The Internet, a disruptive technology based on open standards and open source software, has created huge new markets away from the software. And there are many different ways to profit from Open Source Software development. As explained earlier, there are many different ways to monetize the efforts put into Open Source development some of which are Services, Loss-Leader markets creation, Dual licensing, proprietary up selling etc. And there are many companies who are thriving on a variety of these models while remaining Open Source companies. The benefits of open source are exactly the same as the benefits of any other free market: competition between multiple suppliers results in lower prices, more innovation, and specialization to meet the needs of new niches. Open source isn't just something that matters to computer software vendors. It's a way to provide better services to your internal users and to your customers, by applying techniques of networked collaboration.

     11) It is easy to setup communities anywhere in the world – It is expected that human beings being social by nature would be able to work together if goals are set properly. But it is found that this is seldom true. In the case of Open Source Software, there is a definite difficulty that s faced when trying to setup communities. In most cases the issue is more to do with culture and maturity than anything else. For instance in Asian countries where the culture of freely giving to society is lacking communitite do not seem to be able to progress beyond a few dedicated members. In these countries, the idea of a company gaining freely from their hard work is something that cannot be accepted. Likewise many of these countries do not have a robust higher education system that fosters Open Source development. This leads to a lot of engineers who are not corporate ready. A lot of post college training needs to be imparted to these students to come up to speed in doing work.

    12) Open source software is cheaper than closed proprietary software – The often-repeated line is that companies that cant afford commercial software buy Open Source Software. But studies have shown that this is seldom the case. Many a times Open Source Software costs just as much to buy as do commercial closed source software. This is because most of the time the enterprise version of the Open Source Software would be developed in-house and thus would be expensive to produce even though the development is overseen using the Open Source development methodology. If this is the case, then why are businesses buying Open Source Software? There are multiple reasons: 1) Open Source Software development model is such that bugs in the system are few in number. This is precisely the reason why over a period of time the cost of maintaining Open Source Software is low. 2) Due to the collaborative mode of software development, the number of critical flaws in the software is few, which adds to further savings to the customer in terms of security and downtime. 3) Also since the Open Source engagements start from design phase itself, the cost of up gradation and adding features would be low since this would have been factored in during design stage itself if a good Open Source vendor is doing the development.

     13) Open Source Software companies do not support software once sold – There are many companies proving products and services in the Open Source space and virtually all of them provide after sales service to their clients. The difference is between the free versions available and the enterprise solutions. Most often than not, service for the free trial versions are limited and where available will be restricted to communities fixing the bugs, email support or on a do-it-yourself mode. But there are the standard and non-standard ways of service level agreements for enterprise solutions and paid solutions. These are not very different from proprietary closed source SLAs. For instance, all the standard SLAs like 24X7 support, 12X5 support, patch releases, severity level support, maintenance, backups, upgrades, performance improvements etc are provided. Apart from this there are 3rd party companies supporting Open Source Software which happens to be the non-standard method of supporting the code base.

     14) Open Source = Open Standards – Open Source is not synonymous to Open Standards, though many times they are confused for each other. Open Source is merely a development model. It does not mean it incorporates the best practices like Open Standards. While open source development encourages the use of open standards and protocols for interoperability, it does not guarantee software development best practices. It doesn't guarantee interoperability or security, although it sure makes them easier to implement.

     15) Open source carries a greater risk of abandonment/obsolescence – Open Source Software is developed by a group of passionate individuals who volunteer to work on the project because it is important to them in some way or the other. This leads us to believe that if the interest cannot be maintained, then the project risks loosing steam and might be abandoned. In reality, maintenance/evolution of the software is distributed rather than centralized, engaging the diverse skills and talents of many contributors. Peer review reinforces the need to follow accepted standards and practices. This means that even if some people or even the founder leaves the community, there will be a stream of interested people who might feel the importance and need to be associated with the project. Of course, this also means that the documentation in the project needs to be done diligently so that others can carry on with the work that has been put in by previous contributors. Obsolesce is rarely and issue since Open Source development takes place on a continual and ongoing basis with contributors involving in the project to make a difference and develop something latest and useful.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Spirit of Great Lakes!

Are heroes born? Or do they take form when they are most needed? History seems to prove its the latter. There are times when adversities bring out the best in people, times when personal priorities take a back seat and people come together for a cause they feel is important to them. 13th February was one such life changing day for the 162 students and the 20 odd staff at Great Lakes.

The present campus of Great lakes is located at the upmarket Saidapet Colony in Chennai. Serving the needs of the colony are a group of 10 families living in 1 roomed thatched shacks adjacent to the main colony. The men folk of the slum either work in construction sites or are auto drivers and the women folk work as housemaids in the upscale houses of the colony. These are people who live from one day to the next with little or no savings except their personal belongings and the support of their families. Some of these women also worked as maids in some of our houses.

On the night of 12th February, 2009 tragedy struck in the form of an inferno which engulfed these fragile lives. What started the fire is still being speculated. Some say it was a cigarette butt. Some say it was an electric spark. Some say it was a politically motivated arson move them out of the area. Whatever be the reason, by the end of it 6 houses were razed to the ground and 6 whole families (about 30 people) were left homeless…

I woke up to the news of the fire, but didn’t think the extent of the damage would be much. What I witnessed on my way to college at 7:30 AM for the first of my classes, sent a chill down my spine. Until then, I had never seen the look of total loss in anyone’s eyes. But the vacant look and flowing tear in the eyes of the women there gave me a glimpse of their horror. The fact that one of them was my maid, somehow gave it a feeling of personal loss.

By the time I reached college a task force had already been put in place to try and help the affected. People were abandoning classes to try and do their part. Here was no dearth of volunteers who wanted to pitch in to do their part. In half hour a committee was formed to oversee the donation drive that was put into force. We asked people to contribute whatever they could – money, clothing, food. Anything. And donations came pouring in. We needed 3 people fulltime to just keep track of the money and to keep accounts. We setup a collection box for people to drop all other things. By the end of the day we reached about 40% of the class and stall and managed to collect close to Rs. 19,000/- We contacted the alumni, who also assured assistance. The college, thanks to Prof. Sriram, also pledged to equalise the contribution that we were putting together.

Among the victims was a small time trader who used to trade in scrap paper, metals and glass. This person had close to Rs. 80,000/- in inventory in his shop and lost it all. The remains of the bundles of newspaper were still smouldering till late in the evening. Allen and Vidya took over the task of going from house to house of all Great Lakers living in the area and collected old newspapers, plastic and glass bottles etc that we will be handing over to the person so that his loss may be minimised. The humour in this was that they went about with the collection in a Toyota Corolla!!

The college staff helped out too. Ms Uma, Deputy manager, pulled all the strings that she could and got the ladies of the colony to donate old saris towards the cause. Mr. Balasubhramaniam, Placement Cordinator, literally emptied his pockets when we went to him for donations. All the other staff helped out to the best of their ability.

Parallel to this, we also went over to the affected and asked them what they wanted (In management parlance – Requirements Gathering). Once we had a broad idea of their requirements, we discussed on it and filled the gaps of the bare basic that the families would want (Requirements Analysis phase). Our final list consisted of Cooking vessels and utensils, straw mats and sheets, rice and dal, basic clothes for children and towels. By about 2 PM, 4 of us rushed to Saravana Stores and procured the list of items that we had finalised, taking care to pick up 6 numbers of each item (Operations). By 5:30 PM we were back at college with the items. By that time the others had collected clothes, food items, mattresses etc.

Without further delay, we called the womenfolk of the families and distributed all the items in equal measure and also handed over Rs 500 per house for the other needs that they might have (Delivery). The rest of the money will be used judiciously to by way of helping the children in the families further studies or will be put to such progressive work (Maintenance).

What stood out during this entire exercise was the solidarity and compassion shown by Great Lakers on the whole. There were many people who were out of town, but many of them contacted us and assured help as soon as they were back in town. The way a few of the Great Lakers unselfishly, at the cost of their classes, ran around the entire day, tirelessly working towards a solution was highly commendable. Of special note was Kavitha, Sijo, Rahul Prakash, Sheeba, Vidya, Allen and a few others. The passion shown by each of the Great Lakers was unparalleled.

What is more heart warming is the fact that it will be this set of 162 individuals who will be holding aloft the beacons of the Indian Industry in a few year’s time. And from what was witnessed, it can be safely said that the beacon will shine high and bright for years to come.

Celebrating the spirit of Great Lakes – Global Mindset Indian Roots. 

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The LIP video...

This is a compilation I created from some of the pics I took during the Leadership, Influence and Power outbound we had recently :)

P.S: If you are not able to see this, please double click on the video to be taken to my Picassa site.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Placement song...

Adapted from Jim Reeves Merry Christmas Polka

This is Placement season 
So there isn't any reason 
We can't prance the Placement polka...
phone-bells ringing
Everybody's shouting
doing the GD polka...

freeze and chaos 
Makes everyone so potty 
And gloom just fills the air...
It's a
bloody screwed up time 
For a boy and a girl to get placed
While crying the Placement holler...

scary Placement polka
Let's howl, let's scream, let's shriek...
Everyone's so
The air is filled with dread...

Watch the sweet friends bluffing 
As they pace beneath the company logo
It's a sight to behold 
For the placed and the not-so-placed 
The meeeerrrrrry Placeeeement pooooolkaaaaaa...


Monday, January 05, 2009

With age comes wisdom...

New year resolutions are a dime a dozen, I know. But not mine. Seriously. For one I don't make a dozen resolutions... not even thru the entire year. And secondly I'm very sincere about the resolutions I make. I make only those resolutions I can keep! 

You see, the problem with resolutions is that that they are generally something to do with making life better. And as we all know anything thats good for you turns out to be bad, which essentially means that they will be difficult to keep up. So the key is to make resolutions that do not fall under the categoy of goodness, life changing, health, etc.

Case in point. Last year I resolved to eat KFC every week of the year and let me tell you I've managed to not only keep up the resolution but have surpassed it by eating KFC atleast 2 times a week! Talk about determination and grit! See, anything is possible, IF you put your mind to it... trust me!

This new year I played a game on Facebook  - Know your Actual age. It had about 30 questions. So I bought out my stock of KFC and started filling the questionnaire. 

It had questions like:

"Do you take regular exercise?" Of course I do! I walk 200 meters to the college everyday... and back!!

"Do you eat out often?" Well, not really. I buy KFC stock for 2-3 days, which means I eat out only 2 times a week... when i go to buy KFC

"Do you have a healthy relation with your partner?" Damn right! She is rather healthy! And I take great pains to be away from her when she blows her steam.

"Do you believe in GOD?" Yes I do. But I dont know if the feelings are mutual.

At the end of 10 minutes I hit the submit button and prepared myself to be pleased to see some figure between 23-25 years. And after a short wait of 10-15 seconds when it did its jantar-mantar, it returned the magic number - 35 years!!

WHAT!!?? thats a good 6 years more than my real age! There must have been some mistake. And to be honest, I was not entirely honest. I did fudge some data when I came to "How often do you eat pre-cooked food?" I had said 7-8 times. But Maggie noodles is not really pre-cooked food is it?

I ran the test again, corrected some of these anomalies and again hit the submit button. It returned the question "Do you really want to go thru this torture again?" Ofcourse! It wont be torture this time! This time the real results would come. All data I entered was true to the best of my knowledge and all that. 

After the customary wait of 10-15 secs the results came. Where I expected a conservative number of 27-29, it returned 43 years!!

Dumb application! It was obviously flawed! How can anyone eating burgers filled with lettuce and tomatoes be called unhealthy. Ofcourse the burger does contain a few other substances like cheese and precooked meat and cheese.. but it also contains 1 lettuce leaf and one slice of tomato too!! Not to mention the bread... fried in oil. Doesn't that count for anything?? Isn't McDonalds a world famous food chain known for its highly efficient supply chain and processing capabilities?

But I'm not a guy who takes these things lightly you know. If there was a problem with my lifestyle that needed correction, thats what I'll do. I resolved then and there - "I shall visit the Gym everyday from today onwards"

True to my word I set out for the college gym later that evening. There was not a soul there. Sheesh... what is this world coming to? Here is a perfectly good gym funded by the college and no one seems to want to even make use of it to improve their health! People should learn from me! I entered the gym and looked around to familiarise myself of the surroundings. Pretty Impressive. They had many dumb bells of different sizes and some mats to lie on and an automatic treadmill etc. 

After 8 months of spending time here at Great Lakes, I had embarked on a new mission - understand how to use a treadmill! I gingerly got on to it and hit the start button. I expected it to start and go all the way upto my maximum speed which I calculated would be around 60 Km/hr. It dint move. I hit the start button again. Still nothing. The power switch was ON and so was the power itself, and yet the treadmill refused to budge. I reasoned it was an intelligent system which sensed a newbie. 

I got off the treadmill and moved on to conquer other bodybuilding tools. I started with one of them big dumbbells. The face of it was bigger than my the outstretched palm! Must have been some 10 Kg each! I picked it up and man it was heavy. I gave it a couple pumps and was exhasted. Man! What's the weight of these things? I searched and saw 1/2 Kg written on it. Must have been a typo. 

Anyway I went on for sometime and finally stopped after what seemed to be hours. I had done a good job, considering it was my first time in a gym. My muscles were already flexing and I was sure in a couple of days I would look as good and be as fit as Aamir Khan in Gajini! I turned to the clock to check how many hours I had been working out. It showed 17 mins since I started. The clock obviously was broken!

As I was basking in self glory, one of my classmates trotted in. He was in full exercise kit - shorts, T-shirt and even an arm band! Poor guy, what does he know! Hey, maybe I can give him a few pointers... after all, dint someone say "You enrich your own life by helping others"? 

Me: "Hey Dude..."
Mr C: "Georgie boy"

Me: "Come for some exercise eh?"
Mr C: "Yeah.. but what happened to you?"

Me: "What? Nothing! What made you say that?"
Mr C: "Well, you look like a wreck!!"

Me: "I was exercising!"
Mr C: "Oh... I see.."

Maybe he was too embarrassed to be around a pro, for he turned and I distinctly heard him cry and sniff... only, the cry part sounded more like a laugh... Well, to each his own, I say!

Me: "Dude, dont worry about this exercise thing... ask me if you need pointers"
Mr C: "Oh.. really? You'll help me kya?"

Me: "Sure! Why Not!"
Mr C: "Ok.. So what do I do?"

Me: "Now you want to start with these dumbbells here... but mind you, there is some typo in them. The one that says 1/2 kg is actually about 10 kg I reckon... maybe they meant to write 12 Kg and had a typo or something!"
Mr C: "No, thats actually a 1/2 Kg"

Me: "Dude! who is the Pro here?? Listen to more experienced ppl ok?"
Mr C: "Sure sir! anything you say"

Me: "Good. It would have been good to go on the treadmill, but it seems broken. Stupid college ppl wont fix it even. Ive told them a million times you know!"
Mr C: "Where is the key?"

Me: "What key?"
Mr C: "For the treadmill"

Me: "Dude.. there is no ignition or anything! It runs on electricity... You know, current and all that... There is a motor under it"
Mr C: "Ok..." 

I dunno why, but he went thru the crying bit again! Poor chap! He must be really embarrassed! And he had every right to be, if you ask me! After all, one doesn't get to ask these questions to a Pro like me every day right?

Me: "Dude dont cry... its fine... Look, though i have a distinct advantage over you, Ill let you in on a secret. Even with my fantastic physic, a facebook application pegged my age at 43! Ofcourse, its wrong about the age, but the point is, its never too late to start..."

I had been discoursing to him and he had been behind me all the time. I turned to see a horrific sight. Mr C had picked up one of those weight lifts, one much bigger than that 12 Kg one with the typo and started pumping in earnest. I tried to stop him, for he was a good friend... and I dint want him to hurt himself just because he compared himself to me!

Me: "Dude... stop it! You'll only hurt yourself if you try to emulate me so soon into the fitness regime!!"
Mr C: "Its OK Uncle... I've assimilated all that you told me... after all, I do respect my elders!!"

And then he went on to pump iron for some 2-3 hours (that too according to that broken clock!) and also went on to run on the treadmill after inserting a metal key into one of the slots that activated the machine... Somehow I get this weird feeling that he had been to the gym before... but I cannot say for sure!

As for my New Year resolution, I still follow it to the alphabet. 

I visit the gym everyday without fail!!!