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]

A car for a billion

The OLPC has never fascinated me. But somehow, this has:

It's an eco-car with a 25 km-per-litre mileage on petrol, meets every international standard and specification, including Euro-4 norms. Acceleration wise, it's the same as a Maruti 800.

At the end of the day, IMO more than the product itself (in both cases), it will be its aftermath that will be the keystone to next-gen computing/transport.

We'll guzzle oil and recycle paper and plastic!

So, says this article in The Washington Post. It also says:

We will witness the dawning of an era of exuberance regarding matters petroleum, a time of optimism comparable to the Roaring Twenties and the recently expired housing boom that was inflated by phony mortgages. Peak-oil theorists, those people foolish enough to believe that a nonrenewable resource is eventually exhaustible, will be vilified as alarmists. American consumers, mollified by falling petroleum prices and the promised availability of more exploitable oil reserves, will breathe sighs of relief.

No comments from my end.

Finding new love

Mark Cuban writes a brilliant post on how the only thing that you can control in life is the effort that you put in.

27 years old. Zero in the bank. Messed up in the head because of the breakup. The good news was that I had my business. The one thing that I could always focus on to the exclusion of everything else. A trait that would serve me well in business, but had more than a little bit to do with my breakup.

TV and Books

JP points out an article in the New Yorker. Let me quote a line or two:

It can be amusing to read a magazine whose principles you despise, but it is almost unbearable to watch such a television show. And so, in a culture of secondary orality, we may be less likely to spend time with ideas we disagree with.

This reminds me of one of those fascinating conversations I've had with a very close friend of mine. My friend has always preferred books to movies. And that was our point of discussion. Let's say, there's a brutally violent/gruesome scene to be described. Say pyschopathic murder or rape or an orgy. Would you rather read it in a book or watch it in a movie?

It is invariably true that a sensitive and observant individual would prefer reading about it than watching it on TV. A picture or a streaming media would leave a deeper impression. On the other hand, one could argue that a picture is a picture. Be it the one shown on TV or the one that your mind conjures as one reads.

I'm inclined to agree with the former. Or rather, a balance of both. Movies are good, but some are best not seen.

JP puts it best when he says:
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but an endless diet of pictures alone creates modern cavemen.

My Orkut profile cost me my job

Winds of Change brings up an exciting topic:

Had an interesting conversation with an HR professional today on the subject of employers running searches to see if a candidate has a MySpace page et. al. This is apparently something coming up in her HR training classes.

Facebook is less problematic, because you have to accept their friend invitation or they can't see your profile. LinkedIn isn't an issue because it's explicitly a professional site. So I'm taking those off the table, and focusing on 2 things:
  • Searching for and viewing a MySpace page or other public access social networking site profile
  • Using Google to track someone back to a blog, and using that in a hiring decision
Ethical? Useful? Wise from HR's point of view?

Let me make it simpler for us Indians.

Say you are a recruiting manager for an Indian firm.
  • Would you Google me out before you interview me?
  • Would my Orkut profile matter in your recruitment decision?
  • Would you just read my blog or would that influence your choice?

Facebook and LinkedIn do not feature because of the issues listed in the article. And for a moment, think on both sides of the issue. And think about yourself, your Orkut profile, your blog.

Why you should IM?

I am not an IM guy. And that has cost me.

In the four months that I spent in the Middle East, I hardly chatted with my friends/contacts on IM. The very few times I did login, I spent maybe less than an hour chatting. This time around, back in India, I met up with a lot of friends, caught up on lost time. And it suddenly struck me that I have missed out on so much. Email, the suggested alternative, has been good. It has brought me all the news from India, from my friends and contacts. But what it missed out on was all the crazy ideas, all the energy that my friends were wallowing in. I was ignored. Blatantly. Very rarely will people think of you and email you of an idea that they have thought of. Very rarely will people think of getting you involved in an idea that they would have definitely bounced off you, if you weren't chatting about trivial things with them. I've never picked up the knack of using email for trivial conversations. IM, somehow, is more apt for that use.

Ergo, IM!

Benazir's assasination

Benazir Bhutto was killed today.
Mom called me out as she saw it first on TV.
She was shell shocked. I was not.

As an Indian, you are expected to be conversant with the politics of our immediate Western neighbor. As a school/college kid, I matched those expectations. To most of us and the International media, Benazir was the face of Pakistani democracy. The face of reforms. The face of a peaceful Pakistan.

All this changed when I went to work in the Middle East. I got to work with a lot of Pakistanis, many of them coming from the best engineering colleges in Pakistan. It was during discussions with these folks on Pakistani politics that I realized that all of us are brought up with an entirely contrasting view, compared to that of the native Pakistanis.

The fact that Bhutto laundered billions out of Pakistan bears no meaning to us. It does to the people of Pakistan.
The fact that Musharraf took over Pakistan in a coup was heinous to us. It was joy to the people of Pakistan.
The fact that Musharraf, actually did quite some good regarding development is unknown to us. It's satisfaction to the people of Pakistan.
The fact that Musharraf was a military leader unnerved most of us. It wasn't new to the people of Pakistan.

At the end of the day, the people of Pakistan loved Musharraf. The key word is 'loved'. As far as what I hear from a few intellectual Pakistani folks, they no longer love him. But they don't love Bhutto either. Even today, they would prefer Musharraf over her. To them, the glorification of Bhutto in the international media, the promise of democracy doesn't matter. What matters is development. Economic. Social. (Isn't that the same everywhere in the world?!)

On a side note, our discussions had ended with a mutual agreement that Bhutto will die any day this year.
It's a pity that she was killed.
May peace be upon her soul.

Don't phunk with my stomach

Guess who had Fergie for lunch? ;)

Hey you!

- Pink Floyd. Now playing. As I head back to town after 2 weeks, catching up with nails & feeds on my mobile. It's pretty darn frustrating when you are away from civilization for weeks, and to see that the world around you is no longer the same. It didn't wait for you, mate. Floyd soothens that pain. The client's letter saying 'Good job!' erases the remnants.

Insomnia at the rig

It's 3 in the morning. A very cold one. I step out of this box that I call home nowadays, and the chill breeze knocks me out. The sand in the wind hits me like a million needles. The sea lies calm. As always.

In front of me stands a 50 metre tall mast. The rig.

It's come back for me again. Insomnia. This time, however, there's no caffeine in my blood. 4 movies on a trot, that's all. And the thought of what life holds for me in 3 years.

Hold on. Do you hear Ozzy singing? Mama, I'm coming home.


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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