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Thursday, February 28, 2008

New look LinkedIn

I love LinkedIn and I have blogged about my unending affair with LinkedIn more than once. There was a brief period today morning, when I almost lost my damn cool with LinkedIn, but its back to normal now and though it best to put my views now.

I realized yesterday afternoon that there is no corporate group for Yahoo on LinkedIn. I decide to start one and announce it on our internal mailing list. Within a few minutes requests for addition started coming in. Now, I didn't want to allow anybody and everybody and wanted only genuine Yahoos in. And checking if they are genuine at the rate at which I was getting requests was not possible.

So, I spent half hour cooking up a script in Java/HtmlUnit that could automatically pick up the pending members and check their validity on our internal corporate directory and approve them and report back if it could not match some guys. It worked for most part and I was happy and went to sleep.

Today morning, the damn thing stopped working and you won't believe how fumed I was. The damn HtmlPage object was throing exceptions about not finding JS objects. It just took a few hours of not looking at it.

Now, the script works. Why is that you may ask? The fact is, LinkedIn has released a new look interface and I am guessing that some of the sections of the page were returned by the old colos which some others were returned from colos. Happens once in a while when you are upgrading versions on the Internet.

The new interface is in fact quite good and extremely pleased. And my script works. I am yet to set it up on cron, but I will do that sometime soon. May God Bless LinkedIn.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Thoughts on IPL

Its great that IPL is going to be soon a reality. And while the debate will rage on whether this is good for Cricket or not and whether it is the right idea to commercialize the game or not, there is one key good thing that I am expecting out of this.

If you take the recent past of Cricket, it has been sprinkled with cases where certain attributes of the game has been monopolized by certain regions. Spin has been mostly dominated by guys from the sub continent, aggresive non-nonsense winning cricket has been produced only by the Aussies, West Indies have shown us how they can consistently lose inspite of having ample of talent, and both Pakistan and India are showing us how you can be inconsistent in every aspect of the game.

With IPL forming teams from across the world sprinkled into these 8 teams, it will allow these attributes also to get spread around. While the Aussies are so arrogant about their behaviour and so natural in their sledging, it should be interesting to see how it pans out when Ponting is fielding with Andrew Symonds batting. Will he continue sledging? or is it reserved for guys outside of his nationality?

I am hoping that the winning ways of the Aussies when spread around produces 8 aggresive teams. On the other hand, I hope that Aussies realize how hopelessly futile is sledging if they get a taste of their own medicine and eventually decide not to sledge in the better interest of having a nice game. That is what I am really expecting from IPL.

Monday, February 25, 2008

A few good creative men

I just love the movie A Few Good Men, what with its fantastic dialogue delivery and superlative performances of Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Kevins (Pollak and Bacon) and Jack Nicholson. Thats the stuff legends are made of. And every legend is spoofed by creative people to make great entertainment.

This video is a spoof on that famous courtroom scene from A Few Good Men with the same video footage, but with a voice-over talking about creative people (ads, creatives, logos etc) and it was fun to watch. Sharing it with you.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Recommended Videos

While I have more work to get done, I can't help my temptation to put out this amazing video up for you people to watch. Its People Frozen at Grand Central Station. Thanks for Paczkowski for this. And while we are at Videos, this amazing stand up comedy from Raju Shrivastava should keep you laughing for a long time. Its pure genius at work.

And while we still are at Videos, this free Best of Youtube podcast at iTunes is hilarious and after I loaded it on my iPod, enjoyed it on my bus ride back home yesterday. While you are at iTune podcasts, if you find any hilarious podcasts, lemme know.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

A little Assembly from Big-Bazaar

When I moved to Bangalore sometime back, Big Bazaar had one outlet and though it used to have attractive pricing on a lot of items and it was a great place to shop for "everything under the sun", checkout was a complete mess and you had to wait for hours in the checkout queue. A little later, when me and my wife were setting up our new house, we decided to use Big Bazaar, but after that, all of a sudden we stopped visiting the shop. It was too much pain to go for simple regular grocery shopping.

Then out of the blue, my wife suggested that we visit Big Bazaar when we were returning from a friends place after lunch. And we rode into the JP Nagar outlet, which by the way, is one of their many outlets in Bangalore now, and where checkouts are a lot more easier.

While visiting their Furniture section, we found the computer table we were meaning to buy at a much cheaper price than the furniture shops. The catch was that there is no delivery and you have to put together the table out of the kit they gave you. But the savings was almost Rs. 2000 and being the proud IITK engineer and a miserly TamBrahm, the option of screwing a few nuts and bolts for a few minutes in exchange for a couple thousands rupees was too much to pass. Plus the salesman said it is a fifteen minute job. There you go, its wonderful, I thought.

We got home with the plush boxes of ready-to-assemble kits of a computer table and chair. I opened the chair kit and assembled it in 15 minutes flat. Now I was planning to post my heroics in the IITK Alumni magazine!! Then I opened the table kit. It had a lot more parts. My wife bet I can't finish it in a hour. I cross-bet that I could complete it in 45 mins.

45 Minutes lates, I still hadn't put two pieces together. It took me a wholesome 3.5 hours to assemble it with some help (I won't be caught saying a lot of help!!) from my wife and mom, who finally realized the futility of sending me to 6 years of "Engineering Education".

On a sunday evening when I like to retire early, finishing your day 2 hour beyond my bed time because of a silly furniture assembly is nothing good to talk about. But as I finally retired, I realized that this was a great exprience in bonding. Like those team-bonding events organized by the corporate world, there should be a similar family bonding exercises conducted by buying assmebly kits and the whole family putting it together. Did I hear somebody say conducting good ol Indian marriages are like that?

Friday, February 01, 2008

Good News Bad News

There has been a lot of activity within Yahoo after the recent earnings announcement and the subsequent internal meetings relating to the layoffs and the like. There was the Worldwide All-Hands by Jerry and Sue and there was a India All-hands by Sharad and Venkat. It was good to listen to these functionaries. There was some straight talk and some positive talk. I liked the positive talk. I came to Yahoo (chosing over Microsoft) because I felt that the company had the potential and intent to do something interesting. So, thinking positive about Yahoo is a natural reaction for me.

I read a lot of blogs and they all trash Yahoo from time to time. I read them and take them with a pinch of slt. Their tone, often I feel, is a result of sentiment rather than facts. And sentiments take time to change and every small positive step Yahoo takes is one step closer to the goal of that positive results. Along the way, the sentiment will also change and momentum will shift for the good.

Recently (last week or so), I read the following positive notes about Yahoo:

But, today news about Yahoo doing well in Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) is the icing on the cake for me. :-)

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