A point to prove

It’s been a month or more that I am working full time after my graduate studies. As a new hire and especially coming straight out of the school you always try to be the “yes” man in the company. Be (hyper) active and try to make contribution wherever possible and somehow create a “say” in the company. Yes, I did the same for my first job four years back by being over concentrated and involved, trying to somehow impress my boss. But is it a good strategy especially in the long run? I was thinking over this issue and tried to simulate the pros and cons of such “unnatural” behavior.
Firstly if you are really cleaver and sharp, people will know your worth right away. You don’t have to take this “extra” effort to prove the point. The way you speak, express ideas or analyze a problem convey it all.
Secondly, you increase the baseline expectations and commitment level by such over capacity behavior. Remember, everyone including your boss expects you to work above or at least at the high level you set right at the start. As time progresses if you don’t deliver what you promised will decrease your credibility. This is shown in case 1. The commitment level set is much higher than the average delivery performance capacity. In this case due to the initial noise one can deliver above the mark but eventually your performance falls down to your “average” capacity which is much lower than the commitment level. Commitment level can only increase or remain constant but cannot decrease.

You should “Never over commit but always over deliver”. This mantra seems very trivial but really makes a marked difference.
Thirdly, making the initial noise in company can leave a bad impression. You may be perceived as an arrogant and the “over” smart type guy. This hinders your peer-peer communication, good-will and ultimately team dynamics.

The case 2 depicts a scenario where your performance is nearby the expectation/commitment level. This scenario is better than case 1 but not the best one if you are looking for a quick career progress.

Case 3 is the optimum. Here you deliver more than the expectation or commitment. Also there is a positive constant increase in the commitment level and your delivery level. Thus there is progress in your performance and responsibility.
So to summarize, it’s always better to take time to set the foot in the company. Understand the work, dynamics, and culture before you start making a “position”. Especially if you are student right out of the school you should “withhold” your excitement.

Cost of the War in Iraq !

Cost of the War in Iraq
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XML based manufacturing standard

Manufacturing technology is in dark ages if you consider the computer/IT arena and internet technology. The success of the computer industry revolves around the successful implementation and acceptances of certain standards like say USB, Http or Bluetooth. Can you imagine the internet if “everyone” would have not agreed upon the http protocol? different protocol for Yahoo, Gmail and hotmail websites ? Certain browsers can open only certain websites they support. Or even worse consider a scenario where a yahoo email sender can only send email to a yahoo account just because other email providers like Gmail or hotmail have proprietary format and adhere to some different standards.
Today one can use almost any device ranging from a digital camera, scanner, printer, mouse or webcam and plug it in the USB port (install any device drivers if required) and it works. Wow! But let’s say every device and its manufacturer came up with their own standards then this wouldn’t have been possible. A dell computer only supports HP printers, an IBM supports Cannon and similar situations would have been common. Fortunately nothing of this happened and thus we can see the innovation and exponential technological progress in computer industry today.
Unfortunately all the situations explained above are true for the manufacturing field. Each service provider has proprietary formats and standard. Different devices don’t talk with each other. Interoperability is an unknown word in the manufacturing dictionary. Thus there is a lot of redundancy, inefficiency and thus wastage. In light to all these issues the Association of Manufacturing technology (AMT) has formally announced a project for development of an all encompassing standard called MTConnect. Their Mission statement is “The creation of a seamless “manufacturing pipeline” from design to production has long been a goal of many industries. The development of digital factory concepts connecting the product and process designer to shop floor/equipment/operation level data and feedback for simulation, optimization and control is moving closer to reality. The challenge is to connect “islands” of technology to make this a seamless link. This is the basic goal of the MTConnect concept for manufacturing systems interoperability.”
MTConnect™ is a lightweight, open and extensible protocol and data representation to allow the ex-change of dynamic sensor data, configuration data, and control information among MTConnect-compliant machines, software applications and controllers. The most strong point is that it is open source and royalty free. That means anyone can use it, modify it or contribute without any restriction. A strong community backed up by academia, industry and government should ensure a consistent, universally accepted and viable standard. The second point to be noted is MTConnect is based on the universally accepted XML representation.

There have been some efforts for standardization in past. Some of the notable are the OMAC in USA, OSACA in Europe, JOP in Japan and some others. The OPC standards have been the most successful to date but still does not have the overhauling impact to direct the industry. AMT will showcase the MTConnect demonstration at the AMT trade show next year in Chicago. The question is: Can MTConnect deliver the promise?

See the Future of Machining Now: Executive Sessions

November 13, 2007
11:00 AM — 1:00 PM
1:30 PM — 3:30 PM

6705 Steger Drive
Cincinnati, OH 45237

These sessions are open to any executive at no fee; however, pre-registration (invite-only) is required because space is limited. Each session is limited to 15 attendees.
Please contact me at deshpande[AT], if you are interested.

Smart Machine Platform Initiative

In an effort to retain and grow the U.S. manufacturing industry, several organizations, including TechSolve, began to take action. Not unlike the game changing technologies that last impacted the manufacturing world, numerical control (NC) in the 1950s and then computer numerical control (CNC) in the 1960s, the Smart Machine Platform Initiative (SMPI) was established to look beyond CNC and into the next game-changing technology—Smart Machines. Smart Machines would have the capability for equipment and process controls to begin to make decisions during the manufacturing process.
SMPI is a five-year effort that is aimed at bringing together research organizations, government laboratories, industry participants, academia, and technology providers to develop, demonstrate, disseminate, and implement smart machine concepts. The program is structured to foster a quick and speedy transition of developed technologies into the U.S. manufacturing infrastructure. SMPI is a partnership with numerous manufacturers, TechSolve, ARDEC and U.S. Army Benet Laboratories.


The two-hour session will include a description of the technologies and demonstrations of how the Smart Machining System will impact your bottom-line.
Smart Machining System technologies that will be demonstrated include:
Intelligent Machining: a technology that will virtually simulate the machining processes so that it can generate, verify, and optimize tool paths and cutting conditions in order to achieve maximum performance
On-Machine Probing: an inspection routine where the data is used to make adjustments to the process to minimize non-conforming parts All demonstrations will be conducted in TechSolve’s state of the art testing facility the M. Eugene Merchant Technology Development Center.
These sessions are open to any executive at no fee; however, pre-registration (invite-only) is required because space is limited. Each session is limited to 15 attendees.
Please contact me at deshpande[AT], if you are interested.

The Future of Manufacturing Conference

November 14, 2007
8:00 AM — 4:00 PM

6705 Steger Drive
Cincinnati, OH 45237

There is no fee for attending the conference, but registration (invite-only) is required. The conference will include a continental breakfast and lunch.
Please contact me at deshpande[AT], if you are interested in attending the conference.

Smart Machine Platform Initiative

In an effort to retain and grow the U.S. manufacturing industry, several organizations, including TechSolve, began to take action. Not unlike the game changing technologies that last impacted the manufacturing world, numerical control (NC) in the 1950s and then computer numerical control (CNC) in the 1960s, the Smart Machine Platform Initiative (SMPI) was established to look beyond CNC and into the next game-changing technology—Smart Machines. Smart Machines would have the capability for equipment and process controls to begin to make decisions during the manufacturing process.
SMPI is a five-year effort that is aimed at bringing together research organizations, government laboratories, industry participants, academia, and technology providers to develop, demonstrate, disseminate, and implement smart machine concepts. The program is structured to foster a quick and speedy transition of developed technologies into the U.S. manufacturing infrastructure. SMPI is a partnership with numerous manufacturers, TechSolve, ARDEC and U.S. Army Benet Laboratories.

Conference Highlights
See how Smart Machines, the next generation of equipment and process controls, will not only execute commands, but also modify and optimize instructions prior to the execution step. This look-ahead ability to modify and optimize will be based on a sophisticated system of sensors and controls that will know and understand the process conditions and parameters as well as the health of the equipment and the tool required to perform the task. The conference topics include: Health and Maintenance Technology, Machine Tool Metrology, and Supervisory Systems. Health and Maintenance tracks the condition of various machine tool elements and tooling, while Machine Tool Metrology creates an understanding of the accuracy and repeatability of the equipment and determines the difference between the reported position and location of the cutting tool versus the actual. The Supervisory
System handles the management and communication of sensor data to the various interdependent technology systems. This decision-making Supervisory System will also direct adjustments within the Smart Machine System. Be among the first to witness the game changing technology in Smart Machines.

The conference will be a series of seminars and demonstrations designed to give you an understanding of the entire Smart Machining process.

Morning Seminar
Health & Maintenance Technology

By using diagnostic and prognostic evaluation tools, this technology monitors and assesses the overall health/condition of the Smart Machining System and develops a proactive maintenance schedule.

Noon Seminar
Machine Tool Metrology

This seminar discusses the creation of a science based understanding of the differences in the reported and actual position of a cutting tool to maximize accuracy.

Afternoon Seminar
Supervisory System

Realizing “First Part Correct” is possible with an integrated Supervisory System that coordinates process monitoring and controls through seamless, real-time communication to provide the optimal machining solution.

All demonstrations will be conducted after the seminars in TechSolve’s state of the art testing facility the M. Eugene Merchant Technology Development Center.

There is no fee for attending the conference, but registration (invite-only) is required. The conference will include a continental breakfast and lunch.
Please contact me at deshpande[AT], if you are interested in attending the conference.

CCD coming soon !

Well if not the Indian food chain, which I thought is an unexplored business opportunity the Indian Coffee chain ‘Café Coffee Day’ has quick spotted the opportunity. The Indian coffee giant chain Café Coffee Day (CCD) has announced that it will soon open international branches in US, Europe and Middle East. A division of Amalgamated Bean Coffee Trading Company Ltd. (ABCTCL), it is commonly known as Coffee Day or CCD. It opened its first cafe in 1996 on Brigade Road in Bangalore, and today has the largest cafe retail chain in India - with 436 cafes in 69 cities. For more information, please click here. At last, I can (atleast try to)replicate the good old days during my under graduation when I used to spend uncountable number of hours sipping over a hot cup of coffee at CCD. I have some unforgettable memories associated with CCD. The CCD on the Fergusson college road - Pune was the "grand" venue for my grand “first date”. Can anyone forget his or her first date? The CCD proved to be very lucky for me. I got married with Nirupama (first date at CCD) last summer in India. We try to remember and cherish our college day by going to omnipresent Starbucks. However, this is too artificial ... I really miss my hot CCD coffee (that does not mean that I hate or do not like Starbucks coffee). We sincerely hope to see a CCD very soon somewhere in and around Cincinnati, Ohio.

Book Review: Winning Nice

Recently, I read “Winning Nice: How to Succeed in Business and Life Without Waging War” by Dawna Stone (Winner of the Apprentice: Martha Stewart and founder of Her Sports + Fitness magazine). Dawna brings in her myriad of experience and explains some real world situations and their solutions. Every chapter also has a sweet short ending summarizing the contents and listing the action points. Dawna also chips in experiences and success stories of some well-known names including Oprah Winfrey, Jim Marshall, Tim Wilkins, Bill Gates, Steve Forbes Cheryl Richardson and others. The book is divided mainly into two sections the basic seven skills to build your foundation and further tips and techniques to apply for a bright future in business and life.
The section of resume and interview preparation is very good in content. Recent graduates and job hunters watch out for this section. The best part of the book is that Dawna has done a great job of translating her experience effectively into words in a simple and consistent language. Instead of being very philosophical, the book explains some real world issues and their solution. The language is simple, consistent and easy to understand. Some of the success stories are well explained to clarify the point at hand. Dawna also has touched upon some social issues in work place like sexual discrimination. The only weakness I found was that the book sometimes become a little repetitive and stretches itself around the main point.
Overall, I enjoyed the book and should prove a helpful resource to head start my career next week.

Feeling of “being a part of...”

Yesterday was my first day at work as a full time employee of a company. Six months ago I had a similar experience of the first day of work at work but as an intern and not a full time employee. Though both the times I was excited and eager there was a considerable difference in my goals and perception.
Firstly when I joined as an intern I knew this is going to be a short-term assignment. The goal was to make the most of it, try to gain as much knowledge as I can and try to get a full time position if the work and environment is favorable. I was never interested in company structure, policies or internal affairs. I remember when I just joined the company’s vice president left the company which somehow created a panic situation. Everyone was concerned about the company’s future and organizational change it will create. But I was least concerned, I was more focused on the task I was assigned and setting my foot in a completely new area. As an intern you are more focused on solving the current problem at hand (so that you can make that initial impression on your supervisor) and coming up with quick results. As my internship was in the research labs I was also interested in publishing papers and filing patents which will strengthen my resume. I never tried to get a broad understanding of field I was working. Everything was task specific and anything else was categorized as ‘others’.
On the contrary yesterday’s experience was completely different. The excitement level was may be the same but my perception and goal was completely different. I was more focused on understanding the company structure, organizational internal policies and broad understanding of my work responsibilities. I was scheduled for various meetings with “other” departments, meeting with HR and a welcome lunch with my manager. There was a certainly a feeling of “being a part of” as against being a foreigner. Also there was much more respect and importance given (that does not mean that in the earlier case there was no respect) where my whole team welcomed me and there were introductions with some senior members of the company. In the earlier case nobody knew (except my supervisor and core team) that I was a new employee (sorry… intern) in the company. Feeling of “belonging” to something makes you act and think in a different way. I hope I do a good job as a full time employee as I did when I was an intern (which helped me to get this job). Wish me best luck.

Why not an Indian food chain?

In corporate America, we have chains for every retails sector and food is not an exception. There are Italian (Olive Garden, Buca di beppo), Chinese (P. F. Chang), Mexican (Taco Bell, Chipotle and … ) and other American fast food stuff (and possibly junk) like Mac D, KFC, Burger King, Wendy, Arby and tons of other. The fact, which surprises me, is that there is no Indian food chain. Indian food is quite famous among the western world and especially in United States. Whenever I go to some good Indian restaurant, I see more people of non-Indian origin than Indians itself (based on the experiences at SFO, CA, Mountain View, CA, Palo Alto, CA and Cincinnati, OH). So why have not any entrepreneur thought of an Indian food chain endeavor? I disagree to the argument that there is a limited market or a narrow business opportunity in starting a Indian food restaurant. According to me if done in a cost effective way, standardized, cuisine adjusted to the western palate and with proper marketing effort, Indian food chain should be an excellent business opportunity, which for some unknown reason is still unexplored. Any thoughts?

Comprehensive Open Source Software List

I came across the most comprehensive open source software list titled ‘OPEN SOURCE GOD: 480+ Open Source Applications’. The article includes the software description and web links to their respective website. The list contains open source software in the field of accounting, content management systems, customer relationship management, email clients, graphics, video and audio tools and many others. It is the most comprehensive list I have ever come across. It also has links to other listings like Word press plug-ins, Fire fox plug-ins and resources for online productivity and media. Another comprehensive open source software list and reference can be found at Guy Snir’s webpage at .
Let us embrace the rich and effective open source products…

Interview Tips

Here are some tips and insights I will like to share to crack an interview. The tips are based on my experience of job-hunting for past 3 months or so. The journey was not so smooth. Initially I was rejected at the telephonic interview stage itself, then at intermediate and final interviews before I got couple of good and above expected offers. I have listed some tips from my experience and literature studied.

* Be positive, affirmative and confident. When asked a question about your weaknesses just do not start listing one weak quality after another or give a plain answer like “I do not have any weaknesses”. Both answers will prove detrimental for your interview outcome. Here are some answers I used for my interviews.

Q. What are your weaknesses?
English writing skills

“I thought my English writing skills were not at the expected level required in the professional world. However, over the time I think I have successfully conquered my weakness. I have more than three research publications in a span of one year of my graduate study here in United States. I am also an active blogger and some of my articles have appeared in the newsletters of some leading professional organizations”

Challenging and innovative environment
“After my undergraduate in Mechanical Engineering, I started working in a software industry primarily providing services. The mundane and unchallenging work started killing my research aspirations. I started to feel that I am no more innovative or novel. At that point, I took the decision to quit my job and pursue my graduate studies. Today I am proud to say that I have a patent and a rich experience of working in research and consulting environment with some publications and conferences under my belt.”
If you notice closely, I started with my weaknesses and effectively converted them to my strong points. This is what I mean by being positive.

* Ask questions. The Q&A session should not be unidirectional but an interactive session. This ensures that the interviewer is very much involved in the process and it also helps to reduce the number of questions. Ask questions about the job profile and show your curiosity in the organization structure, opportunities and business model. This will leave the interviewer with an impression that you have a genuine interest in working at his company. It will also demonstrate your communication skills and ability to question.

*There will be instances where you will not be able to answer some of the questions. Make sure you ask the answers to the questions at the end of the interview process. This will certainly leave the interviewer a positive interpretation about you and it will provide you a chance to add your thoughts/comments on the questions you were unable to answer earlier.

* Dress professionally with an appropriate appearance. It shows that you have respect and value for the person and the organization you are interviewing.

* It will be great if you can have your personal website listing your education, background, work experience and honors. Also, make sure you have listed the website URL on your resume.

* Please turn off your cell phones and other digital gadgets or at least turn them on the silent mode. This may sound a bit childish but I have personally being a victim of not taking proper steps in a haste.

* Make sure you understand the question before you start giving the answer. This is very necessary to keep the interview on track.

*Have a copy of your resume, publications, seminars, projects reports ready.

* Take notes, if appropriate. That means you should have a rough pad and a pen ready with you. It will also help you if you have to explain your point with help of a figures or a chart.

* Be punctual. Arrive some time before the interview and give yourself time to relax and be ready for the interview.

* One question I was asked during the interview was “How much salary are you expecting?” I was just not prepared for the question and after thinking a little bit, I gave some arbitrary answer. I made a terrible mistake.
Please have a range of salary and know your worth based on the job profile, company and location. Resources such as can be of a great help.

* A firm (not bone-crunching) handshake, smile on your face and a direct eye contact will leave a good impression.

* Notify your references about your interview with the specific company. This will keep them updates and assure you a positive feedback in case the company contacts them.

* Speak slowly but clearly. This is especially important if you are an international candidate having English as a second language. I know many of Indian friends who talk so fast that it is very difficult for a native English speaker to comprehend. Remember, clear communication is the key for success.

*Do not answer in air or try your luck in case you do not know the answer. It is always better to say, “I am sorry I am not aware of the answer at this point of time. But I will be more than happy to gain the required expertise and get back with you”.

* Avoid any strong perfume or scent usage, if any. The strong smell can some time annoy the interviewer. I have been involved in the reverse case when a woman interviewer used some strong perfume, which left me sneezing for initial ten minutes.

* Avoid any strong religious, national or personal beliefs or sentiments.

* Practice a mock interview with your friends, family relatives or coworkers. This will certainly increase your confidence.

* Do an in-depth research about the organization before the interview. Familiarize your self with the business, latest news, top management structure, products and other important facts.

* Send a thank you notification (hand written or email) appreciating time and effort for the interview. Also, make sure that you mention that you are very much interested in the job and the company and include your contact information.

Following the above tips certainly helped me to get the job. I wish you a very best luck for your job search.

Yahoo gears up!

Yahoo beefs up its search technology by integrating its Yahoo Music, Yahoo Movies and other services. Today I yahoo'd (not googled) “Eastern Promises” and got results giving a link to the movie on Yahoo movies widget plus show timings in the nearby theatres. In addition, a search for a famous artist like Shakira gives links to the Yahoo music widget with the most popular songs. I was very satisfied with the Yahoo assist feature. It was certainly at par with the similar suggest application by Google. Another difference I noticed is that Yahoo numbers its search results serially. Finally I yahoo'd and googled my name (i.e. Amit Deshpande) and found that Yahoo [253,000] had more search results than Google [157,000].
Will all these features be successful to bring back the lost glory for Yahoo? Can Yahoo be number one search engine? More than technology Yahoo will also have to change the perception of the users. Google has become a “verb” today. Can Yahoo beat it?

Prototyping using Excel

Software prototyping is becoming more and more important with the evolving internet and Web 2.0 where the applications are richer in terms of functionality and content. The GUI (Graphical User Interface) friendliness decides the success or a failure of a website. Prototyping has become the quintessential process in the product life cycle. Flash, Visio or even MS Word are most commonly used tools for prototyping. Sometimes the developer can use the product development tools itself for prototyping. Nevertheless, can anyone think of MS Excel used as an efficient and useful tool for prototyping?
Jonathan Arnowitz, Michael Arent and Nevin Berger describe the applicability of Excel as a prototyping tool in their book Effective Prototyping for Software Makers. For more information visit
Here are some snapshots of demo examples of prototyping using Excel.
All the prototypes are built using Excel.

Open Source super-linear growth # 2

Currently I am investigating the trend and patterns in the overall open source software growth. We are using the source lines of code as our metric to measure the total open source growth across thousands of open source projects. Personally I think that open source is not just growing super linearly but exponentially. There are many reasons I think that it is increasing exponentially (current research) but here I will just like to unveil the open source penetration in the web server market. Apache which is an open source web server outperforms the proprietary Microsoft web server IIS by a large margin. According to the Netcraft survey (April 2007) of 1.2 billion websites, Apache had a share of 58.8 % while Microsoft had 31% share. Also, looking at the usage trends the Apache web server seems to have much more healthier future than Microsoft IIS web server. Considering the fact that web is increasing at a tremendous rate, the IIS usage seems to be constant or mostly declining. The sudden increase in IIS usage in April 2006 can be attributed GoDaddy’s decision to shift to Microsoft technologies away from open source. Except this ‘artificial’ and ‘paid’ (?) sudden spike the IIS is certainly on a decline.

Your attitude can do wonders

Just read through this and think about it ...

Father: I want you to marry a girl of my choice
Son: "I will choose my own bride!"
Father: "But the girl is Bill Gates's daughter."
Son: "Well, in that case...ok"

Next Day Father approaches Bill Gates.
Father: "I have a husband for your daughter."
Bill Gates: "But my daughter is too young to marry!"

Father: "But this young man is a vice-president of the World Bank."
Bill Gates: "Ah, in that case...ok"

Finally Father goes to see the president of the World Bank.
Father: "I have a young man to be recommended as a vice-president."
President: "But I already have more vice- presidents than I need!"
Father: "But this young man is Bill Gates's son-in-law."
President: "Ah, in that case...ok"

This is how business is done!!

Moral: Even If you have nothing, You can get Anything. But your attitude should be positive.

Thanks to Neha for sending this.

How many best friends do you have?

Interesting question... Huh? Here are the results of a poll on Facebook for number of best friends (1003 participants). According to the poll, 46% of participants have 2-3 best friends. Of course the term ‘best’ friend is loosely defined and depends upon one’s perception. The poll result follows the natural bell curve. Firstly one can observe that age of a person is not an influencing factor in determining number of friends one has. The breakdown of results by age does not show any significance pattern. Another interesting facts is that males seem to be more extreme with 7% male having no best friends and 20% having more than ten best friends. In contrast 50% of females have 2-3 best friends and the percentage goes on decreasing sharply as we go away from the mean in either direction.

The best spam

Email spam is not something new to the Internet world. The early days of internet saw email spam in form of spam links in emails, password hacks, advertisements, marketing, free stuff, prizes etc.. As spamming increased the service providers imposed some good spam control software’s and also the people got smarter to avoid spam. However the spammers also devised new methods and managed not just to survive but to flourish even today. Today I received an email which I consider one of the best spam emails. Instead of getting angry and frustrated I kept my cool and read (for the first time) the whole email. It’s amazing to see the plot and the way spammers and luring you to fall in their trap by making up some real stories with real names and to-believe themes. Now days they start making stories about money transfers, commission, profit etc… and at the end politely ask for your personal information. There is also an emotional edge to capture your sympathy. A well crafted can spam can really work if the user is novice/beginner. Enjoy reading the following spam:

This letter may come to you as a surprise due to the fact that we have not yet met, but it shouldn’t, since we are determined to get what rightly belongs to us anyhow, but soon when everything goes according to plan. The message could be strange but reality will definitely dawn on you, if you pay some attention to it's content. I wouldn’t have notified you but for the sake of your integrity and goodwill. Please accept my sincere apologies.
In bringing this message to you, I have to say that I have no intentions of causing you any personal pains or discomfort. My name is Caron Keon, 23 years of age, living in the company of my junior brother a native of Dabou in Cote D'ivoire.
Our father before his death was a gold merchant and cocoa merchant before his death. Also our father was also one of the casualties of the invasion of the rebels, after their emergence in the capital city, in some parts of the country, of which our hometown was their stronghold. Since the killing of our father by the rebels’ life had been miserable, and we had been living in Abidjan, the capital city of Ivory coast, in a Church meant as a camp for the displaced citizens of my country. The most passionate of all , is the existence of the rebels here in this country since 19th September 2002.
Our mother died when I was just 12 years old, and since then my father took me so special. Before his death on May 25 2003 he called the secretary who accompanied him to the hospital and told him that he has the sum of Eight Million United State Dollars.(USD$8.000,000) left in a metallic trunk box being registered as family valuables.
I am just 23 years old and a high school drop out and really don’t know what to do. This is because we have suffered a lot of set backs as a result of incessant political crisis in Abidjan. The death of my father actually brought sorrow to our life. During my escape, I manage on to get on in my possession the vital documents that relate to the consignment and i have even called on the company for confirmation.
Sir, we are in a sincere desire of your humble assistance in this regards. Your suggestions and ideas will be highly regarded.

Now permit us to ask these few questions:-
1. Can you honestly help us as your son or daughter/.
2. Can we completely trust you?
3. We have decided to offer you 15% of the total sum .
4. How can you assist us also in moving away from this place? Please get back to me on my personal email address.

Please, consider this and get back to us as soon as possible.
Thank you so much.

My sincere regards,

Miss Caron Keon

Open Source super-linear growth

Once a territory of a select few developers, researchers and engineers open source is now embraced and supported by government and large software corporations.

Today when I was writing my technical report I came across the article “The Growth of Open Source Software in Organizations”. It is an excellent resource for getting the state-of-the-art information for the open source growth in industry and its implications. The following point in the executive summary reflects (based on the survey of about 512 companies) the super linear growth of open source software development:

Organizations are saving millions of dollars on IT by using open source software. In 2004, open source software saved large companies (with annual revenue of over $1 billion) an average of $3.3 million. Medium-sized companies (between $50 million and $1 billion in annual revenue) saved an average $1.1 million. Firms with revenues under $50 million saved an average $520,000. Asked to categorize all the benefits (cost savings and other) from open source, most companies said they were moderate or major. Some 70% of large firms are seeing moderate or major benefits from open source. Of the companies under $1 billion in revenue, 59% are seeing major benefits.

Google Experimental search

Try out the new features Google is planning to implement to better the search experience at Google experimental. Google experimental is the new application launched by the Google labs where they make available the features they are planning to implement for the search engine. The strategy is to get a feedback from the user about the proposed feature and implement it in case there is a consistent positive feedback. This technique works well both for Google and their users. From the users perspective they get the features they like and for Google it makes them more sellable. It greatly reduces the probability of a product failure and potential customer loss. The strategy also reduces efforts spend on developing and testing features which will never be implemented. There are also some pitfalls. From the Google’s perspective, they are exposing the future application in advance to their competitors. In addition, it may also potentially reduce the user appreciation for new features because the features are already 'old' for them.

Summarizing, I think that the new 'preview' strategy for the new products can serve as a win-win deal for both Google and the users.

Geometric growth of the Linux kernel

Yesterday I read the article “Growth, Evolution, and Structural Change in Open Source Software” by Michael Godfrey and Qiang Tu. The article analyses the growth of Linux kernel in terms of lines of code since the first release. The statistical model developed for the uncommented lines of code is shown below. Even after crossing two million lines of code the Linux kernel enjoys a geometric growth in terms of lines of code. The model for the commented lines of code shows a similar trend.

Model: y = .21* x2 + 252 *x + 90,055


y = size in uncommented LOC

x = days since vl.0

r2 = .997 (coefficient of determination calculated using least squares)

Linux enjoys the active support form the ever increasing open source developer community which enables it to sustain such a tremendous growth. More than half of the code is for the various drivers which are independent of the system. The authors have also analyzed the Fetchmail, GCC compiler and VIM editor applications and concluded that ‘the evolution of each open source system is different and cannot be generalized’.

The interesting question is: what’s the trend for the total open source development? Is it increasing linearly, geometrically or may be decreasing. Successful projects like MySQL, Apache, Eclipse, SugarCRM, and OpenOffice indicate that Open Source must be increasing at a super linear rate. Still a formal analysis of open source is required to validate our hypothesis.

Obesity Map

The Department of Health and Services recently published a survey showing the exponential growth of obesity((BMI > 30) in United States. The complete survey can be accessed by clicking here. If you observe the map carefully we can see some pattern.
The southern states seem to suffer from obesity more than the northern states. Also the west coast states are much more healthy than the east coast states. Mississippi and West Virginia had a prevalence of obesity equal to or greater than 30%. Today, obesity has become much bigger problem than smoking in late 70's and 80's (thanks to the cheap crap fast food available). The importance of good health and nutrition should be emphasized in the educational curriculum. The youth today should be well educated and know the ill effects of obesity. I think the influence and family and parents will play a vital role.
Educational institutes play the most important part. For example, there are many fast food restaurants on-campus in the university I study in Ohio. In classroom we study that fast food is bad and when we come outside the classroom we can only see fast food all around. Thus, today we just don't need the educational theory but some practical steps to curb the trend. The active role of educational institutes, government and parents will decide the fitness of the youth tomorrow.

Percent of Obese (BMI > 30) in U.S. Adults-2006

India a bigger market than US for Nokia

India has overtaken the US to become the second largest market (in terms of sale) for Nokia after China. Today India has about 185 million mobile users and which are increasing at a unprecedented rate. I remember I had my first mobile phone which was a Nokia 3310 in 2003. I was in my third year of engineering at that time and was among a very few who used a mobile phone. And today in 2007 mobile phone has become an ordinary thing for a college student. In 2004 Nokia had just 400 employees and today its more than 9000. Just 3 years ... and such a big difference !!!

Dreaming of your own house?

If you are dreaming for your own home sweet home you should certainly avoid the following ten cities. Forbes recently published a report which listed the top ten least affordable cities for the real estate prices. California seems to be the most expensive with respect to the salary with Los Angeles (thanks for the Hollywood), San Francisco (thanks for the Silicon Valley) and San Diego topping the list. It is a bit surprising to see San Diego, CA ahead of New York which is considered the economic capital of the United States. Also the absence of Chicago, IL and Phoenix, AZ is also somewhat interesting.

  1. Los Angeles, CA
  2. San Francisco, CA
  3. San Diego, CA
  4. New York, NY
  5. Miami, FL
  6. Sacramento, CA
  7. Las Vegas, NV
  8. Seattle, WA
  9. Boston, MA
  10. Orlando, FL

Population Clock

Check out this webpage where US census Bureau estimates the world population real-time. Just wait for some time and refresh the page. You will see the increase in population in that few seconds you took to refresh the page.
The number I got on 08/25/07 at 01:50 GMT.

TCS joins the Open Source Initiative

I will be completing my internship with Open Source Research Group at SAP Labs, Palo Alto next month. In the past five months I learned a lot about the Open Source and its strong presence in Europe and America. The sad thing was that even after having a great infrastructure and a huge computer industry in India, I couldn't find a single firm/project contributing to the Open Source development. But things are changing; the young Indian developers and large corporations are now finding value in the Open Source initiative. Today I came across the Open Source project ""WANEM - The Wide Area Network Emulator" supported by the Indian IT giant Tata Consultancy Services. The project is hosted on SourceForge and licensed under the GNU GPL.

I strongly believe that the Indian companies will benefit the most with Open Source especially considering that most of the companies are service providers and not product companies. The future of the Indian IT sector will be much more secure and independent of outsourcing with the embrace of Open Source development. Especially with the available infrastructure and a large pool of extremely talented developers, Open Source can transform the current business model which is heavily dependent upon outsourcing.

I hope other Indian firms follow the example set by TCS.

Tata eyes global market

India Inc. seems to be shining in not just IT outsourcing and BPO's but also in technological fields like automotive industry. When I was a kid (which was not long back) I can hardly remember a Indian car which had a global presence or for that matter even a national presence. And today I read news that Tata eyes to buy the Land Rover and Jaguar form the parent company Ford. Tata has already launched the first indigenous Indian car in the European market and if it succeeds to acquire the current deal the Indian brand will truly go global. It will also help Tata to reduce their dependence on Indian markets which fetches them more than 90% of their revenue. Let us hope that Tata Motors succeeds in acquiring the deal.

fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid too

i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

KDD 2007 videos

The Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (KDD) conference 2007 was held at the Fairmont, San Jose. All the videos for the invited talks, panel discussion and industry & research track presentations are now available online here.

Chak De India: Inspired by a true story

By now many of you must have already seen the latest film Chak De India from Yash Raj Productions. But do you know that the film is inspired by a true story ?

Chak De India is inspired by a real life story of an Indian hockey player Meer Ranjan Negi. Negi was charged with match fixing allegation in 1982 when India lost to Pakistan in the Asian Games at Delhi. Negi then took up the job for coaching the Indian Women Hockey team. Under the leadership of Negi, the Women’s Hockey team won the Gold medal at Manchester Common Wealth Games in 2002.

Grand Canyon of MARS

Enjoy the animation of the Mariner Valley at Mars. It is the largest and the deepest canyon one can find in the whole solar system.


Google recently started a local voice search service for getting the required information on telephone. So what’s this stuff? Consider you are in driving in a new city and you want to know the nearest pizza place. What do you do? Just drive nearby and hope to find one, call up a friend who has an internet access or just don’t eat? Well, GOOG-411 addresses such issues. You can call 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411) and get the required information instantly. One can also get connected to the business (in our case the pizza shop) for further details. You can get the details by SMS if you are using a mobile phone. And the best part is that all the services are free except the phone charge you incur (which depends upon your service provider).
The system is still in experimental stage for the fine tuning of the voice recognition system. For further details visit:

English to Hindi

Just came across the Google’s new tool for translating English to Hindi in Devnagiri script. Please visit for details. The tools works really works quite well with Hindi formatting and grammar. This is certainly the best available tool so far for automatic translation to devnagiri script.

Open Source Licenses

Open Source development is crowded with different licenses and their various clauses and conditions for code reuse and distribution. It is an interesting analysis to see how many licenses a single project uses. The natural and most logical answer will be 1, which is correct. I did an analysis of more than 5000 different projects listed in Ossmole. The results are as follows:

About 93% open source projects just use 1 license. The most fascinating point is that there are some projects which use more than 2 licenses. It will be very interesting to study such projects which are using more than 2 licenses. I am just wondering about the requirements or process/business model of such projects which require usage of more than two different licenses. Another interesting point is that there are some projects which do not use any software license (yeah !!!). That means they have no restriction in terms of their usage. A closer analysis of such projects will also be a point of interest.

Independence Day

India celebrates its 60th independence day tomorrow on 15th August. Here are some quick facts I came acroos today about India'a glorious past.

1.India never invaded any country in her last 1000 years of history.
2.Number ‘Zero’ was invented by Aryabhatta, an Indian scientist.
3.The world's first University was established in Takshila in 700BC. More than 10,500 students from all over the world studied more than 60 subjects. The University of Nalanda built in the 4th century BC was one of the greatest achievements of ancient India in the field of education.
4.According to the Forbes magazine, Sanskrit is the most suitable language for computer software.
5.Ayurveda is the earliest school of medicine known to humans.
6.The art of navigation was born in the river Sindh 5000 years ago. The very word "Navigation" is derived from the Sanskrit word NAVGATIH.
7.The value of pi was first calculated by Budhayana, and he explained the concept of what is now known as the Pythagorean Theorem. In 1999 British scholars officially published that Budhayan's works dates to the 6 th Century.
8.Algebra, trigonometry and calculus came from India. Quadratic equations were by Sridharacharya in the 11 th Century.
9.According to the Gemological Institute of America, up until 1896, India was the only source of diamonds to the world.
10.IEEE has proved what has been a century-old suspicion amongst academics that the pioneer of wireless communication was Professor Jagdeesh Bose and not Marconi.
11.The earliest reservoir and dam for irrigation was built in Saurashtra.
12.Chess was invented in India.
13.Sushruta is the father of surgery. 2600 years ago health scientists at that time conducted surgeries like cesareans, cataract, fractures and urinary stones. Usage of anesthesia was well known in ancient India.
14.When many cultures in the world were only nomadic forest dwellers over 5000 years ago, Indians established Harappa culture in Sindhu Valley (Indus Valley Civilization).
15.The decimal system was developed in India in 100 BC.

Let's work together to bring back the glorious past and make world a peaceful place to live.Special thanks to Haresh for sending me the facts.

Rich and Green Pune!

Centre for Development Studies and Activities is an internationally renowned, autonomous research, training and policy making institution. For the past thirty years CDSA is addressing itself to issues concerning management of environment while promoting development as well as reduction of poverty and creation of wealth.
The Times of India Pune and CDSA are teaming up to start a series of articles that will be published every Monday and will be concerned with building awareness amongst the citizens of Pune regarding the various issues related to the proper development of the city. The idea is to build a citizens forum geared towards understanding the city, its people and the problems they face so as to come up with better, more sustainable and productive solutions, we feel this is the need of the day as we are all in it together. Remember every Mondays times.

Aims and Objectives of CDSA
1. To conduct research on development problems and processes, to experiment with planning methods, to develop techniques of evaluation which give accurate feedback on the nature and type of changes taking place in the society.
2. To teach and train participants about the problems and processes of development, to impart skills to them on methods and techniques of planning, implementation, administration and evaluation.
3. To help governments, its agencies and other public bodies by training their personnel, carrying out pilot projects for them, conducting research in areas of public policy and decision-making, and giving them correct and accurate feedback.
4. To carry out research and advocacy in areas of public policy, decision making and participatory governance at various levels.
5. To enter into contracts with individuals, firms, companies, societies, institutions, agencies, government and non government organizations in India and abroad which further the objectives of CDSA.
For more information please visit:
For more details contact Siddharth Benninger at

Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining -Day 1 & 2

The 13th International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (KDD) 2007 conference started on Saturday, 11 Aug, 2007 at the Fairmont Hotel, San Jose, California. The conference is sponsored by Microsoft adCenter Labs (Platinum support), Google, Yahoo, Oracle (Gold supporters) and KDD organization (Organizational support). The registration stared at 5.00 p.m. with no technical sessions or workshops on the first day. The volunteers had a review session at 3.00 p.m. to 4.00 p.m. (I am working as a student volunteer this year for the conference). The technical workshops and tutorials started on Sunday at 9.00 in morning. The full day workshop consisted of various topics including Data Mining and Audience Intelligence for Advertising, Data Mining in Bioinformatics, KDD Cup, Knowledge Discovery from Sensor Data, Privacy, Security, and Trust in KDD and Web Mining and Social Network Analysis. The half day workshops included Multimedia Data Mining, Mining Multiple Information Sources, Challenge on Time Series Classification, Data Mining Standards, Services and Platforms, and Domain Driven Data Mining.
The tutorials topics included Mining Large Time-evolving Data Using Matrix and Tensor Tools, Statistical Framework for Mining Data Streams, Statistical Modeling of Relational Data, Text Mining and Link Analysis for Web and Semantic Web, Trees to Forests and Rule Sets - A Unified Overview of Ensemble Methods, Learning Bayesian Networks and Mining Shape and Time Series Databases with Symbolic Representations.
The morning session consisted of three hours having a twenty minutes coffee break in between the sessions followed by lunch and then the afternoon session with the same format.
In the evening there was an award ceremony for best paper, student travel and Service and Innovation Awards followed by Innovation Award Talk by Usama Fayyad. The conference attracted various researchers around the globe in the field of Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery. I personally met some researchers and graduate students working in my area of interest. The conference provided the state-of-the-art research in area of data mining and a perfect platform for networking and meeting the leading researchers and industry personnel. I look forward to the next three days which should be very exciting and technically challenging.

Open Source Target Customers

Open source is targeted for development of tools and software for the developers. The results below show that 31% of open source projects have a target audience of developers. These projects mainly deal with producing easy to use applications for software development like Eclipse, SVN and CVS. Second in the list is the desktop applications for end-users which has about 26% share. These applications which may serve as a substitute for commercial licenses software’s are targeted at the end user. Examples in this category include Open Office, R, and Weka. Interestingly there are some applications which have audiences in area of religion, legal industry and education. A list of top 20 audience/target industry for open source projects is summarized below.

SourceForge Project Categories

SourceForge classifies projects in seven different categories i.e. Planning, Pre-alpha, Alpha, Alpha, Beta, Production, Mature and Inactive, according to their development status.

1. There are a lot of single developer projects which do not have any significant activity after the initial project registration. The percentage of projects in planning stage indicates this fact.
2. The highest number of projects are in the beta testing phase. Thus, one may expect a lot of open source projects in the production/stable category in the near future.
3. The lowest number of projects in the mature category indicate that a very few projects ultimately mature.
4. Some projects are in inactive state where the project administrator declares the project is shut down. SourceForge frequently removes these projects from the directory.

Superpower India: Following the sine curve?

In my earlier article "India the Superpower: Extraordinary or usual?" I proposed that the rise of and fall of any empire, nation or culture follows an sinusoidal wave. In this article I have plotted the changes in the modern state of India on the economic prosperity and development stage dimensions. A flourishing economy in the seventeenth century reduced to an under developed and poor country during the colonist period and the free and shining India today saw all the sinusoidal phases plotted on the curve below. By the current trends and patterns it is estimated that India will become a superpower by 2040.

India the Superpower: Extraordinary or usual?

India and China’s GDP is growing at rate of more than 10%. Both nations are estimated to be superpowers in the twenty first century. Is this change to India which was always perceived to be a country of poor’s, underdeveloped an extraordinary or an usual.

Historically in the seventeenth century India was always referred as ‘Sone Ki Chidiya’ (Country of Gold). Things started changing as the western colonist expanded their trade empire from 1800 till 1947. In that era India was much advanced and richer in culture and economy than even Constantinople and the European superpowers. In 1600, when the East India Company was founded, Britain was generating 1.8% of the world's GDP, while India was producing 22.5%. By 1870, at the peak of the Raj, Britain was generating 9.1%, while India had been reduced for the first time to the epitome of a Third World nation, a symbol across the globe of famine, poverty and deprivation ( reference:- Time- Thursday, Aug. 02, 2007).
Today, India has more software engineers than any other country. The manufacturing, retails, software and for that matter each and every segment is growing at an overwhelming rate. Is this change extraordinary or just of the blue? My Answer: Nope. It just follows the law of equilibrium.

It was Indian subcontinent in the seventeenth century followed by the rise of America and Russia after the worlds wars and now it’s again the Asian subcontinent. The world trade has followed a sinusoidal wave. It increases, reaches maximum, break evens, reduces and then increases again. The history has seen this sinusoidal behavior with the rise and fall of great empires, nation and cultures and this trend also continues in today’s’ information technology age. The interesting parameter is ‘Time’ which is on X axis. This has varied and will continue to vary depending upon the initial conditions, inequality, intrinsic and external factors relating to a nation, momentum or rate of change etc… It is estimated that China and India will surpass the USA GDP by 2030 and 2045 respectively.
Thus the rise of India and China is not that big surprise. With more than 2 billion skilled workers among the two nations it is just a matter of time that these two humongous pieces of land will start dominating the world economy.

‘Yahoo’ googled more than Google?

Yes that’s true just try it yourself. Yesterday, I used Google Trends to compare Google and Yahoo searches on and guess what … I found that ‘Yahoo’ is googled more than the word ‘Google’ itself. Isn’t this interesting considering that both are arch rivals targeting the same web search business?

What this result mean is that people actually go to Google and search for Yahoo services on Google. This is a bit absurd for me. If they want to use Yahoo services why should they go to and search yahoo? They can easily go directly to Yahoo... right? To add to this why will one ever use and google ‘Google’ keyword itself? To see the results I performed this search (Google on myself. The results were as follows (in descending order): Google Maps, Google News, Google Video, Google groups, and then itself. Thus googling Google gives Google as fifth result and not the first. Anyway still the question remains unanswered: what is the motivation behind googling Google or Yahoo?

Open Source Projects Development Stages

SourceForge classifies projects in seven different categories i.e. Planning, Pre-alpha, Alpha, Alpha, Beta, Production, Mature and Inactive, according to their development status. The following article shows an analysis in which I have quantified the percentage of projects in each category.


1. There are a lot of single developer projects which do not have any significant activity after the initial project registration. The high percentage of projects in planning stage indicates this fact.
2. The highest number of projects is in the beta testing phase. Thus one may expect a lot of open source projects in the production/stable category in the near future.
3. The lowest number of projects in the mature category indicate that a very few projects ultimately reach maturation.
4. Some projects are in inactive state where the project administrator declares the project shut down. SourceForge frequently removes these projects from the directory.

# developer vs. stage

In my earlier post I analyzed the number of projects according to their development stage. I took a step further and analyzed the average number of developers in projects according to their development stage. The table below shows the average number of developers over all the projects in each development stage.

It can be seen that the developers go on increasing as the project advances in development from pre-planning to mature stage. There is an initial drop from the planning to pre-planning stage but once the project is started there is a consistent increase in the developers. Thus the community around the project increases with the increase in the development of the project. The lowest number of developers can be seen in the inactive stage. Decreasing number of participants may be one of the reasons for the project to be inactive. Hence, one may conclude that for a successful open source project active participation from the open source community is a must. If there is an active open source community there is open source!!!

Popular languages for Open Source development

One question was always of my interest right since I started working as a Open Source Data Analyst at SAP Labs, Palo Alto: Which is the most popular/used language in the Open Source development? Thus, I decided to do an analysis of number of projects where a particular language is used. The list below shows the top ten entries.



















Visual Basic




Unix Shell








Then I thought that this metric is not a fair metric for evaluation. First reason is that the projects are not of the same size in terms of Lines of Code and secondly there are is large variation among the number of developers for an open source project. Then I rank ordered the languages by the total number of lines of code for a particular language. The results are as follows.





















shell script




Objective C


Emacs Lisp






Here we can see that C/C++ has much more impact than Java. This can be contributed to large projects in C/C++ like Linux where there is a lot of effort involved. On the other hand even though Java has larger number of projects they are smaller in size and effort.