Thursday, May 31, 2007

Clinton tackles the Fox smirk

I recall this being in the news a while back, but I missed it then for some reason. Anyway, its entertaining to watch Clinton go for the jugular.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Camp Cody Reunion Tour

Nayan, Maya and I had a blast camping out in the tree house and sauna up at Camp Cody this weekend. The weather was a bit schizophrenic, but we still had much fun. Uncle Timothy now has a row boat that Nayan was able to row in at the Camp Cody pond. Since the water was freezing, he was a little tentative about following papa on his morning dives in, but the row boat was perfect. We also got some great mountain biking in. Nayan had a blast on the wide interurban trail, but got a little spooked on the single track. I think next year will be a big turning point as far as father son mountain biking goes.

Other CC updates: with the arrival of the pond, has come some very loud frogs. All night long the endless "ributting" had all three of us, the dog included, combing through the night to figure out where the culprit was hiding. It turns out there are many many frogs. Alas, we fell asleep.

Some juggler friends of Islando were performing at the Bellingham Juggler's Festival. The opening act was just terrific. It was mad Bruce Lee style action fighting, followed by slow motion facial contortions, followed by more fighting, and then, what else, lots of juggling! What could be a better combo then Kung fu and juggling for a 5 year old?

No Nayan hasn't gotten a haircut, this photo is from last year. It was a bit rain-i-er this trip.

Here's a view of the sauna from the tree house. We placed one of the trapeze mats (our friends Islando and Uquoia run their own circus and practice under the tree house) on the benches inside and "camped." We slept with the door open, so Maya was off running frog searching sniffing missions all night. It wasn't the deepest sleep I've had, but pleasant nonetheless.

Beautiful Ballard Karma

It has been raining off and on all day. Ameen and Ananya are in England this week, so I have taken the week off to spend some time with Nayan. We decided to go see the new Shrek movie. We were standing in line in the cold and drizzle. There was a huge line up. A woman came out and said, "Are you here to see Spiderman?" I said "No, we're here to see Shrek. She said, "You know it's sold out, but today is your lucky day." She gave us two tickets. I reached for my wallet and tried to give her some money, but she insisted our movie was her treat. Apparently it was her son's birthday party and there were a couple of no shows. I absolutely love Ballard. The rest of the world may be getting darker and more gruff, but beautiful Ballard is still full of wonderful people like this woman who value simple goodness.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Linus on Microsoft's Patent Infringement Announcement

I ran across an interesting article on ZDNet called Experts say Microsoft's patent quest won't go far. In the article, the author describes how many companies instruct their engineers to not perform any active searches. This is definitely true. I have spent many hours with my patent lawyer, and this is an emphatic point she makes to me repeatedly. Here is Linus's response:

"There are several reasons why engineers should not read other people's patents, only their own. And it's not a 'hide your head in the sand' issue, it's a very practical issue of it being a waste of time," Torvalds said.

For one thing, developing technology without looking at patents lets a person honestly say they developed that technology independently, which helps show that the patent in question doesn't meet the requirement of a technology not being obvious, he said. And engineers aren't likely to comprehend patents in the first place: "Unless you have a patent attorney at your side, patent language usually makes no sense."

He derided Microsoft for spreading FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) rather than tackling the issue forthrightly. "If Microsoft were to actually tell people what patents they claim we violate, we could either laugh in their face and show prior art, or just show them to be obvious, or we could do things differently," he said.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Goodness Gracious Me: Christmas Special Part 1

And another great episode of Goodness Gracious Me from the BBC. Enjoy.

Goodness Gracious Me - Typical Indian Parents

Here is another great clip from the BBC's Goodness Gracious Me episode Typical Asian Parents. What Indian child can't relate to this on some level? This episode reminds me of a week I spent in the 7th grade trying to convince my parents to let me play the bassoon. My parents were convinced this would lead to me being one of those sleepy haired guys wearing Scottish outfits playing for weddings in Punjab. Ultimately they relented, which is a good thing, since I would say a good chunk of my work ethic and ability to focus came from my early music instructors.

Startup Ideas - Not Even a Dime a Dozen

I've long had a habit of coming up with random ideas for startup companies. I have a few friends who do the same thing, and often we do so together over coffee or a beer. One of my friends told me about a blog with a startup idea a day. I did a search, but accidentally found this essay by Paul Graham called Ideas for Startups instead. I love that I can still serendipitously encounter wonderful things in the web. In any event, here's a great passage from Graham's essay:

I think people believe that coming up with ideas for startups is very hard-- that it must be very hard-- and so they don't try do to it. They assume ideas are like miracles: they either pop into your head or they don't.

I also have a theory about why people think this. They overvalue ideas. They think creating a startup is just a matter of implementing some fabulous initial idea. And since a successful startup is worth millions of dollars, a good idea is therefore a million dollar idea.

If coming up with an idea for a startup equals coming up with a million dollar idea, then of course it's going to seem hard. Too hard to bother trying. Our instincts tell us something so valuable would not be just lying around for anyone to discover.

Actually, startup ideas are not million dollar ideas, and here's an experiment you can try to prove it: just try to sell one. Nothing evolves faster than markets. The fact that there's no market for startup ideas suggests there's no demand. Which means, in the narrow sense of the word, that startup ideas are worthless.

This is so great. In the back of every entrepreneurs mind is this fear that if they openly discuss their latest great idea, it will instantly get stolen by someone. I now feel motivated to write up my last 30 startup ideas. We'll see if I actually do.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Movie Review: Chameli Starring Kareena Kapoor and Rahul Bose

One of my favorite movies of all time is Chameli, starring Kareena Kapoor and Rahul Bose, directed by Sudhir Mishra, and released in 2003. For those of you who are into the occassional "aaaart pilm" - I highly recommend it and give it 4 stars. If you have never watched a Bollywood movie, and can only watch one, it would have to be this or Sholay.

There are actually very few song scenes in the movie. Here is a snippet from the film when Kareena Kapoor "sings" Bhaage Re Mann.

And here is a snippet from AishFan, an IMDB user:

This movie is definitely a breakthrough in Bollywood cinema in terms of the story and the approach to telling it. The entire movie takes place in just one night. It is interesting to see how a family values, extremely wealthy man spends a night with a prostitute. Beginning with his prejudice, he slowly grows to accept, protect, and, one can even say, love her. It took an entire movie summed up in an extremely brief "climax" to perfectly convince and portray the theme that 'It doesn't matter what the backgrounds, gender, etc. are; there should just be love.'

Microhoo - Microsoft buying Yahoo

Well after many years of speculation, it is now all over the web. Among other places, according to the Financial Times article Microsoft eyes takeover of Yahoo, Microsoft is looking to acquire Yahoo. An outright merger doesn't seem like a great idea for either entity. The two companies have very different cultures and technology preferences. Not to mention, massive redundancy in many if not most areas. I have a hard time believing the internal Microsoft bureaucracies and vested interests won't end up "Hotmail-izing" the platforms at massive and unnecessary cost. As a result of this, and the significant cultural differences, I have a hard time imagining many of the great Yahoo folks would stick around. To me this smells like the AOL take over of Netscape. AOL simply wanted the traffic and name, and the great Netscape technologists fled by the droves. Yahoo has suffered few defections to Google due in part to its great work environment and people, I wonder how long that could hold up in a merger.

It seems to me, a smarter thing to do would be to leave the two companies separate, and create an alliance on the advertising side which is where they are both really suffering. Perhaps it makes sense to merge the Panama and MSN equivalent folks into a new organization where they would focus on providing a service comparable in quality to Ad Sense and Ad Words. This would allow them to pool their respect advertising networks as well.

On a related note, perhaps someone can explain this to me, but for every site I run, and of the handful of folks I have spoken to about this, we are all in agreement that almost all, in my case >99% , of our search traffic comes from Google. I should expect about 70%. Why is this? It is true that Google attracts a different type of user than the other engines, but I still can't understand the massive discrepancy. In addition, one of my advertising friends (this is someone who runs online ad campaigns for a living) says his company has virtually abandoned taking out ads for their campaigns on anyone other than Google. When I asked him why, his answer is they simply can't get the quality of click throughs for the same cost as they get on Google.

Here's an interesting snippet from a Forbes article titled Why Yahoo! Can't Fix Microsoft:

So why wouldn't buying Yahoo! help Microsoft? For starters, Microsoft is too slow and too cautious to keep up. While Microsoft howled after Google snapped up online advertising specialist DoubleClick last month for $3.1 billion, that's just the latest opportunity Microsoft has missed. In 2005, Google beat out Microsoft to buy a stake in AOL. And while Microsoft carped after the DoubleClick deal, Yahoo! rolled up its sleeves and snapped up the 80% of Right Media it didn't already own.

Of course, Microsoft often moves slow for a very good reason: It doesn't want to cannibalize its cash cows. While Google can launch online spreadsheet and word processing applications, Microsoft can't respond without damaging its powerful Office business. Elsewhere, it's more of the same. Everywhere Microsoft makes money, the Web poses almost intractable dilemmas.

Those kinds of dilemmas would make integrating Yahoo! into Microsoft's corporate culture a nightmare. And Yahoo!'s insiders have too much faith in Panama, the newly installed program designed to boost ad revenues, to give up.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Simpsons - India Outsourcing

Here's a hilarious snippet from an episode of the Simpsons where Homer's nuclear power plant gets outsourced to India.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Lotion: Hair Gel Revisited

In my early morning haze, I have been known to do some odd things. My wife, on occasion, cracks up seeing the milk on top of the refrigerator, and a box of cereal inside. I've even shown up to work with my shirt inside out (usually happens because I turn my shirt inside out when I paint, and sometimes forget to switch it back). Today, my absentmindedness has reached a new extreme. After getting out of the shower, and finishing my shave, I often put lotion on my face. Well today I was helping Nayan, my son, get ready at the same time. I looked in the mirror, and realized all the lotion in my hand was now being rubbed into my hair. Proof, I suppose, that multi-tasking, at least when I'm doing the tasking, is overrated.
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