Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Book Review : A Twist in the Tale

Book : A Twist In the Tale
Author : Jeffrey Archer

A wonderful books of short stories. I read each of these stories one day at a time. And I just loved each and every story. The very style of Jeffrey Archer, makes it all the more gripping, and as the name of the book suggests, the last few lines, will change the perspective of the story by a whole 180 degrees.

A must read of nice and enjoyful reading.

Whats in a name ?

Hmmm, and that's the reason I have changed the name of my blog today. It was a thought that was lingering in my mind for a few days.. But then the name of the blog had got a brandname per se. But still I knew that it cant be remain the same for long.

Nevertheless, as of now I have changed it to Footprints . But dont think that this name will last for long. Might have a more appropriate name soon.
Request for your comments .

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Book Review: Sand To Silicon

Book : Sand to Silicon
Author : Shivanand Kanavi

A book scripting down the history of the Semiconductors from the inception till date to the Information technology days. What I liked the most is the due credit given to the people in shaping this industry, mainly in India. I had no clue that so many Indians are actually instrumental in whatever technology we are enjoying today.
The sad part is that we Indians don't appreciate their contributions and they are known more by the people abroad, especially US.
Apart from this, this book is quite technical in nature. Since I am having the background in Electronics and Communication, it wasn't a heavy reading for me. But for those not having any technical background, would find it boring and not comprehensible.

Good book to read for those interested in knowing the Indians who have had global contributions. Histories and contributions of the whose who are given in detail. The Initiatives done by Tata's to that of Sam Pitroda are worth a read.

I did have a good refresh of what I had learnt in my 4 years of engineering and then comparing to what how exactly I am not using it.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Movie: Shaurya

Subtle, yet very powerful. That's how I would rate this movie. I don't think that movie is a box office hit, but it was an awesome movie for me.

It did teach me a lot of things.

[1] In life we need to enjoy apart from working

[2] Though we are faced with challenging characters like Brig Pratap, still one should be cool and think out of the box.

[3] Do what your heart says

[4] Even though your best pal is your rival in profession, the two are completely different. Separate Personal and Professional relationships

Apart from learning this stuff, I liked the movie as there weren't really any songs out of place, and those which were there were in the right place.

I must say that it's a great watch

Monday, September 22, 2008

Interesting Day today

Its been a day of mixed reactions for me. But at the end of the day today, I was enlightened in more than one way. Too many news. The TV news told me that Google Phone is going to be launched tomorrow. WOW! Simply pure competition to Iphone. Does that mean that the cost of Iphone is going to come down soon. Definitely !!! What will the people who bought the phone at 30k feel .. Well no words to describe that. But we will feel it for sure.

Still living in the high of watching "Rock on" movie yesterday, suddenly my days in manipal have been refreshed.. I think KD just represents KPK from the college days .. I must say, its a must watch movie. No two ways about it.

The latest version of the India Today magazine which lands in my house every sunday or monday taught me a few new things. Though was aware, made things a bit more clearer. The Real Estate market is in very bad shape. But the builders are still not losing hope. They are waiting for the market to grow again and trying to hold on till then. The small time builders are the ones who will eventually suffer, like most of the cases. So whats the key to buyers like us. I would say dont buy now. No matter what. The Interest rates are bad. The economy is bad. Jobs are in danger. I dont see any thing positive in investing now. Unless your have ready cash and getting a great deal in such markets [ Bargained, thats the word I would like to use ] With time, these builders and also for the Banks will have no option but to reduce the rates. That will be the ideal time, unless you get a raw deal.

The Bihar situation is reall bad. Spare that lavish dinner and donate that 500/- Rs to the Bihar Relief fund. I dont say it will defnitely reach those people. But then we cant just sit and do nothing also. It does hurt your self concious.

The days coming ahead are bad in all respects. Recession, bad economy, rising costs in basic essentials. Mother nature has beared it all, and its time we pay back and this time we have to do it the hard way. All I would say is, be good. Genuinely by heart. Its the need of the hour. Nothing else. And spread postive vibrations.

Google Phone

Now how is this for competition for Iphone
Check this . Google Phone is all set to be launched tomorrow by T Mobile

Two days ago we posted some images of the new Google ‘Dream’ Phone which were recently leaked via a blog on the Internet. Sources claim that tomorrow, September 23rd 2008 marks the day of the official launch of the Google Phone by T-Mobile.

The HTC Dream will be the first ever handset to be powered by Android, Google’s free and open-source mobile operating system.

Android boasts an application marketplace of its own (just like the iPhone) and promises a smooth mobile computing environment. The real question here is: what makes the Google phone truly an iPhone killer?

Though we are going to find that out in a couple of hours once the specifications of the Google Phone go public but of all that we know of the phone so far, it will be not as sleek as the iPhone but will feature everything that the iPhone lacks such as a physical keyboard, free and open-source apps, mutitasking and copy/paste.

If there is one thing in Android thats really going to blow iPhone off the charts, its the addon applications available from the Android Market. Unlike the apps on the iPhone (which cost from $0.99 to as much as $999), the Android apps will be available totally free of cost.

The Dream will be available in the market somewhere in October this year at a price of $200.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Investment Tips

With the market enjoying the free falls and bungee jumping, its not so simple for the an investor to decide what to do and what not to do . But again, discipline always helps no matter what happens to the market.

I take every oppurtunity of a market fall to pick my favourite stocks again. Why ? Because I know the companies that I invest in. I mean financially. But for those who don't have the time for the research, the best thing to do is to invest through Systematic Investment Plans [SIP]. Invest in a chosen mutual funds and in small amounts. Maybe as small as 1000/- per month is good enough per month.

Diversity is good in such times, and probably investing in more than one MF is better than investing all at the same time.

Make sure that some percentage of investment, say 30 percent is in Fixed Deposits or RD. It definitely pays off.

Gold is also a good to buy, but considering the new high that gold has touched, maybe not the right time.

In a general scenario, there are two ways to do investment.
One, go which everyone is doing and second, do the reverse. I do believe in doing more of the reverse. But that ofcourse comes at a risk. But then thats what makes the difference between the good and best.

Invest slowly and regularly
Discipline is what matters in every step of your life.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Lehman Bros Files for Bankruptcy

I simply cant believe this. A huge conglomerate which has tested the times in its 158 year journey, didnt budge even during the Great Depression , is now filing for bankruptcy.

We cant just take the on coming recession with the ease we are taking it right now. Need some time to ponder on the same.

Tips to protect your WiFi from hackers...

It could happen to any one of us. Wake up one morning to discover that the Indian Mujahideen has hacked into our Internet account and sent out a chilling mail claiming responsibility for a terror attack on the nation.

The e-mails sent out in the aftermath of the Delhi and Ahmedabad blasts reveal that the Indian Mujhahideen hacked into unsecure WiFi networks to send out the terror e-mail.
While this trend may continue thanks to the number of IT professionals on the Students Islamic Movement of India/Indian Mujahideen rolls, it is up to us to ensure that we take utmost care while using the Internet.

Sameer Shekle, co-founder and COO, Aujas Networks, a digital security services provider, says Internet users could adopt the following methods to ensure that s/he is safe.
1. Disabling the SSID broadcast. To some extent this makes it difficult for the hacker to detect the presence of a WiFi access point.
2. Enable MAC address filter. Each network interface has a unique MAC address, by filtering it, one can to an extent control which machines can use the access point.
3. Turn on WPA/WEP encryption. This ensures that traffic between a legitimate machine and an access point is not readable.
4. Change default admin passwords for access points.
5. Ensure access points are placed securely. In the centre of a room/office etc to minimise its signal strength outside the office.
Even after following the above precautions, your WiFI account could be compromised and hence, the things to look at are:
• Monitor usage of the access point. Have a clear inventory and knowledge about the position of each access point.
• Monitor the usage of the Internet link, to know what traffic is going out. For example, some corporate block e-mail providers like yahoo or hotmail. Hence, even if the access point is compromised, the hacker may not be able to use public e-mail systems.
• Consider a specific security policy for wireless networks. For example, most companies primarily use wired networks in the office as the primary media. Access points are used in common areas like conferences rooms etc. Hence, strict policies can be deployed on wireless networks as compared to wired networks.
Role of Digital Forensics:
Digital Forensics means the analysis of electronic media to detect forgery or manipulation. It is used to identify possible culprits and also to gather legal evidence to be used for prosecution.

Digital Forensics is a highly-specialised area and if not done using the right skills and tools could lead to evidence being deleted or not usable in the court of law. It is similar to that of criminal forensics and hence needs special skills and tools. Hence, it would be advisable for companies to understand their responsibility and the do's and don'ts during a breach.
Public e-mails systems have limited information about its users and normally provide it to law enforcement agencies on special request. This information is picked up during e-mail ID creation, usage etc.

Most usual information picked up is the source of the Internet Protocol, which can be masked using techniques like using others' WiFi networks. Hence, unless e-mail providers enable higher security mechanisms like special authentication while creating users not much can be done. It is not easy for e-mail providers to do this as, by definition, these e-mail systems are free and open for people to use.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

And Calvin gets surprised...

It was 8th September, and our dearest Calvin decides to give a present to his wife Susie Derkins on her Birthday.

Calvin after a hard days work[remember the childhood days when his wise cracks regarding working hours would get on to his dad] , went to the neighbouring Mall ,Forum, to buy a brand new Silver Ipod from the Apple Store. After shuffling a lot with the IPod Shuffles, he settles down to an IPod. Spaceman spiff [Calvin's other avatar] well aware of the the different tricks that the aliens from the other planet have, due to his number of trips to alien land, is extremely careful during the entire process.

Yes, at times knowing too much can be a pain and you need to spend more time rather than usual. He earlier believed in the philosophy "Ignorance is bliss" until he learnt it the hard way.

After carefully collecting all the deliverables, Spaceman spiff walks out of the prestigious mall, to battle with the inter galactic space ships. Not that it was easy, but the thought of surprising Susie made the distance longer than it is. Spaceman Spiff understands the laws that govern relativity more than other ordinary mortals.

But little did he know that his best friend, Hobbes, [now working at the Apple Store] , who had unwillingly become the part of the G.R.O.S.S club decides that its the time for revenge. Spaceman Spiff , in his conquest to get all the things right , had rightfully put in Susie's phone number , and not his, she being the rightful owner.

Hobbes decides to take the maximum mileage of this oppurtunity. It was revenge time,something which he had learnt from Calvin himself. Hobbes makes a call to Susie and amicably tells her that Calvin has left the receipt of the IPod in the store itself.

"Mission accomplished"

Susie is suddenly delighted on the very thought that Calvin has actually bought a gift for her. Little did she know that the phone call had taken away the element of surprise.

Calvin, lands at his abode, takes off his space suit and gets more surprised than her.Not trusting his memory this time, he checks for the receipt . Its in his pocket !!!

Characters in real life
Vikram DV Calvin/Spaceman Spiff
Shubham[Vikrams Wife ] Susie

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Book Review: Almost Single

Title : almost single
Author : Advaita Kala
Pages : 284

Its a story of a girl, working in the hotel industry about her life and her friends, who are also almost single like her. The beauty of this book is the way its been written. There isnt a great story to boast about. Its the sheer style of writing and the direct dilse talks which are catching. It was never a boring book. I wouldnt say a must read, but definitely a good read for light casual reading.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I liked this thought

Humility helps us maintain good relationships with others.


When involved in something that we are doing, we naturally come
into contact with a lot of people. We sometimes find that we are
not able to get along with certain people. We find it very
difficult to maintain a good relationship with them and finally
avoid dealing with them all together.


The first thing to do is to avoid thinking that we cannot get along
with someone because of their personality. When we remove this
first block in our mind we will be able to see the good in all. We
will no longer think that we are here to teach them but will humbly
learn whatever we can from them.

I guess its worth trying it out

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Investment Tips

Quite often than not, I do get regular inquiries as to where to invest and how to manage/save/grow ones money. Well not to brag about my self, but I have been quite consistent and regular in my savings and investments, all thanks to my roomates in my first PG in Bangalore. Nevertheless, here are a few things you may want to folllow.

[1] Savings and Investments should be regular. ie Either Monthly or Quaterly , depends on the indivual. But dont stretch them more than this.
[2] Keep a fixed amout each month to invest. Start with small amounts however difficult it might be for you. Say 1000/- Rs per month is a good start.
[3] Where to invest ? The options are many, but it all depends on where you are comfortable. Its a good decision to invest partially in debt funds and into equity. Lower your age, the more risk that you can afford to take.
So, if your age is example 25 years[x years], invest 25%[x %] of your investment in Debt ie Fixed Deposits, NSC, Bonds, where the risk is less and fixed returns are assured, but not very high. You wouldnt get more than 10% returns on these investments.

Now the remaining 75% [(100-x) %] should be invested into equity. Again you have different options to invest in equity. It basically boils down to the fact that, how much knowledgeable are you in stocks and how much TIME you can invest.
If you are new to stocks, and also no time, Mutual Funds are a good option. But remember there is not much transparency in MF's. But then its better than investing on your own on stocks.
In MF's too, its better to go for SIP [Systematic Investment Plans] , in which you invest regularly a fixed month in a fund rather than a lumpsum amout. It would reduce your risk a lot.

Another option to invest in MF's in through ULIP Insurance Plans, if your requirement is also to cover yourself against the unforseen events. So in this case a part of your investment would go to your insurance cover and the rest to MF's as per the Fund Manager. This also helps towards your Section 80ccc for tax , permissible to a maximum of 100,000/- per year.
A lockin of 3 years is a common feature among most of the Insurance Policies which have ULIP added to them.
There are some MF's for tax benefits, but remember these have a lock in of 3 years.

You would now ask, where have I invested or what I would have done?
Well my answer is simple. I would go in for a small portion of investment in a Recurring Deposit, which would be as small as 1000/- per month. In the long run it becomes a lot.

If I had to invest in FD's I would take one FD with all my amount in that, rather than having 5 seperate FD's. Why ? Ask me if you need clarifications.

I would also invest a major of my investment in MF's with probably running 5 SIP's a month , a 1000 each in 5 different funds. That helps me diversify my portfolio. Now is Diversifying good. yes and no. Depends upon you as an investor. If you are an expert you wouldnt diversify, if not, you better to average out your odds.

I also would invest in stocks also. For starters invest in some safe companies, with some small amout which you can afford to LOSE. Play with that money and you will earn or lose a bit, but you will have fun and learn a lot. I normally think of long term investment rather than day trading. Simply because of the fact that I dont have time to do day trading, nor do I hve the expertise. All I could probably do is gamble. I would say long term investment in Stocks is safe and good returns also.

I would add more articles on Investment in some time soon. Keep tracking. Have fun investment.

"Make money work for you rather than you working for money"

Comedy Circus Finale

It was the Grand Finale of one my [only] watched programes on TV. Today was the Grand Finale of the same. It was a good masala of all the performers on this show who came together again. But the most awaited thing was that of the final contest between the two finalist pairs, ie Juhi and VIP and Kamya and Rajiv.

As for today performace, it was clear that Juhi and VIP would win. But as mentioned by Kamya, they should have been the winners had they taken into the account every episode

As for me, the Winners actually are Kamya and Rajiv. But no doubts, the finals was one sided and belonged only to Juhi and VIP.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Book Stores

Books have always been my friends. I guess true friends , as they never ditch you and are always there when you need them. Being a book lover, it feels as if its against my religious principles to walkout of a book shop without buying one.

Last week, I was told to pick a book. So I went to Crossword book shop on Residency Road. The parking was bad , and I had to take couple of rounds before I got a place for me. On searching for the book for sometime, I asked the attendor for the book. He has no,clue of it and asked me to give the Author Details. Still they had no clue of the book. On searching in the online category they found that they had two copies of the same, but still they were unable to find it. Can you imagine the lack of organising? One more attendor came to help me out, and on giving the Name of the book and the author, he remarked upon his failure in searching the book " If could give me some details on what is the book about, it will be easy to find". My simple question was, if they cant find using the name and the author, what else will help them ? I finally left from there giving them the details and they promising me that they will call me as soon as they order for the new stock.

Next I landed in Landmark book shop. I somehow like this place. I knew I couldnt find it if I started to search on my own, so I directly went to the counter and asked them the same. They checked on their online database and found they had none. But sure enough they took the details and promised to get back. With three days I did get a call from them saying they have procured the book for me.

As for the crossword, I guess they are still trying to find out, about what is the book. They even ask me everytime to be their member by paying 150/- to that I can get discounts and points. I guess I will have to endup buying atleast 50 books from them to breakeven the cost of 150/- and I am stuck to that place, and inturn lose my freedom from buying at other locations. Nevertheless, I dont think I will go to crossword again to buy books exclusively.

Please share your experiences at the crossword and other book shops in Bangalore.
Looking for your comments.

Google Chrome

I just downloaded and installed the Google Chrome browser. Why is it that almost everything from Google is so good [ Google Desktop is bad as it really slows down your computer ]
The sheer difference from the others makes you stick to it.

Well its not even a day since I have started to use, but I have been liking its features till now. I must say that its worth a try

But I was a little bit surprised to read this article about Google Chrome.
Please read this before you start using Chrome. Frankly speaking I didnt think google will come to these kind of Terms and Conditions.
Features are fantastic, but we need to take it with a pinch of salt.

Tata Nano and the Singur Case

The TATA's has finally made the hard decision to suspend all its work from the Singur Site. Watching all the news and various statements, here are my views on the whole issue.
First of all, its not uncommon that the ordinary people like the farmers being taken to task every now and then. No, I am not saying that TATA's didnt pay the farmers, I dont have those level of details with me. But time and again I have seen that when the Government is on the land acquistion spree its the simple common man who is always at loss. I have had close people in my life paying for these issues especially during the Konkan Railway Project and the Sea Bird Project in Karwar, Karnataka. There are various levels where the money gets filtered and when it finally reaches the owner of the land it is actually peanuts. I am not saying this is exactly what has happened in Singur, but a very likely case as most of them are farmers, and once losing their land for peanuts, only means that they no longer have a source of lively hood.

Assuming this is not the issue, then I am really feeling bad for the people in Bengal. Whether the project continues there or not. No big company will openly come to WB based on goodwill. They will think of all the other options before coming there.

But whose loss is it finally ? The TATA's [ approx 1600 crore], the WB Govt, people of WB or India as a whole.
TATA's , surely a no. Yes, it does setback them with 1600 crore, which people like me who will probably buy the next car , Vista from them , will endup paying :) but TATA's have a strong history of pulling out of projects after reaching a given stage. But thats the cost of being in a business and TATA's know it well.
The WB govt has lost all its credibility, no matter who puts the blame on whom. Finally they are all politicians, and all that matters to them are the votes and they can go to any extent to get the next 5 year slot. Long term vision is surely lacked in them.
India as a whole? Well not really. If one is looking from the foriegn investments, I dont really think so , as one project doesnt decide investment. But investment in WB? Yes , that might be a bit of a convern. Apart from the investment, does India lose its value as not able to produce the cheapest car ever ? Well again I dont think so. Ratan Tata will definitely roll out its first car in October. Thats the power of TATA's they have enough resources to make it possible.

The last but not the least, The people of WB. Yes they would definitely be the big losers. They have lost out on various investments which would have come directly due to the TATA Nano project and the indirect investments. Its definitely a negative point for the people in WB.

Talking about the TATA's , personally thats one conglomerate in India I have the greatest respect for. As they havent only been in earning money. Yes they are business men and its their every right to earn money. But more importantly they have invested in a way to make INDIA PROSPER. Which from my point of view, demands the greatest respect.
Its their sheer vision, that have resulted in institutes like TATA INSTITUTE, Now knows as IISc , Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, and so on. They have invested in education to bring up India. What better way to develop a country. The only other group who falls in this category from my point is the Manipal group[MAHE]. And I am very fortunate to be a part of both these groups. I guess thats the master plan. Having worked for TCS, with all its negatives, I still love the days in TCS, the time spent there and the Education that I received there. Some things cannot be bought , they have to be earned. I guess I was lucky enough to earn that.

As for the Nano, my heart says , the project will continue in Singur, Politicians being politians. I only hope the people of WB dont suffer.