29 Nov 2010

Harsha Bogle's speech at IIMA

Harsha Bogle's excellent speech at IIM, Ahmedabad is available on the net.  It's pretty long, but it's worth watching it for the lessons he shares.  One request for those who understand Hindi: can you please translate what Harsha says at around 1 hour 16 minutes into the video?

Some quotes I collected from the speech:
  • Great teams become great because they excel in their preparation.
  • Take care of the runs, dollars will take care of themselves.
  • The moment going wrong falls into your possibility map, then you do go wrong.
  • For a purely selfish reason, if not for anything else, always surround yourself with people who are better than you.
  • You cannot marry someone who is marrying 22 hundreds.
  • Arrogance often comes in the way of excellence.  It's one of the biggest stumbling blocks on the path of excellence.
  • I was willing to be a non-striker.
  • In the world of excellence if your ego and anger are on your side, you don't need opponents.
  • Once you go beyond a certain level, ability or talent is the most useless virtue to possess.  It's what you do with that talent that matters.
  • The more mistakes you make, the more you know what not to do.  If you can be outstanding at knowing what not to do, then the road to what to do opens up before you, doesn't it?
  • I think excellence is more about humility, actually, even more than luck.  Because unless you are humble you'll never hang around, you'll never be willing to do what it takes for that opportunity to come.
  • Some of us never know how good we are.
Embedded video doesn't show up on certain sites like Google Buzz.  Here's a link to the video page: http://goo.gl/1w46V.

    28 Nov 2010

    What does this mean?

    It was an accident.  For the 3rd time in Hyderabad, someone rear-ended my bike.  This time the scene was a little messier.  My bike hit the car ahead of me after it was rear-ended.  A glass piece broke in the car.

    The deal here is that I fell on the ground so it was obvious to the car guy that I must have been the one who hit him.  The guy who helped me get up was the one who hit me, it seems.  I knew it only after he told me that.  He helped me get off the road so I'm pretty sure he didn't lose his balance after he hit me.

    Now, the car guy says I and the other motorcyclist should pay him for the damage.  He was asking us a few thousand rupees, which neither of us were willing to pay.  So we went to the police, who made me pay him 1500.  (I don't know how much the other guy paid.)
    When I handed my share to the car guy, he started arguing with me that I was paying a lot lesser than I owe.  He started telling me how generous he has been: "You both together pay me 4.8k, and I, who doesn't have to take any responsibility whatsoever, will pay the remaining 1k from my pocket."

    My opinion is that since this is an accident everyone takes equal responsibility, like grown ups.  So I told him he has as much responsibility as I do.  He didn't like that.  Anyway, I digress.

    The other biker told the police officer that he is earning only 6k per month so he cannot pay pretty much anything for the loss.  I thought about it.  What if the biker had decided to take off after the accident?  I would have told this car guy that it wasn't my fault, but being the dumb thing unreasonable man he is he wouldn't have believed me.  I would have thrown the money on his face and walked away.

    The biker, like a responsible adult stayed on the accident spot even though he could have simply gone off and no one would have known anything.  He was harassed by the police and he had to pay money for the loss.  Why did he do that?  Police, who should have filed a case and made the insurance companies pay for the loss threatened this guy and made him pay from his pocket.  I didn't have the balls to talk to the police and tell them to involve insurance companies in the scene.

    Maybe life is not a courtroom.  Maybe you cannot accuse only one party for what happens.  Maybe there's no point in talking about right and wrong.  But what does the incident today mean?  What am I to write on my notebook about this incident?  Only thing I can say is that it was not very pleasant.

    25 Nov 2010


    If every moment is about change, and life is one stream of changes, maybe changing is all that matters.  Maybe I should be a lot more willing to change, ignoring my habits and dogmas.

    21 Nov 2010

    Someone changed the rules behind my back

    At a certain point, how well you do your work ceases to matter.  It's like, you have finished level one and you're ready for level two.  Level two is played with different rules.  What helped you pass first level -- doing your job well -- still remains important, but that's not going to help you pass the second level.  Finding good opportunities is the key in second level.  Engaging yourself in 'critical' assignments is an important thing you should do to keep your place in the game.

    Also, no one tells you when you are promoted to the next level.

    19 Nov 2010


    A teacher is blessed because he can influence hundreds, if not thousands of people's lives.  He can inspire them to bring out the best in them.  The same is his curse.  Several students leave their schools hating most of their teachers.  There will be students whom he'd have inspired in a positive way.  But he is oblivious to most, if not all achievements of those students.

    18 Nov 2010

    Unspoken words

    Unhealthiness of a relationship is probably measured in number of unspoken words.

    15 Nov 2010

    Chrome freezes

    Does Chrome freeze periodically on your computer?  Have you installed Google Mail Checker extension?  If you have, uninstall that extension and the chronic freezes will go away.

    (Why does this happen?  Is there an alternative to using this extension?  I have no idea.  But removing that extension seems to solve the problem.)

    13 Nov 2010

    One more observation on addictions

    When we are addicted to a habit, we start to see the addiction as a solution to all of our problems.  For instance, someone addicted to alcohol might drink whenever they get upset.  The urge to drink alcohol is one thing... drinking alcohol would help overcome that urge.  But drinking when upset is a completely different thing.  Alcohol seems like a real solution to the problem -- we start to believe that drinking is going to make us feel better.  But we'll remain upset no matter how much we drink.  (Well, until we pass out.)  Refusing to drink unless there's an urge is one more thing that can help us live with alcohol addiction.  (Of course, alcohol is just an example; this can be applied to any addiction.)


    Every moment is unique.  It makes you feel in a way that's completely unique.  Sure, you could be reliving a memory several times over and over again, but isn't the experience different every single time?  And moments are like bubbles... they live for a very short time.  Once a bubble pops, it's gone forever.  (I just lost a moment like that... it popped right in front of my eyes.  I am trying to remember its colours, but I can't.  I'll know it when I see that bubble again, if at all... but I can't tell you now how it looked.)

    9 Nov 2010

    Finding Indic language content on Google search

    Have you used Google's Indic transliteration?  Google has taken transliteration from here and put it on its search box.  And that makes a much pleasant search experience since finding regional language content is very simple.  We don't even have to type the search query in the regional language.

    Set your Google interface language to Tamil and search for [vairamuthu], you'd get a result page like this:

    It works for all Indic languages.  Here's a screenshot of the Hindi interface:

    8 Nov 2010

    How I use Synergy

    Have you heard of Synergy?  This is a cool application that allows you to share one physical keyboard and mouse across multiple computers you use.  I have been using Synergy for years, and I'm going to share my Synergy setup in this post.

    Basic setup is done by writing a configuration file on the server machine as shown in Synergy manual.  In addition to letting you share keyboard and mouse, Synergy does another sweet thing: it synchronizes clipboards on all the connected machines.  What this means is that you can copy some text on one computer and paste it on another!  I love this feature.  But one thing I was not comfortable with: all Synergy communication over the network is done in plaintext.  Every day I would be sending a lot of information over the wire without even being aware of it!  URLs, email addresses, code snippets, and so on.  I don't like it.

    Any TCP/IP connection can be encrypted (without the app having to support encryption) using SSH tunnels.  Synergy site has some information about using tunnels to secure Synergy traffic.  Using that setup requires typing a password to establish the tunnel every time I start synergyc, the Synergy client program.  I don't like that either.

    First thing I did was to set up public key/private key authentication to the server computer -- one on which I run synergys, and run ssh-agent on the client computer -- one on which I run synergyc.  (Mark A. Hershberger has written a detailed guide for doing this.)  This would let me log into the server from the client without having to  type a password.  Then, I wrote a Python script that would set up an SSH tunnel and start Synergy client.  Now, instead of running synergyc command I run my synergyc.py script, and everything works as expected.

    The script sets up a tunnel and starts the client.  My first version, which I wrote a few years ago, was very naive.  For example, it would freak out when the client loses connection to the server, and I will have to manually restart the client.  Now the script is much improved and works pretty well for my usage.  The script is available on GitHub.  Feel free to use it, review the code, send patches, send feedback/bug report, etc.  (Remember to change SERVER_HOST_NAME in the script to your server's host name before using the script though :)

    Hyderabad... it gets on my nerves again

    This post is a rant.

    I spend about an hour in Hyderabad traffic almost everyday.  That ensures that I keep disliking this city.  People here don't seem to understand right of way, and that pisses me off.  My mind goes "dude, why don't you just let me go?"  From the little I have seen, they are just ignorant of right of way and it all becomes someone else's problem.  The traffic is equally bad, if not worse, when it's raining or dark.

    And the traffic cops... oh my goodness!  They don't even care if someone is driving on the wrong side of the road.  Several times they have encouraged me to go past a junction when the signal is red!  One thing they do well is sit on your pillion, direct you to the close by ATM to get some bribe because you are not wearing a helmet or your bike doesn't have an AP registration number.  (Oh sure, you can drive with a TG number plate.)  Disgusting is the word!

    7 Nov 2010


    I got off the rickshaw, paid the fare and said "Thank you bhaiya!"  As I was walking towards the restaurant, I started thinking.

    Well, I am thanking this rickshaw driver because he took me to this place.  Shouldn't I be thanking the government and all labourers for paving and maintaining these roads?  Shouldn't I be thanking every single employee of Bajaj for making the rickshaw?  Shouldn't I be thanking the petrol pumps for making motor vehicles practically feasible?  Shouldn't I be thanking my employer for paying me enough to make rickshaw rides affordable to me?  Shouldn't I be thanking all my teachers -- everyone who has taught me in my entire life -- for making me eligible for getting this job?  Shouldn't I be thanking my family for all the hardships they went through to give me the quality education I got?  Shouldn't I be thanking the doctor who treated my broken leg so I can now walk around independently?  Shouldn't I be thanking my laundryman for washing my clothes on time so I could come out with good clothes?

    Shouldn't I be thanking the entire universe for every nanosecond of my existence?

    6 Nov 2010

    The story of my running behind a bitch

    I woke up late this morning and didn't go anywhere out till evening.  By around 5 in the evening, out of an inexplicable urge I left my house.  Unlike my usual self, I took a rickshaw.  Went to City Center and and had potato wedges and coffee at McDonalds.  I got out and started walking back home.

    A little distance after crossing Mehdipatnam bus stand, I saw a (female) dog running in the opposite direction.  It went past me 2 metres, turned around, and started following me.  At a safe 0.5 to 1 metre distance the dog was now following me.  Every now and then it would come close to me so that I'd notice it.  It kept on coming with me till the Food World signal, which is about a kilometre from the bus stand.  I knew the dog is looking for food, and I didn't want to go without giving it anything.  I mean, it had followed me for a kilometre!  But there was a problem.

    There were no shops on the side of the road we were in.  I had to cross the road to find anything to feed the dog.  I was pretty sure the dog won't cross the road with me.  So I decided that I would cross the road and see if the dog was still in sight.  If I could see it I'd buy something for it; otherwise I'd just go home.  So, I crossed the road -- which took longer than I would have liked -- and looked back.  The dog had stayed behind like I had thought.  It had moved a bit, but it was still there and I could see it.  So I went ahead and bought a pack of some cheap biscuit.  I crossed the road again to get back to the dog.

    The dog had moved further and now it was a good 50 metres away from me.  "Well, I have bought the biscuits already, now I have no choice but to follow the dog," I told myself and started walking towards it.  The dog was moving slowly towards the bus stand, i.e. the direction opposite to my house.  I would have walked for about 45 seconds when I noticed these three lads walking before me.  One of them decided to amuse himself by throwing a stone at the dog I was chasing.  The stone didn't hit the dog, but the dog started running fast to save itself from being attacked.

    "Oh shit," I said to myself and started walking fast.  The dog was very far now -- maybe 150 metres away from me, and it was running!  I started to walk fast, but I couldn't keep up with the running dog.  By the time I was near it, the dog had reached the bus stand already!  I was only a metre away from the dog, and I had to make it pay attention to me.  I threw a biscuit at it.  Scared, the dog moved away.  It stopped some 3 metres from me and stared at me to see what I was up to.  I took another biscuit and offered it.  It came near me cautiously and ate the biscuit off my hand.  Then I showed her the biscuit that I had thrown first.  She ate that too.  After it had eaten two biscuits, I unwrapped and kept the whole pack down on the floor.  It started eating, and I started walking back home.  This is what I had in mind then... "Bitch... it made me walk two extra kilometres!" :)