Secularism in India

Posted September 21st, 2008 by Ashwin and filed in Social
Tags: christianity conversion charges, karnataka riots

Incidentally, I am thumbing through ‘The Argumentative Indian’ by Amartya Sen which talks heavily about Secularism in India, when Christian churches are vandalised and Christians tormented in Karnataka.

India had been a secular state since Independence, hosting people from various religions and communities.  Though Community clashes are nothing new, an unsung harmony existed between these communities.  But in recent times, the scenario has turned tumultous.  We often read about communal clashes, especially involving Hindus, Christians and Muslims.

Latest of one such tensions, is the religious conversion charges against the Christian missionaries, in Orissa and Karnataka.  In the Northern Karnataka town of Davangere, many Churches were vandalised in the last few days.  Christian minorities and missionaries face serious threats, on anti-conversion grounds.  

Some news agencies claim that these tensions were extrapolated, with BJP ruling the state.  What do these rioters really think?  Are people dumb to follow a missionary and convert into Christianity?  The entire concept sounds illogical.  

In a secular state, no one not even the Government, has any rights to interfere into an individual’s religious beliefs.  A citizen of India is free to practice and follow any religion, as long as he/she doesn’t interfere into another’s rights.  With that being the case, it is a highly condemnable and punishble offence, to damage places of worship and burning religious scriptures.  

The Police must take immediate measures to pacify the public.  Those who try to disturb peace, whether Hindus or Christians, must be put behind the bars.  It is the responsibility of the Government, to keep these communal forces under check and let innocent public lead a free life.

HTC Dream - Powered by Android

Posted September 21st, 2008 by Ashwin and filed in Uncategorized
Tags: android preview, , , htc dream,

With the Android-powered HTC Dream just around the corner, let us take a quick preview about the phone, its features and the “midas-touch” of Google.

Android is the Mobile Operating System developed by Google.  Programming language is Java, so J2ME developers should have little or no trouble embracing it.

Though HTC Dream formal announcement by T-Mobile is due on 23 September, following are expected to be the high level features:

  • Large Touch Screen
  • Full QWERTY feedback
  • Keypad that slides/swivels for easy typing and editing
  • Internet Navigation controls below the touchscreen display
  • Enhanced GUI features like pulling down the title bar, creating shortcuts, enhanced locking etc.

Android Video - 1

User can devise a pattern of Finger movement on-screen and use it to lock/unlock. Pulling down the Title bar reveals Notifications, Missed Calls and New messages. Navigation between the screens is possible using finger gestures; no longer clicking of menu items or buttons. Also one can Drag-n-drop items through finger gestures. Creating Shortcuts on the desktop (bookmarks, contacts, GMail messages etc.), by mere “3 finger clicks”.

Android Video - 2

Google maps gets the treat of Street View on the Android. Also, with the built-in compass, this is awesome.

Android Video - 3

Android Developer Challenge, has gone a long way in developing some useful applications. Here is a demo of the Pac-Man game.

Android Video - 4

I don’t see any different between the Google Desktop Maps and this one. All features are available and faster with 3G network.

Android Video - 5

Customize the way you lock/unlock Android.

Overall, the demo videos look promising. It is also learnt that HTC Dream might sell for $199. Then, this will be a direct competition to iPhone. With a good Android Developer Community and the “open-source” tag, I feel Android has a better advantage!

Key attributes of New Ventures

Posted September 9th, 2008 by Ashwin and filed in Business & Marketing, General
Tags: dna daily in bangalore, new business venture

When someone starts a new Business venture, sailing is not always smooth.  New Ventures are prone to acceptance, appreciation, uncertainity, criticism and rejection.

DNA Daily is entering Bangalore and following qualities in their marketing, won them a subscriber :) .  I think these are essential bare minimum qualities, that any new Business venture, must exhibit.

Creating an Irresistible Urge for Acceptance

  • An introductory offer to have both the National and Business news for Rs. 299 an year
  • My current daily (with business news) costs me about Rs. 1800 an year
  • That’s a flat savings of 83% !

Minimal Change and Compromise, required on the Consumer

  • DNA Daily would be circulated by the same Newspaper vendor, who delivers my current daily
  • Only thing required by me, is to intimate the vendor to supply DNA Daily, instead of my current daily
  • No compromises required, as I am quite satisfied with my current vendor


  • Though the offer was a good one, I was not ready to accept it on the first attempt
  • I wanted to get in touch a week later, on our first meeting
  • He kept his word and met me again
  • He won a subscriber!

Business Lesson from Singur!

Posted September 9th, 2008 by Ashwin and filed in General
Tags: , outsourcing, singur, tata nano

Current imbroglio in Singur, presents a crucial lesson when doing Business, especially outsourcing!

Keep all Stakeholders in the loop

WB Government has done the mistake of not keeping the stakeholders in loop, twice.

  • First, when land was allotted to Tata, overlooking Mamata and possible agitations.  An agreement that time, would have made the process a lot smooth
  • Second, when the “peace treaty” was made yesterday between Mamata and the Government.  Tatas were not involved and they are still reluctant to stay in Singur, due to uncertainities

So the thumb rule - Keep all Stakeholders in the loop!

Who the heck is an Architect?

Posted September 5th, 2008 by Ashwin and filed in General
Tags: software architect

One can find many techies with over 5 years in the industry, expressing their interest to be a software architect.  As it is rightly said, not all good programmers make good architects.

Architecture is an “artistic” science.  The primary aim of architecture is to understand the business problem, identify suitable components, mix-match them in right proportions to design a solution, integrate them to peacefully coexist in harmony and deliver a reliable solution to the customer’s business problem. This is a very generic description, that would definitely apply for software architecture.

With this description, following can be a broad set of characteristics that an architect must possess, at a minimum:

  • Excellent Communication skills
  • Inquisitive skills to understand the business problem, in its true sense
  • Creativity and Innovation - as required in any form of art
  • Up to date knowledge on various Application frameworks and Technology tools - to evaluate broad range of solutions that are possible
  • Strong Design Pattern Experience - not just knowing them but experience in putting them into use
  • Effective Decision Making
  • Motivational and Inspirational capabilities
  • Keen eye for Perfection and Progress Tracking - to make sure that the solution implementation is synchronous with planning
  • Ability to take ownership of the solution

These are the minimum set of characteristics that any architect must possess.

A programmer must evaluate him/herself on his aspirations, skills and future plans - on whether architecture is the right path to choose.

Happy Architecting!

A new entrant into the Blogosphere

Posted September 5th, 2008 by Ashwin and filed in General
Tags: art blogs

My pal Shirupa (drum-roll….) has entered the blogosphere!  Her blog deals with the display and sale of her artwork, which she terms as an obsession.

Visit her blog and encourage her to carry on the wonderful artwork of hers!!

Google Chrome is out!

Posted September 4th, 2008 by Ashwin and filed in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

Oops!  Whatever Google does, is creating waves.  1 out of every 10 posts amont the Technology blogs that I follow, were about Google Chrome.  This urged my desire to install and get a feel of the browser.

I was not disappointed.  Google Chrome, fresh out of the box, is really fresh.  Sometimes I feel annoyed by Firefox “memory hogging” and was looking for an alternative (still not there!!).  I will write a separate post on how Chrome fares against Firefox, on the memory front.

First hand feel

  • Placement of tabs above address bar - Very nice!! The address bar belongs to the active tab.  So keeping it below the tab, is very logical.  Place stuff, where they belong to!
  • Spacious Viewport - Chrome has got away with a lot of stuff that a normal browser has: Bottom status bar, Toolbars, Title Bar etc.  This greatly enhances the visible region of a web page and reduces scrolling
  • Management of Downloaded files - File downloads are graciously displayed at the bottom of the page.  They can be easily accessed, without interruping the flow of the web page
  • Popup blocker - Firefox blocks a popup and prompts the user to allow or deny it.  So till you allow, you never know the content of the popup.  This proves difficult, if the popup is an essential one.  Chrome moves the popups to the bottom of the page, showing only the title bar.  You can choose to dismiss or view the popup.  Nice uh!
  • Speed - Damn fast!  Tabs are easy to open and manage.  Pages load definitely faster
  • Task Manager - Sometimes you know that your browser is eating up memory.  But do you know which tab is the culprit?  Task Manager helps you do that.  Amazing!  
  • Memory Usage - So far, with about 6 tabs open both on Firefox and Chrome, I can find a huge difference in their memory usage

This is beta!  But a lot more is required on Chrome, for me to migrate from Firefox.  Chrome doesn’t support extensions at this moment.  This is a huge setback.  Google must definitely be working on this front.  I don’t find support for Google Bookmarks with the beta version.  I am handicapped!!  Also, my favorite Search box is missing from the right hand top corner.  Google has tried to integrate the Search box with the address bar (called as OmniBox).  But it is tied to a default search engine, to look for keywords that are typed (Which Search Engine to use can be configured).  It is little painful when you wish to search across Amazon, Ebay, Wikipedia etc.  You can read a nice post about Searching with Google Chrome here

Overall, Chrome looks clean and cute.  As I said, lot more is required to make it a real competition to Firefox.

Dell Mini Inspiron

Posted September 3rd, 2008 by Ashwin and filed in Uncategorized
Tags: dell mini, Laptops and PC, olpc, tiny laptops

Dell might enter the Mini laptop market with their Dell Mini, this Thursday.  This will be the first ever mini laptop designed and marketed by Dell.


This will be in direct competition with Asus Eee and HP 2133. Looking tiny and cute, gadget freaks must be eagerly waiting to lay hands on this device. If priced low, this might further boost the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) scheme around the world.

Connect 2008 Unconference

Posted September 2nd, 2008 by Ashwin and filed in General
Tags: brainstorming, connect 2008, , unconference

Connect 2008 is happening in Chennai from September 11-13 2008.

I came to know about this from Kiruba - courtesy Twitter :)
There is an interesting event, Connect 2008 Unconference happening on 11 September 2008.  Unconference is a pretty new concept to me.  Essentially, Unconference is an event where every participant gets equal opportunity to speak and share his/her opinions.

Incidentally, I will be in Chennai during this time, to attend a wedding.  I wished to grab this opportunity and attend this ‘Unconference’.  My WIIFM (What’s in it for me?) is to be exposed to some interesting ideas from well known names in the industry and networking with the best minds.   Also, I am excited to meet Kiruba as I am a great fan of his blog!

If anyone else is interested, you can register using this link -