Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Adventure 24

CoolHotmail - The Revolution Begins

There have been a host of exciting innovations ever since the Internet became popular in India in the late '90s. Propelled by the dot com boom, the internet truly became the harbinger of an egalitarian society, with the tastes of almost every section of society being reflected in some website or the other. There were and are several portals to cater to every taste possible ranging from friendly chat rooms which promoted the free flow of ideas to the contest portals which made sure that everyone could win exciting prizes by exploiting their general knowledge and/or analytical prowess. This post describes the unique features of one such innovation that promises to take the business of free email into the next dimension.

Sabeer Bhatia's success with Hotmail was a milestone for Internet entrepreneurs the world over. Today, Microsoft has ensured that Hotmail shall at last enter the new millennium, with a distinctly jazzy new avatar called CoolHotmail. Actually now it basically ensures that no two peoples can be having the same bloody email ID. Its a real cool thing, bcoz, basically its gonna give us individuality, na? The funda behind this concept is basically so that guyz n gurlz can reflect their ideaz n tastes thru their distinctive email address. Lets check out d features...it's like...real kewl...

What if ur a cool guy? or wanna be known as a sizzling gal? Don't worry dear...CoolHotmail provides real good variety of addresses, which, basically, cover all aspects of the current yo generation culture. Lets say, for example, ur name is Raj, and basically ur a Shah Rukh fan. U take care to emulate all his mannerisms, including the latest style that can be seen in Pepsi ad. Basically, u wanna ID that will reflect ur true allegiance to the Shah Rukhian School of thought. Not to worry, all u need to do is create the ID raj_1986@clubsrk.in. Simple na? Lets explore more...

Ur basically from...lets say...Delhi, ok? And ur based in Bangalore, where ur basically into IT job, like SQL, PL/SQL, Struts and etc. U really miss those malls of GK, the magic of Friday night at Priya or simply the thrills of travelling by Blueline buses. Basically, South India is is quite boring. How do you bond with like-minded people? Now its real easy man, with the ID of kunal_chikna@delhirocks.com, ur sure to hit the dance floor as easily as you update a row using Oracle Forms!

Ladies not to worry. U have not been ignored my Microsoft. Imagine urself to be name is Silpa, and ur real sizzling. Ur in fact in the mood for some timepass with , say rahul_1986@clubsrk.in. U wanna draw his attention, and now u need a catchy email ID rite? not to worry - may we suggest silpa_2hot4u@iamsizzling.in? Yeah, that should basically keep all d guyz real suspensed na?

There are plenty of other really exciting domain names to choose from. Imagine the the kind of mileage that yeddyurappa@bornleader.co.in would derive while applying for a managerial post that looks for out-of-the-box thinking. Or the kind of macho man image that is conjured up by the thought of prasad.bidapa@rugbyrocks.in. The camaraderie between varun_iitjee4355@dpsonline.in and nitesh_kotaguy@dpsonline.in would be instant, with Nitesh getting valuable tips on how to crack that really tough Irodov problem.

With the revolutionary concept of CoolHotmail, Microsoft has managed to get a hand to the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The opportunities are immense. The email address of an individual speaks volumes about her personality, likes, dislikes, cultural background, etc. This eliminates the need for sophisticated algorithms like the ones used by Gmail to direct relevant text-based ads to the user, after parsing their mail. Using the domain-indicates-specific-keywords-for-advertising approach, Microsoft as managed to kill two birds with one stone. Now, apart from eliminating the need for high-level research into algorithms to decide what ads the reader must receive, they also address the security concerns inherent to the controversial approaches followed by Google.

CoolHotmail still leaves a lot to be desired though. The choice of domain names leaves a lot of people disappointed. How about registering a few choices for Kannada superstars Upendra and Dr. Rajkumar? Why have the fans of Dev Saab and Mithun da been ignored? There should be special domains for CAT aspirants, GRE candidates, Beer addicts and people who love table tennis and carom. Also, why are there no domains called thiruvananthapuramrocks.in or iliveinkolhapur.com? There seems to be a general bias towards some states that Microsoft seriously needs to redress, failing which it could lose a large chunk of potential users.

Summing it up, CoolHotmail seems to be the idea of the future. Wonder how long it takes for competitors like Gmail, Indiatimes, Rediffmail and Yahoo to join the race for the coolest and snazziest domains, and give Microsoft a real run for their money.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Adventure 23

Stop the Spam You Dickheads - Use Orkut

This one's specifically dedicated to all those losers who decide to spam all their email contacts with shitty spam. Get hold of some nice jokes or celebrity pics if you will - I am game for that. Just stop inviting me to those new revolutionary concepts called friend networks. I don't give a damn about whether we like the same books or not. I don't give a damn as to whether you are currently reading The Monk who Sold his Ferrari or the latest offerings of pop philosophical trash gurus like Chetan Bhagat. I have absolutely no interest in sending free SMS to you, in exchange for a hundred SMS's sent by your free service to my cellphone. I don't give a shit about the Re.1 I could stand to earn for the every ten SMSs I read either. My mobile phone is strictly to receive corny, vulgar and politically incorrect forwards you morons. Yes, if I have joined such a network, its purely to stop the bloody spam and pass it forward.

Yes, occasionally I do give a shit about the wild rave parties you attended - especially if you are young, photogenic and female, or have friends who match that description. Please do post pictures of you with a pierced, tattooed belly holding a Bloody Mary on your Orkut album. I do check up on those regularly. If you are beautiful, female and photogenic or have friends who match that description, please feel free to post your/their photos on your orkut / facebook profiles. I am not however a total moron who spends a dollar on virtual gifts (handcuff, teddy bear, etc). Yes, I have occasionally felt like virtually winking at or spanking (using SuperPoke) a few young and photogenic females - unfortunately they are not my facebook friends' list. Get a life and join the India Network will you? Facebook sucks ass - bigtime. Where are the good old days when people would post snaps of their office picnics and rave parties on Orkut? I also respectfully show the middle fingers to all you losers who post pics of scenery, cartoons, babies etc as your profile pic. And if you are using networks like Facebook - get a brain and use Orkut, MORON!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Adventure 22

Harry Potter and the Da Vinci Code

Is it just me or is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows a tribute to Dan Brown by JK Rowling? Here are some similarities:
  • A quest for a mythical object (or set of objects) that only some people believe actually exists
  • A triangular symbol for the objects of desire, with sordid tales of bloodshed in previous quests
  • Protagonists accused of crimes they didn't commit and being pursued by misled law enforcers
  • A dark clique after the same objects as the protagonists
  • A quirky man in a quirky residence with quirky hobbies, and a fanatic believer of the legend, who introduces the protagonists to the quest for the mythical object(s) and then betrays them (he also asks one protagonist to narrate the legend to another)
  • Plenty of deaths of keepers of secrets
  • Secret societies to protect the legends
  • A climax where secrets are unearthed but legends are allowed to remain
  • Mega movie deal which will produce a real yawn of a film
Dan Brown discovered the template to the ideal bestseller. Looks like Rowling has followed the same mould. Am I right or what!!!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Adventure 21


I believe that consulting is easy (my former employer even had its main office next to the Accenture building!). You have to be a smartass who has read a few pop books like Rich Dad Poor Dad (I haven't), Count Your Chickens Before they Hatch (I have) and You Can Win (I have read a few pages and I believe the author has internalised my thoughts). You need to think out of the box and mince few words. Having read Kotler (I mugged up a few photocopied pages for an exam) I feel confident in my knowledge about business strategy. I have added to my formidable understanding of socio-economic issues by reading blogposts like this.
Case Study: LokParitran at the Crossroads
Lokparitran (nee Paritrana) was a party formed by former IITians, who realised that social evils could be eradicated if IT professionals (who form the majority of today's blog readers and hence best know how to tackle complex issues of governance) took over. They quoted the Vedas and principles of control systems and managed to garner a huge fan following, especially on Orkut). Unfortunately, a few dissenters (who obviously never even made the grade in the Bansal/Ramaiah entrance exams) did not agree with the Vedic scriptures about division of labour and split up the party. Lokparitran is the most active in Chennai, since it is home to Mani Rathnam, director of the cult film Yuva - the inspiration for their party.

An excerpt from the ideology of LokParitran:

Knowledge System:

Reality is a continuum. Knowledge system, in shortest, is fragmentation imposed upon the continuum of reality. Fragmentation is always a necessity for understanding of the unknown. Every fragment in the knowledge system becomes a construct or an entity that is defined in the knowledge system. This very fact shows that different knowledge systems can be build on the same reality based on different possibilities and patterns of fragmentation.

Where does Lokparitran go from here? How do they continue to generate funds? What about the support they need to gain critical mass? How shall they mobilise the masses?

My suggestions: Contest from Kota, where the IITJEE aspirants will welcome back their long-lost brothers. To raise funds, maybe you could sell your ideology to the many CAT-coaching institutes and save them some effort in finding new essays for their verbal sections. Do not worry about people from the hinterlands - just look at the massive support you receive in Orkut, where most of todays young men and women spend their time. You should become a web-based party and stimulate discussions on Facebook, Friendster, MySpace, Fropper, Gazzag and Yaari as well. I also suggest an Indian Idol type reality contest, where college students, IT professionals and BPO workers will select the best by using the power of SMS. As for those losers challenging your agenda, do not worry. You have many even more intelligent and competitive people who share your opinions. May the intelligentsia rule once more and return our glorious Motherland to the glory of the Vedic Ages! Jai Hind!

More case studies later.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Adventure 20

My first Page 3 Party

That's right! After over a decade of watching the evolution of good old Bangalore times from Priscilla Corner to Pavithra Halakatti, I finally attended a do that made it to page 3. Unfortunately, I was too overwhelmed by the free goodies and chilled beer to posture for the camera. But it was as close as it gets! But I have made a very bad start, so let me start from the very beginning...

A semester exam had just gotten over and I was jobless. There were no new mails in my mailbox too, so I decided to read the mails in my spam folder. And there it was, the diamond amidst the muck! Among all the ads for Viagra, stocks of Chinese fruit vendors and lottery vouchers for millions of Euros sat the invite...the result of me giving my email address to this very noble organisation called the Strand Book Stall. May they flourish forever and take over all the Landmarks of the world!

I was bored, and if you observe the card closely enough you may notice that the main sponsor was a company that operated Bangalore's finest five-star hotel, which would also be the venue (I discovered that their loos had ice cubes in their errr... receptacles). Anyway, the event itself had the who's who of Bangalore including Ruby Chakravarty, Sudha Murty nee Kulkarni, Nandan Nilekani and of course the celebrated historian Ram Guha whose book was being released...

An Infy employee who vaguely recognised me (he was the only other misfit there - having come there solely for intellectual enrichment) told me that he had actually lobbied with Nandan's personal secretary and wangled a pass. I decided not to break his heart by telling him about the mass invite that had reached every ruthless rustic who had scrounged for an (upto) 80% discount at Strand's annual clearance sale.

A fifty year old page 3 extra (let's call her Veronique) sat behind me, flanked by
a Fabindia clad, Baccalaureate passed young man in his late twenties (Rahul). I sat in front, trying to pick the mannerisms of the elite...

Veronique - ... Ram sure captures the postmodernist angst in his works
Rahul - Yeah..sigh...remniscent of the chronicles of Dubrowsky (thats what it sounded like atleast)
Veronique - Hey, have you tried this? (I steal a quick glance behind to see her unzip her handbag)
Rahul - Hmmm... how's it?
Veronique - Quite exotic flavour... a bit minty actually (I love chewing gum, so I wonder what brand she has got from her son in the States)
Rahul - I heard...quite similar to the Edgar Allen Poe style I suppose...
Veronique - A bit, you know... (I look back to see her hold a book and mentally curse Rahul's greatgrandfather, grandmother, father and mother)

Post Script: Ram Guha's book "India After Gandhi" is selling well. Ram gave a fairly insightful and entertaining speech. Nandan, Ruby and Sudha appeared in page 3 a week later; Veronique didn't and neither did I. The organisers announced that a famous beer brand had kindly agreed to provide free beer to all, along with the delicious snacks. I went home happy.

The End

Monday, May 07, 2007

Adventure 19

Cricket and Page 3

The cricket stories and Page 3 (of the city supplement) are the only parts of the newspaper I read thoroughly. Then the idea struck me. There's a lot of similarity between Bangalore's glitterati and the Indian cricket team. Hence, I propose a Page 3 squad to tour the world along with the cricketers. Just dont ask why they need to go...they just do.

Note: You may ask, 'Why Bangalore's Page 3?"
I believe that the character of Bangalore's Page 3 is closest to that of Team India. Mumbai's well-oiled disciplined circuit is reminiscent of the current formidable Australian team. They have a great system in place that allows only the best to make the grade. Delhi's circuit is more like the South African team. Though they are aggressive and disciplined, they occasionally tend to choke, and never really threaten Mumbai. Also, factors other than merit (like the rank of the politician who paid to sleep with you) also affect selection occassionally.

Chief Selector
Waseem Khan - He has seen it all, through the unforgiving lens. He knows how to make the ugly look bad and the bad look good. Calm and disciplined like Dilip Vengsarkar, he shall accompany the squad as a talent scout.

Prasad Bidapa - Age hasn't dulled him. He is the big daddy of glamour. He taught Bangaloreans that you don't have to live in Mumbai or Delhi to be glamorous. He is known to get alon well with male, female and people of other genders as well. An ideal counterpart to India's new flamboyant cricketing coach, Ravi Shastri.

Technical coaches
Shreen Malani - She could teach the youngsters a thing or two about tenacity. Similar to Robin Singh in temperament, she has always believed that hard work can compensate for the lack of elegance.

Harish Bijoor
- He started off as a marketing manager, and helped sell everything from coffee beans to telephone booths. Like Venkatesh Prasad, whose metamorphosis into a coach is complete today, Harish successfully rebranded himself as a brand guru many years ago.

The Twelve-Member Squad
Rohit Barker (C) - The closest in temperament to our beloved captain Rahul Dravid. Has stuck to his guns for many, many years, and his perseverance is finally paying off. Today, he, along with wife Pashmeena, are a regular fixture on Page 3. Rohit is truly Mr. Dependable.

Harathi Reddy (VC) - An exciting talent, she has been consistently and aggressively been making her presence felt amongst the wine-tasting and art-loving circles in Bangalore. A perfect Page 3 analogue of the dashing Yuvraj Singh.

Raghu Mukherjee - A product of Malleswaram's famous Cyber gym, this former Mr. India is aggressive in temperament. Just like Robin Uthappa, who is known to hit the ball very hard when he sees it.

Carun Carumbaiah -
He is maturing fast, and seems to be cornering the best arm candies these days. was a sensation during the Halloween fever that swept through Bangalore late last year. Liable to be a bit inconsistent though, like Zaheer Khan.

Pavithra Halakatti -
Is always there, nmo matter who hosts the party. Reminds one of Ajit Agarkar.

Chippy Gangjee -
Once flamboyant, has now mellowed down, and is expected to play the role of senior mentor. Is senior to some of the coaches, like Sachin Tendulkar.

Rubi Chakravarty -
Everyone's favourite comedienne, but somehow always got overlooked for the big ones. Ramesh Powar anyone?

Priscilla Corner -
Once the darling of the yellow media, she somehow lost favour somewhere down the line. Has resurfaced now, in a more subdued avatar, reminiscent of Sourav Ganguly's third coming.

Rani Jeyraj -
Once a favourite with cricket captain Rahul Dravid, she lost her way as a model after her appearance in the Miss World Contest cost the Big B his dignity and fortune. However, she has resurfaced as a serious filmmaker, and deserves yet another chance. She goes on and on and on, like Anil Kumble.

Pashmeena Nowrozi-Barker - Long hair and seductive figure, she is the prettiest of them all...much like pretty-boy Dhoni.

Ranjit Narang -
Inconsistent but brilliant...the king of style. Brings back memories of VVS Laxman's elegance.

Pankaj Advani - Is an accomplished pocket-billiards player, and has been taking the Page 3 world by storm of late. Shows a lot of promise, like young batsman Manoj Tiwary.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Adventure 18


The World Cup was a disaster. A big disaster. It was a torture to watch. Not because of Ajit Agarkar, but because of Srikkanth, Shankar, Ehsaan, and Loy. Also the dancing tiger going balle balle after every boundary made me switch over t0 Doordarshan.

Advertising is not what it was. And I lay the blame squarely on IITs. They created a myth that an engineering degree is the only route to happiness. Hence, perfectly intelligent youngsters wasted a lot of time chasing the holy grail. A few did make it. Some make it to the decent engineering colleges. Most make it to IT coaching centres.

The biggest casualty is the arts. Millions of TV viewers are made to endure Shankar Mahadevan singing "Mind and body heart and soul", and watching Yuvraj Singh morph into a tiger. There's just one solution. Introduce B.Tech degrees for every discipline. Just scrap the B.Sc, B.A., and B.Com degrees. The IITs realised that and introduced the B.Techs in physics and agriculture a long time ago. Here are a few of my suggestions:

B.Tech (English and Communications Engineering)
Addresses the current industrial demand for qualified English speakers and copywriters. Active industry-academia interaction is required to supply high-quality E&C engineers for the mass communication and the BPO sectors.

B.Tech (Social Science and Economic Engineering)
A specially designed course to train professionals in the socio-economic aspects of the burgeoning global economy. Students learn to maximise financial output of an enterprise by understanding the cultural nuances of their business partners.

B. Tech (Art)
A lot of artistic work (especially web design) is being done by former engineering students. The scientific aspect of art shall be taught here to ensure standardised quality artistic output.

Note: Many of these courses may also be offered as PGPs or MBAs to attract the those who have already wasted four years or more, studying one of the old economy engineering courses.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Adventure 17

This is the best spam mail I got on yahoomail yet! Check out the accompanying text also. This is more hilarious than any of the forwards ever created under Sri Sri Narayan Murthy's many ashram's all over the world. Learn, Infy, learn! (do click, enlarge and read the text in pic)

But with phishing attacks and identity theft, it has become a lot more money-oriented.
Does your company have a plan?
Business and financial risk too high?
Does your company have a plan?
Do you know how to sell your business?
Employees in the council's Adult Services Division now have their sickness notification calls re-routed to a call centre in London. And if your accounts information, customer contacts, bank details and personnel data are held on the same server, they could be vulnerable.
"There has been a shift in the professionalism of the groups involved.
According to Twynham, one of the top 10 vulnerabilities is a result of companies hosting their websites on the same database as their operational and financial management systems.
Do you know how to sell your business?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Adventure 16

A lot of water has flown through the Malleswaram pipeline since I last wrote a post. Now I feel like writing again. So here are the new developments:
  1. I have quit Oracle. I am now grossly underpaid and overworked.
  2. Gaurav Sabnis has started reading graphic novels and watching obscure movies and serials, apart from commenting on US politics, Indian cricket, etc.
  3. Shilpa Shetty has at last come of age.
  4. The video posted in my last post is no longer on youtube.
  5. Yahoomail now reaches slightly faster than normal post.
  6. I have discovered that Google is conning wannabe IITJEE aspirants to my blog.