Sunday, November 30, 2008

The US Financial Meltdown.

In his op-ed column titled All Fall Down, Thomas Friedman provides a rather succinct account of the chain of financial missteps that the US financial environment was able to permit in recent years. This is a good reminder, and an analysis, that some form of regulatory oversight is required to prevent such meltdowns from occurring. Thus, the ideological "hands-off" approach of some politicians regarding the economy is very flawed. 
What is always required is some sort of oversight to ensure that the resources in a system are deployed properly. Why else do we have operating systems overseeing resources in a computer system?

Saturday, November 08, 2008

College Education in a Barack Obama Administration

In an increasingly competitive global and knowledge-intensive world, it is extremely important for a government to provide mechanisms to ease the burden of college education among today's college-bound students. While Barack Obama's proposed campaign promise is 100 hours of community service in exchange for a $4,000 tuition credit, it is the approach that is to be commended. 
100 hours translates to about 12 days (of 8 hours each), or about 3 months of elapsed time if a student uses only weekends to perform the community service.
Let us hope some effective educational program on these lines will indeed be implemented by the Barack Obama administration.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Is your civic responsibility done?

Dear Fellow Americans:
Have you voted yet? It is important you do because America is at a significant point in its history. Credit-based excesses at every level have brought the country to a strange condition, not fit for a nation that, until very recently, was the very epitomy of strength in the world. (If you understand Kannada, you can read my blog post in Kannada on America's credit excesses; as I wrote that post, I also added the America's national debt counter on this blog's sidebar). As a matter of fact, a large part of the immigration into this country in the past several decades is attributable to such strength.

Recent events have brought out all kinds of sentiments, including some humorous ones such as this one titled Britain is repossessing the U.S.A. And, on a more serious note, an article by Fareed Zakaria makes The Case for Barack Obama. I also found a book that compares the voting records of Obama and McCain, shown at left. I suspect it is interesting, but I have not read it.

Anyhow, I have already decided on how I would vote. Have you?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

TiEcon 2008, Day 2, Saturday, May 17, 2008

This blog post is about some of my thoughts on the 2nd day of TiEcon 2008. This is not intended to be complete by any means: there are other blog sites that may provide a complete version.
Mike Malone, who handled a fire side chat with Elon Musk today, characterized him as really Entrepreneur Extraordinaire. The discussion on Wikipedia itself is an ample illustration of that. Elon's versatility is quite self-evident. An individual who built several successful information technology companies has now gone on to build several more in other fields: SpaceX, Tesla Motors and SolarCity.

The presentation by Chamath of Facebook was another excellent one. The slides were not at all busy, but still made the points very eloquently. For networking professionals focused on actual plumbing, it is very thought-provoking because he introduced a "social stack", after discussing the OSI stack and the LAMP stack. It looks like Facebook is really a good platform for consumer-oriented social networking applications. Its applicability in the business world, however, is not all that obvious [to me].

Probably the most moving of all presentations was one by John Wood. After leaving Microsoft, he founded Room to Read, a non-profit organization focused on promoting education of under-privileged children in the world. To date, it has produced awesome quantitative results. With a few more John Woods, the world will be a much better place to live. The presentation brought tears to my eyes.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

ಕನ್ನಡದಲ್ಲಿ ಬ್ಲಾಗು (blog).

Folks not familiar with Kannada will wonder what this blog post is about. This is about an excellent new feature in Google's Blogger: the recent addition of support for Indic languages. The man-machine interface is so good that you can create real Kannada characters just through a browser, as you can see below. However, the software is still evolving and not all input avenues produce the same result always. (This is very reminiscent of lack of object-oriented behavior that early Microsoft products used to have).

[Warning: Kannada characters show properly only in Internet Explorer and Safari; I don't quite know what is not right with the Mozilla Firefox].

You can use any natural phonetic transliteration that you can think of, and you are prompted for possibilities. In other words, all the procedures you had to go through using Baraha seems unnecessary. If you didn't get it right, no sweat. You will get a popup Kannada keyboard mini-window from which to select the right Kannada representations. (In Internet Explorer 7.0, the popup mini-window sometimes shows up almost outside of your view area).

ಈ ಪುಟದಲ್ಲಿ ಕನ್ನಡದ ಕೆಲವು ವಾಕ್ಯಗಳನ್ನು, ಮತ್ತು ವಾಕ್ಯಾಂಗ ಭಾಗಗಳನ್ನು, ನೀವು ನೋಡಬಹುದು.

  1. ೧. ಸಿರಿಗನ್ನಡಂಗೆಲ್ಗೆ.

  2. ೨. ಅ ಆ ಇ ಈ ಉ ಊ ಋ ೠ ಎ ಏ ಐ ಒ ಓ ಔ ಅಂ ಅಃ

  3. ೩. ಇಳಿದು ಬಾ ತಾಯಿ ಇಳಿದು ಬಾ.

  4. ೪. ಸರ್ ಮೋಕ್ಷಗುಂಡಂ ವಿಶ್ವೇಶ್ವರಯ್ಯ.

  5. ೫. ಮೈಸೂರು ವಾಸುದೇವಾಚಾರ್ಯರ ಯಾವ ಕೃತಿ ನಿಮಗೆ ಗೊತ್ತು?

  6. ೬. ಶ್ರೀಮತಿ ಗಾಯತ್ರಿ ಅವರೇ, ನಿಮ್ಮ ಮನೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಈವತ್ತು ಏನು ಅಡಿಗೆ?

  7. ೭. ನಿರ್ದೇಶಕ ಮಾಸ್ಟರ್‌ ಕಿಶನ್‌ ಸಂದರ್ಶನ

  8. ೮. ಮೈಸೂರಿನ ಬೆಣ್ಣೆ ಮಸಾಲೆ ದೋಸೆ.

  9. ೯. ಕನ್ನಡ ಕಸ್ತೂರಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ನೀವು ಕನ್ನಡ ಶಬ್ದಕೋಶವನ್ನು ನೋಡಬಹುದು.

  10. ೧೦. ತಾಯಂದಿರ ದಿನ, ೨೦೦೮, ಅಂದರೆ ಮೇ ೧೧ ಅಥವಾ ಮೇ ತಿಂಗಳ ಎರಡನೇ ಭಾನುವಾರ.

As you can tell, I have not yet figured out how to produce Kannada numerals automatically within the ordered list. The other annoying thing is that, if you want to mix English and Kannada in the same blog post, you have to keep tweaking your Blogger.Settings.Basic. I have no doubt that will get fixed in the not too distant future: Google engineers can be relied upon to produce that.

Finally, Kannada publishing seems to be so enjoyable that I have started a new blog site exclusively devoted to blogging in Kannada.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Internet and Vedanta?

Yesterday, I caught the last few minutes of a chat session broadcast on one of the public television stations in the Silicon Valley (I don't remember the name of the station), about Deepak Chopra's book Life and Death.

During the Q & A session, Deepak Chopra discussed the impact of technology on promoting the idea of universal consciousness. As posted at the hyperlink of this post's title, "... the Internet is cloning our soul."

I couldn't help reflecting that Facebook, "Internet as a platform", Semantic Web, Web 2.0, etc., are foundational concepts for a richer society.