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Showing posts from 2008

What can Fix Indian Political System

With the outpour of anger against the political establishment in India after the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, 4 measures seem appropriate for fixing the Indian political system for good.
Starting some near future year, ex. 2015, no politician with a criminal record should be allowed to candidate for the state assemblies or the parliamentCandidating age should be maximum of 65. This will motivate young people to choose politics as a serious career choice. The experienced 65+ veterans should seek out advisory roles.A political scorecard should be maintained by media elements (national as well as regional media players) for the promises made by a certain party before election. This should best be broadcast continuously on how the politician is performing relative to his mandate commitments. It should also be broadcast prior to next election.As for foreign policy, New Delhi's security agencies should systematically target Pakistan's terror camps and demolish them. Foreign intellig…

Emotions against Pakistan in wake of 26/11

In wake of the terrorist attacks on Mumbai of 26/11, as one tries to put together the whole picture, and the mind seeks to differentiate friends from enemies, I must confess that all my negative emotions are directed against Pakistan. Hopefully this is temporary, but hopefully Pakistan does something on their part in order to ease India's frustration.

It is indeed plausible that the attacks have nothing to do with the government of Pakistan. This is however not to say that the ISI, which is a power in itself in that country, is not abetting terrorists. If Pakistan's concerns for terrorist attacks in India are any more than crocodile tears, it should reflect in gradual rounding up of terror groups operating out of Pakistan and their elimination.

Pakistan hopefully realizes that terror in India will cause definitive collateral damage to itself, it's image in the world, it's economy and the dignity of it's own people.

2050 till India the 2nd Largest Economy?

Predictions like this one by Goldman Sachs usually surprise me in how conservative they are. It predicts India will overtake the US economy to become the world's 2nd largest economy by 2050, behind China.

I believe it will not take that long. I've stated before that the entrepreneurial potential of the Indian people is it's biggest strength and source of new jobs and wealth. This in turn, together with a free market and enterprise facilitates unpredictable disruptions, such as the successive booms of the telecommunication and organized retail sectors.

I predict that disruptions of the future will result from business models and new markets discovered at bottom of the pyramid (BOP), while the higher parts of the pyramid continue to develop in more or less predictable fashion.

Studies & reports such as the one above from Goldman Sachs fail to factor such "insider-effects" in India as BOP and the demographic dividend.

Next generation corporate DNA

I've had some great food for thought over this weekend reading up into insights at:

Unfortunately the comments seem to have been closed, so here's a short note of response here from me..
I think one thing that I'd like to place on record here that, in the old corporate DNA companies placed share-holder value before customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction. That needs to change, probably putting employees first, customer closely next, and the pure-greed driven (I mean this in an objective way) share-holders third.

Thanks for the great insights!


Corporate Goodwill Index

Wouldn't it be great to have some kind of an index for companies, especially for big corporation which have an impact on thousands & millions of people, that measure the "goodwill factor" for them. It would be a measure of how the public, or consumers, perceive a certain product or service provider.

German marketing, explained in Cricket language

Since I'm involved with market development for a number of Indian companies in Germany right now, one thing I have to take many pains to explain to CEO's from India is that the German market takes a long time to deliver, usually never less than 6 months.

This is hard for many CEO's to grasp, as they are have been fairly successful in closing deals in the US/UK markets faster than that. Purchasing patterns of German companies is much much much different than those in US.

In this sense, cracking the German market is like winning a test match, when compared to the US market, which is like an ODI.

Integrating GeoIP

Just implemented GeoIP into (for currency selection), with help of following resources:

Other possibly useful resources:

2-Letter Country Codes

Who really snubbed Jesse Owens?

by T V R Shenoy

August 19, 2008

Every four years, when the Summer Olympics hit the headlines, some media outlet or the other mentions the great Jesse Owens and his victories at the 1936 Berlin Games. Inevitably, the story of his famous snubbing by Adolf Hitler when the murderous Nazi dictator refused to shake Owens by the hand, is brought up.

There is just one thing about the story -- it is pure hogwash from beginning to end. And digging up the truth reveals some interesting facts about the United States.

So, what exactly happened in Berlin in 1936? Hitler and his goons were bent on leaving a good impression by crafting the most magnificent spectacle seen till then. (How many people realise that the relay of the Olympic torch from Olympia in Greece to the host country was dreamt up by the Nazis? There was no such 'tradition' before 1936.)

Hitler was at the stadium on the first day of the track and field competition on August 2, 1936. When the German athlete Hans Woellke won the sho…

Heart Health Tips from Dr. Devi Shetty, Bangalore

A chat with Dr.Devi Shetty , Narayana Hrudayalaya (Heart Specialist) Bangalore was arranged.
The transcript of the chat is given below. Useful for everyone.

Qn: What are the thumb rules for a layman to take care of his heart ?
1. Diet - Less of carbohydrate, more of protein, less oil
2. Exercise - Half an hour's walk, at least five days a week; avoid lifts and avoid sitting for a longtime
3. Quit smoking
4. Control weight
5. Control blood pressure and sugar

Qn: Is eating non-veg food (fish) good for the heart?
Ans: No

Qn: It's still a grave shock to hear that some apparently healthy person gets a cardiac arrest. How do we understand it in perspective?
Ans: This is called silent attack; that is why we recommend everyone past the age of 30 to undergo routine health checkups.

Qn: Are heart diseases hereditary?
Ans: Yes

Qn: What are the ways in which the heart is stressed? What practices do you suggest to de-stress?
Ans: Change your attitude towards life. Do not look for perfection in ev…

Database Class/Methods in Zencart

ZenCart has been a rewrite of OSCommerce, and is a notch above the latter in code quality and features. Database is accessed via a class (includes/classes/db/mysql/). Here's an example of how it can be used.
require ('includes/application_top.php');
$db = new queryFactory();

# DB_SERVER, DB_SERVER_USERNAME etc come from includes/configure.php

Baje Sargam

This is a rare production that summarizes the many dances and music of

Any you thought it was all only about Bollywood numbers? :)

Paris, c’est cheap - Paris, c’est cheap
PARIS - Paris may be the most visited city in the world, yet it’s also one of the most expensive.

“This city is worth the price,” says veteran tourist Alex Wadkin, 71, a retiree from Dublin, Ireland, sipping a $6 (U.S.) cup of coffee on the Champs-Élysées.“ If you avoid expensive neighbourhoods – like this one – you’ll do all right. But the key is to plan ahead.”

For travellers on a budget, the choices can be tough: stay in a far-flung suburb and eat a baguette for every meal, or leave happy but broke. Yet for those in the know, there are plenty of cheap – and even free – ways to enjoy the - Paris, c’est cheap

Better to know either Victory or Defeat, rather than knowing neither

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

— Teddy Roosevelt

Developing Components in Joomla!

Joomla! is a powerful content management system that has so far successfully helped me to deploy and maintain 2 important websites and

Of late we have the requirement at Indescon for automating our membership related business processes, for which I am looking into developing a Joomla! based component.

Necessary developer resources for creating Components in Joomla! can be accessed at:

Articles and Tutorials on

The component will likely be developed and released under a suitable OS license. Keep an eye out at my OS space on Google Code.


The term "bridgehead", somewhat accurately defines people who are able to serve as an interface to a professional team from a different culture in the context of multi-cultural global work environments.

In a technical world such as of software the role of culture is often underestimated. Understanding culture is key to understanding behavior, which in turn is key to getting things done together. Bridgeheads have a grasp of multiple cultures, which enables them to understand different lines of thought, and makes them ideal candidates for performing a bridging role in global work groups.

In most cases, however, Bridgeheads have professional experience in two cultures, and they are deployed at two geographically separated locations, working usually on phone, email or IM, speaking different mother-tounges (but having a common language of communication). The bridgeheads connect two teams working towards a single goal.

Two bridgeheads dealing with each other shield a vast amount of…

To understand how the Indian mind works

An Indian man walks into a bank in New York City and asks for the
loan officer. He tells the loan officer that he is going to India on
business for two weeks and needs to borrow $5,000.

The bank officer tells him that the bank will need some form of
security for the loan, so the Indian man hands over the keys and
documents of new Ferrari parked on the street in front of the bank. He
produces the title and everything checks out. The loan officer agrees
to accept the car as collateral for the loan.

The bank's president and its officers all enjoy a good laugh at the
Indian for using a $250,000 Ferrari as collateral against a $5,000 loan. An

employee of the bank then drives the Ferrari into the bank's
underground garage and parks it there.

Two weeks later, the Indian returns, repays the $5,000 and the
interest, which comes to $15.41. The loan officer says, 'Sir, we are
very happy to have had your business, and this transaction has worked
out very nicely, but we are a little puzzled. While …

Optimist's Creed

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind. To take health, happiness, prosperity to every person you meet. To make all your friends feel that there is something of value in them. To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true. To think only the best, to work only for the best, and to expect the best. To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own. To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future. To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile. To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others. To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit presen…

McKinsey projects $56 billion for China's service Industry

May 2008 --
China currently accounts for less than 10 percent of the global market for the offshoring and outsourcing of services. Yet McKinsey research—including interviews with officials at many Chinese government agencies, executives at Chinese leading services providers, and managers at Chinese services-outsourcing parks—suggests that by implementing an aggressive strategy to develop the sector and cultivate talent, the country could capture opportunities worth $56 billion a year by 2015. China faces formidable challenges but can also draw on unique strengths. The country’s two million Japanese and Korean speakers, for example, should help it increase its lead in the North Asian market for the “near-shoring” of IT application and business-process-outsourcing (BPO) services. But a dearth of workers who can manage international projects and have strong English-language skills will make it harder for the country to become a leading provider of services…

Upgrading Ubuntu Machines

Is Ubuntu great or what? Two commands, then leave the machine alone for a while, lo and behold, you've got an upgraded Ubuntu machine to the newest status!

ashant@feather:~$ sudo apt-get install update-manager-core
ashant@feather:~ do-release-upgrade

é finito!

I've tried this on my Dell Latitude D620 Ubuntu, from 7.04 to 8.04 (LTS - long term support). Next in line is my Kubuntu Latitude X300, which I plan to do tonight (as it could take over 3 hours).

Google Sites Collaboration Problem

I'm unable to collaborate a Site with people outside the Apps domain. Below is the post I made for the Sites team to know - just in case it doesn't get published on the support mailing list, here it is again..

I'm facing the same problem, namely, users from other domain URL's are not able to access my Site, inspite of having a Google Account address included as "Collaborator".

Scenario: My Site is under the Apps account of, and every login with is able to collaborate, view and own. However a coworker with whom I am trying to collaborate on this project and who has an Account is not able to even view my Site, let alone collaborate or own. He is redirected to the login page at Apps account, which is a no go, because xyz doesn't want to have an account at our domain. He's in this just for this project briefly and doesn't wish to be strapped with yet-another-username-password.

If I opt for &qu…

Where do you want to go tomorrow, Google?

I'm one of those people who struggles to hide his admiration for Google. I use Google Mail, Apps and Sites and swear by their usefulness to a small businesses and consumers.

This well written article presents a contra-view to my opinion and, at least at first sight, demonstrates a scenarios where 1. "Even Google can make mistakes" 2. "Even Google can be evil".

The truth (by judgment of end-user/consumer) however needs more research to be revealed, for which I wish there was more time at my hand. So for now, I'll stay happy using all the wonderful tools Google is providing for free and hope there won't be a stab in the back!

Open Source Developer's Hosting Dilemma, Google Code or DIY - the choice between the three option is a significant one. Each offers certain advantages and disadvantages. To get analytical about this, the below categorization should help:

sf.netGoogle CodeDIY
Content Revenuenone
Adsense and other options

Infrastructure Maintenancenone
High, including concerns of security and redundancy

Ease of Useaverage
Depends on choice of open source tools, feature road-map, community

Marketing exposurevery high

Basically it comes down to a trade off between accepting the overheads (effort, cost and risk) of maintaining own infrastructure and owning your content and users.

If the content is generating sufficient revenue, or shows a growth/maturity pattern that at some point not too far away in future shows it will generate sufficient revenue, to justify maintaining own infrastructure, I guess it makes sense to DIY.

com_staticxt - Joomla Module for Custom PHP

com_staticxt is a great module for including small amounts of PHP code for adding features to your Joomla driven CMS site.


Get code from
Installation is via the Admin area using Installers > Components.

Make sure to change permissions on relevant directories for web/admin based installation.

chmod 777 components/ tmp/ administrator/components
chmod 755 components/ tmp/ administrator/components

Customized Forms



exec option using "find"

"exec" can be used along with "find" in order to pass on a command to be applied to the output. This can be used for example for changing permissions of code files under a directory path.


This helps to remove subversion control files from a directory (and all it's sub-directories)
find . -type d -name '.svn' -exec rm -rf {} \;

This helps to keep your directory permissions clean
find public_html -type d -exec chmod 755 {} \;


Practical Use
These 2 commands in a script will help secure your web-folder
ashant@washington:~/bin$ more secure_webfolders sudo /usr/bin/find $1 -type f -name '*.php' -exec chmod 644 {} \; sudo /usr/bin/find $1 -type d -exec chmod 755 {} \;

Lokale's in Stuttgart with Hotspot possibilities

Sydney´s, Calwer Str. 31
Wieners´s, Breitscheidstraße 10
Lichtblick, Reinsburgstr. 13
14U Coffebar, Königstr. 22
Café Künstlerbund, Schlossplatz 2
Café le Theatre, Bolzstr. 6
Café Soho, Schwabstr. 16A
bravo charlie in Stuttgart-Mitte