general issues

Government and Technology

June 24, 2011

I sympathize with Jurgen Appelo for his bad experience with US border control. After he told them that he was visiting the United States for delivering courses, he was sent back from the airport itself. Apparently, the rules state that “a self-employed independent trainer is not allowed to work in the USA”. The border officials […]

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Regrets from College Days

May 26, 2011

Catherine Rampell posts the following chart at the New York Times: [Image Credit: “Unfulfilled Expectations: Recent College Graduates Struggle in a Troubled Economy,” Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, Rutgers University.] Like she says, very few people wish they hadn’t gone to college and most regret that they had not done more work in college. I suppose […]

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Not Just Dumb and Greedy

January 22, 2011

Warren Buffet talks about a “natural progression”: First come the innovators, who see opportunities that others don’t and champion new ideas that create genuine value. Then come the imitators, who copy what the innovators have done. Sometimes they improve on the original idea, often they tarnish it. Last come the idiots, whose avarice undermines the […]

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Sorry Journalism

January 19, 2011

It is incredible how a news outfit can report without informing: Lakhani […] started investing for retirement […] putting his contributions mainly in international stocks and growth-oriented mutual funds. But since the crash of 2008, he’s gone mostly to cash, despite yields close to zero. “After seeing how quickly things can change in the market, I’ve learned […]

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The Auto Drivers of Chennai

January 2, 2011

A few months ago, I had a great time on my flight back from India reading the hilarious “2 States” novel by Chetan Bhagat*. I laughed loudly a few times, making some of fellow passengers look strangely at me. The book is about how a boy (from North India) and a girl (from South India) want […]

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One Billion People and One Stereotype

October 19, 2010

There are a few maps like this floating around of how large Africa is when compared to the rest of the world. There is a reason why people underestimate the vastness of Africa — 2D maps distort the real shapes of land masses (globes do it better). See how big Greenland (2 million sq.km.) looks […]

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The Scourge of Silly Software Patents

June 13, 2010

I was about to link to a story about a major software company suing another for software patent violations which included such brilliant ideas as “System and method for providing and displaying a web page having an embedded menu”. Then I realized that this is not news at all. Collecting software patents for simple concepts […]

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Dreams of the Future

June 11, 2010

Robert Fortner reminds us that speech recognition is going nowhere: The accuracy of computer speech recognition flat-lined in 2001, before reaching human levels. The funding plug was pulled, but no funeral, no text-to-speech eulogy followed. Words never meant very much to computers—which made them ten times more error-prone than humans. Humans expected that computer understanding […]

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Thoughts on Randy Pausch

March 12, 2009

I will be posting more on Randy Pausch’s “The Last Lecture” in a different post, but before that, I wanted to talk about the context in which his lecture takes place. Taken by itself, the speech is very inspiring and has many thought-provoking ideas. (You can skip the book which is too much process, too […]

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Are Indian Software Developers “Code Donkeys”?

February 11, 2009

The recent 40th StackOverflow podcast with Michael Lopp had some pretty harsh words for Indian software programmers and the outsourcing industry in general. The transcript is incomplete, so you have to hear the podcast, but what I heard went something along these lines (not exact words) The cost of an Indian developer is one-third the […]

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