Monday, November 28, 2005

Who's Afraid of Google? Everyone.

Just the other day I was reading an article on wired. This article discusses an interesting scenario. The title is named "Who's afraid of Google? Everyone", it’s an interesting article, it points out that Google is coming out with newer services everyday and is doing almost everything these days.

"It seems no one is safe: Google is doing Wi-Fi; Google is searching inside books; Google has a plan for ecommerce"

Yes its quite true, off late Google has been launching newer and newer services almost every other day latest ones being Google Analytics, Wi-Fi in San Francisco, Google Click-a-call, AdSense for bloggers, Google Base, Google Print et al. It further says that "In less than a decade, Google has gone from guerrilla startup to 800-pound gorilla". Pretty true they have become giants in just about a decade; they are a brand who almost everyone blindly believes in. That's one of the reasons they find themselves at $430 :) It says that with all these services in vary diverse areas it is taking on some of THE biggest industry giants head-on including Microsoft, Yahoo!, Amazon, eBay, Comcast, Verizon et al. And so far they are doing it pretty good; they have now got the market reputation to go further and further and take on all these. Most of the Google ideas have been very revolutionary and have been a boon for the end-user. But is their something to be afraid of for us?

Here's an excerpt from a discussion on Slashdot pointing out to an interesting view:

"Is it a good thing "to organize the world's information”?

It seems I'm one of the few people not excited about this idea. I fear that in the future privacy will be luxury item that very few can afford.

One SF novel I read introduced me to very interesting idea - if everything networked and you can access virtually any kind of information about the only reliable way to have privacy is to drown it in a see of misinformation and irrelevant information. Anything distinctive about you becomes a disadvantage - you can be identified by it and tracked down. So everyone will want to conform and be a Bill Smith from a large city working for large company...

A lot of information out there gets recorded about every individual person - shopping habits, library books, income, medical history, debt, family, education, political affiliations, phone calls history, traffic violations... Only right now most of this information is unorganized and not readily networked, so you can't come up with inexpensive and fast way to retrieve it. On other hand if Google achieves its goal...

You think monopolizing OS is bad? How about monopolizing access to information? How about monopolizing not letting others access your private information? It just might happen.

Google's behavior so far has been so brilliant and successful that they almost appear like aliens from a superior culture. Predicting their next move seems nearly impossible"

Well quite true that with Google and their AdSense combining in almost all of their services from Gmail, GTalk, Blogger, Analytics, Personalized Home Page, Search they have almost all of your information from mail to chat-conversations to blogging topics (or areas of interest) to your visitors (analytics) to reading habits (personalized page) to your searching habits and what not. At one end this is such a great thing that you have only relevant ads but on the other hand this also means that Google has almost all the information about you! Its just needs better organization and some thoughtful search terms to show anyone's private information? Of course it’s not as easy as I made it sound, but this surely is possible especially with the increasingly number of ways being published to retrieve some private information using Google search only.

This was just an interesting view over the current services revolution taking place.

Enough till next time I guess, meanwhile enjoy this it’s a fictional look at the future :)

Update: I guess everyone is thinking the same these days !!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Lara kya Mara

This post is dedicated to Sir Brian Charles Lara who just surpassed Allan Border's record of 11,174 runs in Test Matches. Now Brian Lara is THE leading run-scorer in the test history. He did this in only his 119th test match as opposed to Border who scored these runs in 156 test matches. A pull to fine-leg of the bowling off his tormentor Glenn Mcgrath took Lara to his 214th run in the innings and 11,175th run in his test career. He was finally dismissed for 226. His current tally after first innings at Adielade Oval stands at 11, 187 runs (121 tests). Top 10 records he has on his name in his high-profile career in first class cricket are:

1. Highest run getter in test history. (11, 187 run)
2. Highest individual score in one innings in test matches. (400no against England @ Antigua)
3. Highest individual score in first-class matches (501no for Warwickshire)
4. Only player to break the highest individual score record twice. (Broke Sir Gary Sobers record of 365 with his 375 @ Antigua. Then broke Hayden's record of 380 with his 400no @ Antigua again)
5. Highest runs scored in a single over in Test matches. (28 run [4 fours, 2 sixes] against Robin Pieterson of SA)
6. Scorer of 2nd best innings of the century rated by Wisden. (153no while chasing 308 runs to take his team to victory by 1 wkt against Aus, 1999)
7. 31 Test centuries (behind only Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar and Steven Waugh)
8. 8 double centuries (behind only Sir Don Bradman's 12)
9. 2 triple centuries (equal to Sir Don Bradman's record)
10. Highest runs in a Test match in losing cause (351 [221+130] against SL)

He is 36 now, but he looks good enough to break a few more records before he decides to retire. Inspite of all the criticism, playing in a weak and almost always losing team he has been performing admirably well all throughout his career with a few lean patches in between. He has never been the most consistent player around, but has always been the scorer of big innings'. He still remains the best batsman currently playing cricket for me and surely one of THE GREATEST of all times. His unique batting style of a high back-lift, those typically Caribbean cover drives, magical cuts and pulls, nimble footwork against the spinners, sweeps and his dancing down the wicked has always been a treat to watch and is one of THE FEW batsman anyone would love to watch when in full flow.

Playing for a very weak team has meant that some of his greatest innings have come for a losing cause or are some of very fighting innings when team is in pretty tough position. I will pick 5 of my favorite test innings played by Lara:

1. 153 no against Aus, 1999 (this one was simply a genius)
2. 277 against Aus, 1992-93 at Sydney (this one was his maiden test century, and on of the greatest innings played ever, infact Lara himself rates this innings as his best. He infact has named his daughter "Sydney" because of this!!)
3. 221 and 130 against SL (these were in very spin friendly conditions against Murlidharan)
4. 226 against Aus @ Adeilade in current match (Inspite of all the bad umpiring decisions and criticism of being completely out of form he arose to the occasion to score another big double hundred in what is most probably his last test match in Australia)
5. 375 against England @ Antigua (he broke Sir Gary Sobers' record with this score)

With this i sign off with the message "HAIL LARA"

Just to add something on Indian cricket:

"Thank You the Kolkatta fans for making a game of Ind v/s SA at Eden Gardens feel like an away game for Indian team by jeering players like Dravid, Sachin and Coach Greg Chappell and applauding the South Africans. Slogans like 'Dravid hai hai' for THE BEST INDIAN PLAYER by far for last few years and of course the current captain, "Ganguly dada, Chappell gadha" for the Indian coach and "Sachin hai hai" have again shown your preferences of Ganguly over the Team India"

This Ind-SA series has been completely dismal, with the team winning toss winning the match. The mantra has been simple, win the toss, field first, dismiss the team for a paltry total when the ball is swinging a bit in first innings, and then chase the small total easily. I hope just to level things India should won the toss in last match to level the series 2-2.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

"Allrounder" Ganguly included in Test squad

Disclaimer: If the person reading this is by chance a bengali or a die-hard Ganguly fan then he/she can stop reading right now. The following text is completely my view or rather a view of CRICKET FAN.

Nov 22, 2005 - Rahul Dravid is selected as the captain of the Indian team and chairman of selectors Kiran More states that it is very hard for Ganguly in current form to get into the Indian team.

Nov 23, 2005 - Saurav Ganguly is *magically* selected in the Indian team for the first test against SriLanka. This time our chairman of selector Kiran More states that - "Ganguly has been chosen as a BOWLING ALLROUNDER, this will allow us to have 6 - 7 bowlers, this will give team more flexibility. He has been chosen as a BOWLING ALLROUNDER, no as a BATTING ALLROUNDER. He hasn't been selected because of any EXTERNAL PRESSURE".

Wtf ! they
consider us a complete !diot or what ? just a day before u said its tough for Ganguly in current form to get in the team, the next day u r selecting him in the team and u dont even know what to call him ? a "bowling allrounder" or a "batting allrounder". whatever be he surely is none of those f**king options. A guy who has been playing international cricket for over 8 years and has never been considered remotely as an allrounder (except for that purple patch way back in Toronto), has been selected in his final days as an allrounder, when he cant score a single run in the whole Duleep Trophy Final ? Are you really f**king serious ? You think we would simply believe this ? Does this even remotely sounds true ? Surely not !

Coming to some realistic reasons behind this selection. 4th ODI b/w Ind-SA is to be played in Eden Gardens, Kolkatta which happens to be the home of their "maharaj" ganguly !! And as ganguly has not been chosen in the indian ODI team, these kolkatta people are THREATENING that they won't allow the match to happen if GANGULY IS NOT SELECTED in the team ? wtf, and these f**king people call themselves cricket fans ? They can't see indian playing well and winning ? Infact they dont care a damn about wtf india does, they just care about their f**king "maharaj". I might just be sounding too anti-bengali, but this remains a BITTER TRUTH, that all bengalis simply adore their state players, they dont care a damn about the country, and how country is performing. They will always believe that their state player is the best ! I think in inter-state matches you can think so, but while coming to international scene you have to GROW UP, and believe in the reality and believe what is the best for the country ! I am yet to meet a bengali who doesn't have Ganguly as his favorite cricketer ! Is this a coincidence ? hell no !! surely not ! They are the most biased people i have ever seen. And the best or rather the worst part is they have the guts and courage to openly say in front of the camera that THEY WON'T LET THE MATCH HAPPEN if ganguly is not selected !! This is democracy for you, few people proving right in front of the media that they are above the law or rather THE LAW in bengal ? Well their threats have worked out and ganguly is selected in the team as a fucking allrounder !! Infact the team had to be selected after Ind-SA series get over but the selection had been preponed. Kolkatta already has a pretty bad past record be it World Cup Semis against SL in '96 or against Pakistan 2-3 years back, infact if i believe right they are among the black-listed venues of ICC, where if the crowd trouble happen once more they will be permanently disallowed to host any game. But do those ppl care a damn about it ? no !! Its the INDIA whose image will be tarnished coz of it and that's none of their matter !

Now to its implications, his selection directly means that both Yuvraj and Kaif will have to sit out of the team. Inspite of the fact that Kaif was the best indian batsmen on Zimbabwe tour and has a far better recent record than Ganguly. On the other hand Yuvraj has been on top of his form off late, scoring a great half-century against SL, and following it up with a classy century against SA in the first ODI, that too when Indians were in dire straits. But all those performances have come to nought as the "Bengali Threat" prevailed over sanity. Another person to suffer because of Ganguly's selection is Zaheer Khan, he took 23 wkts in 3 Duleep Trophy matches including 9 wkts in the final to lead his team to victory. Irony, it seems that it was Zaheer Khan who dismissed Ganguly for NOUGHT in both the innings of the Duleep Trophy final, and its him who has to sit out of the team while the "bowling/batting allrounder" Ganguly, who couldn't score a run against him has been selected !!

Morpheus rightly said "Fate it seems is not without a sense of irony"

Just the time when Indian team's future was looking pretty bright the selectors have made this decision. I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that as this Eden Gardens' match is over selectors or maybe Dravid-Chappel take a U-turn to either drop him or atleast not chose him in the first eleven :). That would surely be the best solution now !

Cricinfo's Dileep Premachandran states on this -> Driven by sentiment
An extract from the above article: "
Given that he's no Jonty Rhodes in the field, we can safely assume that Ganguly wasn't selected for 12th-man duty. But by saying that he was selected as a batting allrounder, Kiran More has only ensured that his panel will be the butt of most cricketing jokes for some time to come. Ganguly has taken 25 wickets in his 84 Tests, and prior to taking two in two matches against South Africa last year, his last wicket had been way back in 2001, when he finished with figures of 2 for 69 at Kandy. To tag him an allrounder is almost as farcical as considering Mike Tyson a heavyweight contender."

Sunday, November 20, 2005

End of Federer's streak

After 24 consecutive final victories finally the King Federer lost a tennis tournament finale. It is more than 2 years when he lost a final. His last loss dates back to Oct 2003. And after 35 consecutive wins he faced a loss this year. This record simply speaks of the dominance this man has had over the tennis arena for past 2 years. I am actually short of adjectives for him, he simply has been awesome. A never before dominance over the top ten players. He has very rarely lost to a player in top ten. And in finals he has simple thrown away his opponents. Though this year in few of finals he has lost a set or two but he has been way ahead of his opponents. If i remember correct this was his 3rd loss in 85 matches this year. Simply amazing.

This Master's Cup, the season ending tournament was looking to be a cakewalk for federer, as most of the players (only top 8 players play in this tournament) had withdrawn from it namely Rafael Nadal, Hewitt, Roddick, Safin, Agassi ! Nor that these players have great record against Federer, but atleast people HOPE that atleast they CAN beat him SOMETIME !! To start of the tournamen federer was rusty with all 3 of his round-robin matches going to decider set. But in the semis he simply CRUSHED the french open champion Gaudio 6-0, 6-0 ! It was a scoreline showing similar to a top player beating some unknown player...certainly not how you beat a top 10 player ! Everything was looking ominous for Nalbandian, all odds were against him in finale again Federer. He fought hard in first 2 sets but lost both of them in tie-breaks including the first one by a very unlucky net point for federer (which they call CHAMPION's LUCK !). He hung on and broke Federer twice to take the 3rd set 6-2. Suddenly the federer started fading, the fatigue (or maybe some injury) had him. He could barely move and had to call the trainer. Nalbandian took 9 consecutive games to lead 4-0 in the decider set after winning the 4th by 6-1. But at this point Nalbandian's eagerness/excitement to finish the match and Federer's mental toughness came into picture. Nalbandian regularly started missing the whitelines by a whisker and Federer kept his cool to break him twice and get level at 4-4 ! Federer broke Nalbandian for 3rd time in the set to server for the match at 6-5 !! It was looking like game over for Nalbandian and 24 matches winning streak of federer seemed pretty likely to be increased to 25 ! But seeing the cup, he had almost won slipping out Nalbandian forced his way back to break federer to take the set into tiebreak and then taking the tiebreak to end the Federer's winning streak of 24 finales in over 4 hrs and 30 min. This was simply a GREAT result for Nalbandian and atleast somebody showed that Federer can be beaten (be it was fatigue/injury or Nalbandian). :)

Few other big sports news:
1. Ronaldinho scored a brace to lead Barca for a THRASHING of real madrid at their home !!
2. ROY KEANE quits Man Utd.
3. Man Utd, Chelsea win and Arsenal narrowly beats Wigan to end their unbeaten run.
4. Milan lose to Fiorentina 1-3 to give Juve a 5 points lead !
5. India levels series against SA.

Well i am pretty excited coz a TT tournament is coming up at my workplace. Hoping for the best :)

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The Big War

This post is about something which I (infact quite a lot of people) have been following for several months. It is about the battle for the internet supremacy between 3 giants Google (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), Yahoo! (YHOO). Yes, it's the battle for "supremacy" not the "dominance", as Robert Scoble, a Microsoft geek aptly points out - "Internet is too big a thing to be dominated by one company alone, so it’s a battle for supremacy". Each of the 3 companies is rolling out pretty similar services so that they don’t fall behind in the competition. This post is not going to decide which one is better, but just a small preview of what things each of them are offering and what lies in future. I will look at each of the three one by one.

I will start off with Google, the so-called "GOD" of internet, the one whom people believe almost blindly. Google has a lot of popular services, it’s a runaway leader in search, the company which has basically revolutionized the web search and has made the Microsoft's and Yahoo's to introspect and to provide a better search. Other than this web search several other popular Google services are: Gmail, Google Desktop Search, GTalk, Google Maps/Earth, Google Personalized Homepage, Blogger etc. Each of these products has been pretty revolutionary in the sense that they have made the life of an internet user pretty easy.

It's not more than a year or so ago, when none of the free email services were ready to give away more than 4-6 MB of mailbox space, Gmail came and gave away 1GB of free space and that the mailing experience has never been this good, now almost all the mail services are giving that much space which u can hardly ever fill!! Gmail stays at somewhere over 2GB, Y! at 1GB, Hotmail at 250/25 MB. Google Desktop Search has made searching files on your hard drive ever easier and made people dump the old crappy existing Windows search. GTalk is pretty much like Skype, but it’s certainly not a messenger for me. Google Maps/Earth has made finding paths and places easier. Google Personalized Page has provided a damn easy interface to combine *almost* everything you read on the internet onto one single page and finally there is blogger which me myself is using to dump all my thoughts including this.

Coming on to Microsoft, they have their own services competing head on with all these Google services. They have MSN Search, Hotmail, MSN Desktop Search, MSN Messenger, MSN Virtual Earth, Windows live/, MSN Spaces etc. While Hotmail, MSN Search and MSN Messenger have been around for ages, MSN Desktop Search, MSN Virtual Earth and Windows live seems to be *INSPIRED* by the Google counterparts. The biggest advantage that MS has is their reach to masses with around 90% of the desktop with their OS: Windows 9X/ME/2000/XP/Vista (?) and around 80+% of browser market with IE. Plus they have the cash in the bag which enables them to quickly catch up with their competitors, by either acquiring some other company doing similar work or by developing it through their own developers.

Personally I liked MSN Desktop Search more than the GDS, mainly coz it had more features with outlook integration et al, plus it was far more customizable then GDS, but GDS 2 has come up with all those features + something called sidebar and negated that part. But I still use MSN Desktop Search, coz it provides tabbed-browsing to whatever little browsing I do in IE. MSN Virtual Earth seems to be lacking in the quantity of maps as compared to G Earth, but the resolution and clarity seems to be a more than G Earth. Windows (still in beta) has similar features compared to Google Personalized Page, but their plus point can be adding Hotmail (already there) and MSN Messenger (to-be-added with Messenger Live). If all of these are combined then I guess this will be great for the user, as it will combine almost around 80+% of internet usage/surfing to one single page ranging from Mail, messenger, Dilbert, weather forecasts, blogs, news, Slashdot, to several other RSS/ATOM feeds. As for their old services, MSN search hardly stands in front of Google, but hotmail and MSN messenger are quite popular if not the most popular. The UI of both stands out as compared to others, but mailbox size is still something where hotmail lags behind as compared to its competitors, while MSN lags in the latest "call to computer" feature given by Gtalk and Y!.

Now on to Yahoo!, they have their corresponding services like Yahoo! search, Yahoo! Mail, Y! Desktop search, Y! Messenger, Y! Maps and My Yahoo! etc. Most of these Y! Services have been around for a while including My Yahoo! but except for Y! Mail, Messenger and Search, none of them are as popular as compared to their counterparts. But Yahoo's main business exists in their mail and messenger only. Personally I believe Yahoo! Mail is currently the best email service, while their messenger is pretty close to MSN in popularity (though I hate Y! with voice, as it takes at least around 5-6 times more RAM then others as well as its older versions even in idle state).

Few of the recent advancements i have read regarding this are:

1. Yahoo and MSN planning to combine their messenger service.

2. Both Google and Microsoft bidding to acquire internet giant AOL (with Yahoo! opting out of the bid just 2 days ago)

3. Yahoo! coming up with a revolutionary web-mail interface just like mail clients like MS Outlook.

4. Google offering *free* wireless internet in Mountain View, CA.

5. Microsoft just realizing that one can get more money from ad-revenue (like Google does) than licensing!

6. All 3 giants merging with one or other company for book and video searches.

7. Google giving away $1 to publishers for every Firefox with Google Toolbar download, and also giving away money for every ad-click to users enabling Google-AdSense on their blogs.

First few points look pretty revolutionary, imagine if Yahoo! and MSN combine their messenger service not only this would provide the user ease of logging in to both the service through single client, but will also mean that they have THE largest share in the messenger market. And if Microsoft manages to successfully acquire AOL (which looks highly likely, considering the cash they have) then *almost all* of the messenger market will be in their hand, and GTalk will find it really hard then to battle Microsoft in this field then.

AOL acquisition is another major thing with around 10% of Goggle’s ad-revenue coming from AOL, if Google manages to get AOL, then they will get foothold as an ISP too, plus a lot of ad-revenue. As according to point 4, they are already trying to be an ISP for increased reach and ad-revenue. But if Microsoft manages to get AOL it will be a big setback for Google, not only they will lose out on ad-revenue and messenger users, but it will give a big user base to Microsoft to publicize their products, and might just help them combine with Time-Warner for the video search.

The new Yahoo! web-mail interface (which is in beta) looks really cool, I haven't used it yet but it looks real promising and might just make the web-mail experience as was never before.

All in all this looks a pretty exciting war between the 3 big wigs of the internet. And as a neutral we are in for some pretty good times as this competition is going to lead us to really improved and revolutionary services as never before. So i will simply sit back and enjoy the war for supremacy between the three and enjoy more and more features and new services.


Keep the competition alive!!

Friday, November 11, 2005

True ?

Just read the today's fortune @ orkut, it read like this !!

The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do

So, i guess for me this simply tells that i should do SOME WORK :)

so now back to work !

Sunday, November 06, 2005


Finished reading On@TCC couple of days ago in 6 hrs straight. Considering i am just as good a reader as Glenn Mcgrath is a batsman [:)], this was a big achievement !! This also tells that book was really interesting, and surely will never bore u.

The story of the book has been told in a typical Chetan Bhagat's style with his so-called "dark humour". His style of throwing in some really funny one-liners in any kind of situation is really great ! One thing i must say about Chetan is that he literally seems an expert on girls, maybe someday he would give ppl like me some tips :D. And some of his comments about "boss" were really good :), i guess EVERY working person will agree with the "boss" feeling, 'coz there are only 2 types of boss in the world: bad and worse. The "good" ones cease to exist. Well the boss taking credit of or naming someone's else work in his name is a pretty common thing i guess and has happened with me too. Also all the "buzzwords or jargons" the boss speaks is pretty true. The book sounds a WARNING to all the guys getting bald: "Beware, its going to be difficult for you to find ur gal, even if u get into microsoft" :). All n all the whole story is filled with witty lines. Some of them which i really liked are:

  • Threesome with blondes and hitting the boss are the top indian male fantasy.
  • Few people in this world get to hit their boss, but those who do will tell you it is better than sex.
  • He clicked his pen shut with a swagger, as proud as da Vinci finishing the MonaLisa
  • Girls like Esha hardly eat anything, but still jump around asking for treats.
  • One thing guys do know is when to shutup.
  • Girls' handbags have enough to make a survival kit for Antarctica.
  • Copier decaptivates man, duplicates document.
  • It is way more elegant to cry sitting down than standing up.

Though the end of the story is a typical Hindi movie ishtyle. A fairytale ending with all good things happening - "a successful love story", "their revenge with their boss", "saving the call center" and all, but is life a fairytale always ?? But still i will recommend this book, for all the entertainment it gave throughout. Didn't someone said "Enjoy the journey more, than the destination" (or something like that). So enjoy the book, inspite of a filmi ending :)

A Good News: I bought my new cell: nokia 6230i :)))

Over for now.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Few Quotes !

Few Quotes I just read. Ya they are a bit funny, but i guess quite true as well ? Most of them are typically true for a software engg environment of ours :))

1. Rome did not create a great empire by having meetings; they did it by killing all those who opposed them.
2. If you can stay calm, while all around you is chaos... then you probably haven't completely understood the seriousness of the situation.
3. Doing a job RIGHT the first time gets the job done. Doing the job WRONG fourteen times gives you job security.
4. A person who smiles in the face of adversity... probably has a scapegoat.
5. TEAMWORK...means never having to take all the blame yourself.
6. Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large groups. (Morale of this quote: don't argue too much in the meetings with the management !!!)
7. When the going gets tough, the tough take a coffee break. (perfectly true for any software engg.)
8. Succeed in spite of management.

Now my favorite one:
9. Aim Low, Reach Your Goals, Avoid Disappointment.

I heard this one in a refined version (Promise Less, Deliver More) in my induction training at HCL Tech...and i guess u will realize how true this is after some time :)