Open Mind Open Source

On 12th April I attended the seminar ‘Is Open Source Ready for the Mainstream?’ arranged by the SDForum ( It gave me a good exposure about the current state and development of Open Source technology in financial organizations, various license issues, Open Source Analytics and integration and management of open source solutions. Here are some interesting points noted by Scott Collison (Founder & CEO Ohloh Corporation) and my comments:

* Open source development is a global with Europe being the largest contributor

This is a bit surprising as North America is not the leading center for Open Source. Even with the presence of the Silicon Valley and all the big IT giants what makes Europe be the largest contributor for open software? (Please let me know if anyone has any explanation or answer to this question)

* Organizations type using OSS
1. Medium & Large : 41%
2. Government and Education : 6%
3. Small : 53%

It’s interesting to see that the small firms have the maximum use of open source software. This is natural as a start-up or small firm will like to minimize the total cost bypassing the software licensing cost. It’s very sad see that the education and government sector accounts for only 6% usage. Especially the education field where there is a scarcity of funds the usage of open software’s should be high. Also the education field which is not concerned with a high amount of security and commercial usage must use the open source to the fullest extend. The academia in the developing countries like India where the software licensing cost can go very high should be highly benefited. The simplest example is of the statistical software ‘R’ which may be used instead of SAS and SPSS, MySQL, PostGreSql instead of Oracle etc… I guess Open source software has a tremendous potential in the government and academic field.

Tokyo never sleeps

On 11 April, I attended the presentation by Dr. Mehram Sahami, a senior research scientist at Google “Using Data Mining to Measure Similarity between Words and Objects”. The presentation was about the general working of a search engine, techniques used and also touched upon the working principle of recommendation system for Orkut communities. The most interesting part came towards the end of the presentation when he showed a clip/video showing the usage of Google search engine across the world with respect to time. The points on the map went bright when there was a Google search activity at that place on the map. One can see the points on the map getting bright and dark as the day and night occurred at that place in the world (point on the map). However, there was a point on the map that never went dark and was “very” bright irrespective it was day or night at that place. The point on the map was the Tokyo city in Japan …. Tokyo just never goes to sleep. Did you get the message?

Marketing at its best

Any company’s success always depends upon how well it markets its products or services. Marketing department success often distinguishes the top company from the others. Even finding jobs depends upon how well you market yourself and prove your worth to the company’s success and future. However, the article I read yesterday really opened a new dimensional thinking in the field of marketing. Believe it or not but the Army is now sponsoring online games website and services. They have their advertisements listed on the top online games website. Playing online games has become a culture for the youth today. The Internet revolution has changed every facet of life of these digital youths who played with DVD’s, cell phone, video games etc... since their childhood. Internet has become their world book and Google the index of these books. I guess the defense department has taken a correct decision to attract the best youth minds by having their advertisements on video games website. This is marketing of the twenty first century.

What is a News“paper” ?

Did you read your newspaper today? If you are a techno-savvy person, I bet reading the old style hard copy newspaper is a historic activity for you. In the days of internet boom reading a newspaper is becoming a less popular and an archival activity. Newspaper was mainly read for so-called “current” news, sports, weather, advertisements, politics, stocks, TV schedules, film reviews, horoscope etc… Today one can get all this stuff plus “live” weather and traffic updates not only on a computer but also on a PDA or a cell phone connected to the “easily available/enabled” internet. The transition should not be of a great surprise. The services like telegraph, telex, personal letters, video cassette recorder (VCR), conventional film camera, radio which were used very often in past (when I was a school going kid) are almost obsolete. Thus if you see a newspaper museum having an exhibitions of famous newspapers in the world in the near futures should not be of a great surprise. This is also an environmental friendly policy saving a lot of paper and thus the green trees. In addition, the information you get is real-time and has many other custom settings to suite your requirements. My speculation is that by 2012 there will be no daily newspapers circulated in your household.

Offended by friendliness

I was in Los Angeles this winter for a vacation at my sister-in-law's place. It was a wonderful warm place especially coming from freezing temperatures of Cincinnati. One fine morning we (with my wife) decided to go to Universal Studios using the public transportation. We took a bus from Ocean Ave at Santa Monica station for LA Union Station. As there was no single bus or train, which took us from Santa Monica to Universal Studios we decided to take the railway from Union Station to Universal Studios. After an hour of slow drive finally we reached the LA Union Station. We got off the bus and started looking for Union Station, just then, I saw a person passing by. The person was formally dresses, medium height and may be in his early fifties. I asked him for help to provide us some information about the railway system at LA. The man replied in extremely friendly way and enthusiastically asked us to follow him. He then started to talk about his migration from Taiwan to United States twenty years ago and stories about the Indian doctor he visits. It seemed that the man was quite knowledgeable about India and had a good perception about Indians (which obviously made me happy). After a while, I started getting suspicious about the person’s friendliness. Various negative questions started to boggle my mind, which was natural being a foreigner in the country. I had heard stories about some swindles and similar incidents near LA downtown. The man was coming with us till the station even though it was not his way. The station was completely lonely with not even a single person in sight. At this time, I started becoming very nervous and a bit frightened especially the way the man was trying to be over friendly. He kept on talking and we kept following him until we reached the actual boarding point on the station platform. Now I thought that the man might ask some money or something similar. However, every thought, which went through my mind for the last ten minutes, was false. The man greeted us, gave us return journey instructions and went off. I kept at looking the diminishing trail of my new stranger friend and started feeling a bit ashamed of myself for thinking in such a negative way. Nevertheless, I learnt a lesson, which will make me more helpful and supportive person in the society.

Obese Technology

Before I start the blog, I will like to make clear that I am a techno-savvy person and use the innovative technology available. However, considering the parallel growth of technology I feel that the use of technology is becoming more of an overhead and not used in an optimum manner.
By saying this, I mean everyday we spent hours checking emails of which most are irrelevant and forward mails. Mails sent on the some groups, listservs and mailing list constitute the major emails of the day. Then with so much free email providers, we normally tend to have more than one email account that multiplies the time spent.
Nowadays there is a buzz around the social networking services like face book, orkut, gazzag mingle minds etc… If you are a recent college graduate, there is a high probability that you may be an active member of one of such communities. This again is an overhead which can be anywhere from five minutes to hours of web surfing. If you add the online photos, and videos the situation is worsen.
And after all these activities if you sign-in any instant messenger service then be rest assured that its lunch time before you start the day’s work. The instant messenger service is a great service where one can talk with his/her friends or relatives any where in the world. However, to use the technology to discuss about weekend plans or cooking recipes is where the problem starts.
One more thing I notice is the use of search engines like Yahoo, Google, MSN etc... The search results are so overwhelming that even though you get the information required; time is spent surfing for some other search results that seem “interesting”.
To add to this is the issue of excessive and redundant cell phone usage. Especially with national and international calls getting cheaper day-by-day the average call time is increasing proportionally.
The average number of television channels in 1985 was 18.8, 1990: 33.2, 1995: 41.1, 2000: 61.4 and 2005: 96.4.In 2006 it went up to 104.2. Just surfing through these 104.2 channels is a time consuming activity. At the end of it, we are confused and overwhelmed with choices that we may again start the surfing cycle.
We invented the technology to make things better, save time, automate tasks and in general increase our productivity. Nevertheless, with the obese use of technology we are not serving the purpose it is meant for. My point here is that we need a vertical growth and usage of technology and not horizontal which is making it obese. I hope my point is clear.

Perception of Beauty

This is an excellent video showing our distorted perception of beauty. If we meet the person whose photo is on the billboard somewhere on the street without all the make-up and modifications made, I bet we will not even recognize the person. Unfortunately, people are lured by such advertisements and think that the products will really make a difference in their beauty. I do not know how; but such marketing strategies have certainly worked in past and will continue to flourish. For me it is just difficult to understand the psychology of an educated person behind such virtual and false assurances.
Anyway, enjoy the video and experience our “distorted” perception of beauty. The attraction should for the beautiful personality of a person and not for the person whose photo is on a billboard or a magazine’s first page.

Google Trends: Mere perception not reality

Yesterday I came across and used the Google trends software for the first time. The software calculates trends and compares between two key word searches provided by the user. The “so-called” popularity is calculated based on the searches for the word on the Google search engines over time specific time. Some of the pitfalls of the applications include:
1. I think (correct me if I am wrong) that the Google trend software does not consider the connotation and semantics of the word/phrase searches. For example, I searched “Marathi’ and ‘Hindi’ (languages In India) and got spikes in the news record at some points. When I saw the news at the spikes they were as:
“President gives away 'Hindi Sevi Samman Awards 2002'”
“Chinese Premier revives Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai”
“Prasar Bharati invites Hindi film right holders for telecast on DD”
“Assamese help Hindi-speaking people in distress”
Now I was interested in comparing the popularity of Hindi versus the Marathi language but the results I obtained were completely misleading.

2.. Then I am not sure how Google trends is handling searches for words like VIP. Is it a user interested in the bags company VIP, abbreviation VIP (Very Important Person) or Visual Information Processing. Another example will be of Apple (fruit or company) or windows (software or house window). One can come up with numerous such examples. However, I guess I am clear on the point I am stressing.

3. The application considers only English news. With more than a billion people each in China and India, having their mother tongue anything other than English the punch line “See what the “world” is searching for” is certainly misleading.

4. One more thing to keep in mind is that the search results are just a part of Google only and does not consider other engines like Yahoo, MSN or AltaVista (I agree that Google is the most used search engine worldwide. Personally, I use it for every search).

5. The next thing, which bugged me, is the searches for phrases and concatenated words. Consider a search like “Life Insurance” here the importance for the word "life" is very less. The user is interested in insurance policies for life. I am again not sure how is the Google trends software handling such searches.

6. Google declares that “The results are based upon just a portion of our searches, and several approximations are used when computing your results”. The degree of approximations remains a point of discussion and validity of the results.

7. Searching a word on the search engine should be differentiated from actually clicking and browsing on the search results. The information of how many searches lead to actual browsing of the search details is not furnished or available.

8. Finally, I am also not sure whether the data is collected only on “” or it also contains “Google scholar”, “Google image” and other such specific search mechanisms.

To know each other

I just started working at SAP labs Palo Alto CA. While going through the email list I noticed that there were more than 17 Deshpande’s working here. I was so amazed to find so many Deshpande’s working in a German company in United States. It was especially astonishing considering that SAP does not have any presence in Maharashtra where mainly the Deshpande’s come from. But then one thought struck me … how many those do I know about? May be somebody of them just lives near my place at Pune. How should I find it out? Yes the straightforward way was to email them and ask them about their details. But this is bit weird and also has some privacy implications. Finally I came up with an open idea of open source. I created a wiki called “Deshpande community” ( where all the Deshpande’s can post their information.
It is similar to wikipedia (which uses wiki media engine) where you can add, view and also edit information in a collaborative way. One may add his/her personal information like name, family, education, hobbies, interests, contact information etc…
This will serve as a common platform/database for the Despande's around the world to communicate with each other and know each other better. Please add your personal page with the title starting with your first name and then the last name (which is of course 'Deshpande').
I will like to encourage all the Deshpande’s to join the wiki

Googlism for Google

While surfing through the internet cosmos I came across Googlism. It is a cool website ( where you can search about a specific thing and get “what Google thinks about it”. The site returns some exciting and humorous results. The website gets the Google results from Google servers and displays views and opinions about places, things, names, things etc... Unfortunately, Google revoked the access to its server from 2004 thus; the googlism results may be somewhat old. The “googlism for Google”, which is perception (not reality) of Google about itself, can be found at
Some of the interesting results are as follows:

google is the world's favorite search engine
google is your friend
google is faasst
google is featuring the google
google is dancing
google is watching you
google is thinking
google is anti
google is 'feeling lucky'google is your family
google is my other memory
google is still spidering and caching my old server 35 dayes and still counting
google is goood positive things about google
google is a harsh mistress
google is replacing bookmarks
google is still choosing to take advantage of the safe harbor provision of the digital
google is just the juice
google is a part of my brain
google is evil
google is penalizing for linking to bad neighboursgoogle is scary
google is happinessgoogle is god
google is saving the webgoogle is my other memory
google is bigger than alltheweb