By-Two Kaapi in an oilfield

The weblog of Abhilash Ravishankar, India.

Here I blog about my personal experiences [posting rarely]

At my tumblelog Intoxicated by possibility I blog about my opinions/likes/dislikes [posting heavily]

Oil down the barrell of the gun

The U.S. Department of Defense is the world’s leading consumer of petroleum, sucking up about 340,000 barrels of oil every day, more than the total national consumption of Sweden or Switzerland.
Read on ...

Twitter for love

I remember Ghom and me coming up with this idea of a Twitter for lovers.

You know, you have a sweetheart who you can't text(SMS) as its too costly and ....

  • You are standing in a queue at the subway for a ticket, and you twitter a sweet nothing.
  • You are doing potty, and you're bored, and you twitter another sweet nothing.
  • You are going up the elevator, and you twitter how much you miss him/her.
Today Scoble says it too!
“LOVER” tag might go into one page with a password, for instance, that isn’t publicly available. That way Maryam and I could use a social network to send sweet nothings back and forth (I can’t use any of these networks for THAT kind of social networking).
Actually, won't IM solve the problem? Not exactly, as its so much more fun if you have a recorded history of all the sweet nothings that you have exchanged.

Do I hear a 'Hmm...' from any developers there?

I know what you read over breakfast today!

Mat Balez writes in this post:

In the modern continuous online newscycle, I wonder who influences the influencers?

For instance, which feeds does Matt Cutts read the most? From which sources does Fred Wilson draw his inspiration? Which blogs is Michael Arrington tracking obsessively? This would all be useful information for me. It would help direct me toward those sources that someone I respect trusts.

Exactly! In the early days of my getting hooked on to the web, and to RSS, in particular, I used to upload my Bloglines OPML on my blog every month. Mat here calls for an effort towards massive collaboration project where dynamically updated OPML files are shared over a social network. In his own words:
Why can’t I subscribe to an RSS feed of YOUR OPML file - so that I could be notified when you’ve subscribed to new blogs.
Isn't that kewl?! Again, privacy restrictions should apply.
He talks about the OPML Share Project. Pretty neat. Am currently giving it a spin.

Someday, hopefully, yeah

Reservations: A 'Hello World' Letter

In his memorandum to (Arjun) Singh, (Former Congress MP) Anbarasu has demanded that the present director (of IIT Madras) be replaced with someone from the OBC/SC/ST community as the institute has had only Brahmins as directors so far.
This article in Tehelka deserves to be called 'Puke of the Day' (Nilu ishtyle).

Hello World!
  • Please laugh at us.
  • Please make fun of how we hate our Asoks for they graduated out of IIT when there existed no reservation.
  • Please roll over and laugh if you haven't heard of Members of Parliament saying that they need a SC/ST director as the university has had too many Brahmin directors.
  • Please don't be surprised when you hear the next time that Harvard will take 33% Christians, 20% Muslims, 14% Hindus, 6% Buddhists, 15% Atheists, and the rest are for other religions. Because you know where it all started. Here. India.
  • Please consider it commonplace if a professor who is changing the telecom landscape in rural India gets kicked out of an IIT, because he had to make way for a SC/ST professor (who might also be as good as him)
  • Please remember us Indians as the ones who fulfilled Ayn Rand's prophecy of the Moratorium on Brains.
  • Please cry for us.

Yahoo! BeYond - Cheap publicity stunt

First I get a mail from Amitansu about Yahoo! BeYond, a session (June 1, 2007) supposed to be a refreshing mix of business and play, and with a tagline which went:

All that you wanted to learn at B-School. But didn't know whom to ask.
It boasted of 2 high-profile speakers:
  • Pranesh Anthapur, COO, Yahoo! India R&D [Keynote]
  • Phil Quigley, Head, Learning & Development, Yahoo! Bangalore [Business Games Session]
On the topic: An Organization in the 21st Century: How do we succeed?
Best of all, it was in the Leela Palace, Bangalore.

Seemed perfect. (Except for the topic)

Then, I call up to RSVP for the event. The person on the phone tells me that she's busy and asks me to call me up after sometime. Holy Cow! Never mind. I call up after sometime and I tell her that I am a web entrepreneur, and an engineer from BITS Pilani. She tells me that I need to have a Management Background to be eligible for this event. What? I tell her that I am an entrepreneur and if that's not enough ... blah blah. She agrees, and asks me to send a mail. I do that, only to find a reply from her the next morning that I have to call her up again. She's panting over the phone and tells me to call her after sometime. Sheesh! OK. After an hour, she confirms me for the event, and apologizes saying that she's just an intern at Yahoo! and she's extremely taxed.

I had a good laugh. Dragged Chinmay along, and went to the session in the evening.

Good news. Bad news.
Pranesh starts off saying that he has both good news and bad news. He has a 47-slides presentation. Period. Wow! Ever heard anyone say 47 slides are good?

The Torture:
47 slides rolled. I so wished he had fought the bull. He started talking about what organizations needed to succeed in the 21st century. Flexibility, Speed etc etc. More jargon. More bullfighting needed. Then he tells us important qualities in leaders - Teamwork, ethics etc etc. How enlightening! These days kids are taught to be team players when in kindergarten! A couple of sentences with a good dash of humor, and a couple of them with good insight. But, 90 minutes of torture! Thanks to my lovely cell-phone ringing, I went outside for a 15 minute breather.

The Game:
Phil comes in. Amazing energy for a man of his age. Cool sense of humor. He is an instant hit with the almost sleeping crowd. But wait! He starts off on a 30-minute presentation on what to do and what not to do in an interview. Hello! The whole crowd consists of B-School students and a couple of engineers like me. Did we come on a weekday taking two hours off to learn how to handle ourself in an interview? I mean, we've been through all this when we didn't have moustaches! And the best part, there was NO business game as claimed in the brochure!

Pranesh was good. Except for statements like 'The vectors are converging'. Cut it, mate! The MBA students pose stupid questions like 'How does a new brand take on an entrenched brand?' What did they teach you in B-School, mate?


Pranesh calls on Yahoo! Interns to come on stage(including that female who I had RSVPed to). They are asked to say one good thing about Yahoo! People are asked to give them a big hand. Huh! What next? A standing ovation?

  • Great snacks served at the Leela. High point of the evening.
  • I catch three groups of MBA students drooling over the apparently great time they had in the session. Ticked me of to wonder how could have any Management student withstood the same old drivel? Haven't people been taught this. I'm an engineer and I found the session pointless. Absolutely no value-addition!
  • Pick up a conversation with a couple of MBA students, and realized that I am better off at BarCamp. I leave.

Connecting the dots:
Intern organizes event. They talk age-old management jargon found in textbooks. They teach us how to prepare for an interview. They ask us to clap for the Yahoo! Interns.
Message at EOD: Join Yahoo! We are cool. At least intern at Yahoo!

For the folks at Yahoo!: There are better ways to publicize Yahoo! Food at the Leela is not enough.
For all other engineers like me: Be happy. Seriously! (I never was until that day)
Note to self: Never go to such events again. Even if they offer a grand luncheon in the Leela.

Online on the go: My mobile web apps

I got hooked on to GPRS a couple of days back. (The Inside story: Hutch sends me an offer waiving their 50 bucks GPRS activation charge and the recurring 50 bucks a month rental, and activated GPRS for me. Maybe because I was a high-volume customer! The catch was that I would have to pay a rupee per 100kb of data transfer. Seemed decent to me, and I fell for it. PlanetHutch sucks though!)

And man, am I loving it! All those boring bus journeys are becoming so much more interesting! Here are the web apps that I am hooked on to these days on my mobile:

  • Gmail: As usual it rocks on the web too!
  • Twitter: The full power of Twitter is when you can twitter on the go. Kickass!
  • GoogReader: Reading feeds on a long long journey. Peace!
  • Facebook: This is why Facebook sells(will sell) more than Orkut. Imagine voyuering around on profiles when you're bored!
  • Zook: An upcoming local search engine. Pretty neat! Caught a preview in Barcamp Bangalore 3.
  • GCal: Though, 30boxes comes a close second, I prefer Gcal because of its SMS alerts.
  • Rememberthemilk: Lovely to-do list functionality: Don't use it much, but still, love it!
Tsk...Tsk...Do you use a kickass mobile app? Tell me.

Wow! One in every 11 people logging on to the web across the world through mobiles turning out to be an Indian (9% of the world mobile web users!), reports Rediff.
And for the record, I browse on a lowly Nokia 3100. Damn.

Update 1: GCal and 30boxes, both don't allow me to edit an event's time on my mobile. Atleast 30boxes allows me to delete an event and add a new event in place of it.

Update 2: Made a mobile-friendly homepage for myself.

India, Carbon emissions and a joke

First we have this [source]

The rapidly expanding economies of China and India are showing a swift increase in CO2 emissions. China, which is already the second largest polluter, has increased its emissions by 33 percent between 1992 and 2002, while India’s emissions have grown 57 percent in the same period.
and then this happens:
Once our per capita emission levels reach the same as those of the industrialized countries, we'll be very happy to do our share too.
-Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon. [Source]


This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of the people, institutions or organizations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.


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