Ahoy there! This is my personal blog which I use as my memory extension and a medium to share stuff that could be useful to others.

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Understanding the Credit Crisis – A visual treat

It’s been a while now since the global economy has been affected by the credit crisis or credit crunch and there have been a myriad of presentations, discussions, etc. in magazines, on TV, at the cafe, etc. explaining why we have this credit crisis. While almost everybody will have some idea of what got us into this mess by now, I just came across this wonderful visual presentation by Jonathan Jarvis, which will enable all the folks who didn’t bother getting to know the credit crisis, obtain a good understanding of the credit crisis quite quickly. Set aside around 12 minutes to watch it and I  hope you enjoy it like I did. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a million!

 

 

NOTE: If the video is not displayed, then you may need to download and install the Adobe flash plugin

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“No No” to the Nano

The Tata Nano was finally commercially launched on 23rd March 2009, much to the joy of many Indians. I appreciate Ratan Tata’s aspirations to improve the standard of living of the average middle-class Indian family, but to me, his launch of the Tata Nano will benefit his business and actually cause a lot of heartache for Indians. Here’s why:

The number of road accidents, people killed in road accidents and people injured in road accidents in India has been steadily increasing over the past decade, due to the prevalence of the following:

(1) Corruption in Road Transport Offices (RTOs) with respect to the the issue of driving licenses, thereby allowing people who do not possess the required skills and road safety awareness, to drive recklessly on Indian roads.
(2) Bad Infrastructure. i.e. narrow roads, poor or no traffic engineering, poorly maintained roads with potholes, unmarked and uncovered pits left behind after roadside work, lack of proper road signs, etc.
(3) Lack of traffic discipline among Indian motorists, the majority of whom think that traffic lights are just festive lights intended to decorate the roads.

The low cost of the Nano would make most two-wheeler owners switch to the four wheels of the Nano and when this happens, given the facts mentioned above, all hell will break loose on Indian roads and probably the average life expectancy at birth, of Indians will dip. How can Ratan Tata not see this coming? Doesn’t he travel on Indian roads? Perhaps, he’s chauffeured around in a tinted glass limousine and too busy to notice.

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So which language do you learn?

With the myriad of scripting and programming languages around, a newbie to software application development could easily get lost. Well earlier, scripting languages were limited in functionality and software programmer wannabes would have easily chosen one of the few popular programming languages around (C/C++/Java) to get started. However, Scripting or dynamic languages have come a long way and can now be used for almost all (if not all) application development that could previously be done by only languages such as C/C++. Also, languages such as Python are used for hardware testing. Perhaps, systems programming will still require the likes of C/assembly until all low-level operations are exposed in scripting languages, but then runtime performance will play a key factor in the language of choice.

In a recent survey on most popular languages conducted by Evans Data, PHP, Ruby and Python took the gold, silver and bronze awards respectively. Visit the article to see how the languages are ranked in various categories (ease of use, exception handling, etc.). My wife referred me to this survey when she knew that I was attempting to learn Python (perhaps to rub it in, that I wasn’t going to learn the best scripting language out there). And actually, after reading that survey, I was wondering whether I should switch to learning PHP (the language used by this blog publishing software and several software products!) .  But hey, irrespective of the language you learn, the bottom line is that you need to use the right tool for the job. So, I’ll stick with trying to get a grasp of the big snake for now while somebody out there is possibly working on other gems and reptiles.

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Next Version of ITIL Incident/Problem Management?

A couple of years ago, I stumbled upon this hilarious flowchart for problem solving. Unfortunately, I do not know who authored this flowchart to give credit where it’s due.

 

problem-solving-flowsheet

Perhaps for all its simplicity, this flowchart may become the next version of ITIL’s Incident/Problem Management. Maybe then more organizations will become ITIL-compliant Wink.

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I purchased the Khan Vs Barrera fight on Sky Box Office and looked forward to a good night’s fight with a glass of Ballantine’s and some fried swordfish.

 

enzo_ola

Among the undercard fights, I quite enjoyed the Enzo Maccarinelli Vs Ola Afolabi (left photo)  for the interim WBO cruiserweight title.

Ola was slithery and dodged most of Enzo’s punches, thereby systematically tiring Enzo. Also, Ola was poking fun at Enzo and keeping the crowd entertained. Finally in the ninth round, he delivered a lethal right-hand to the head of Enzo, knocking him down and winning the match.

 

With both my glass and plate empty, the big moment finally arrived. I decided to hold back on the scotch as I was paying a good amount to see some boxers, rather than myself, getting starry-eyed. I watched Barrera dismantle Naseem Hamed and I’ve been following Amir Khan’s career since he turned professional. The questions which were unanswered for me, before the fight were:

(1) Has Amir improved his defence and technique to protect his chin?

(2) Can Amir knock out a tough Mexican like Marco Antonio Barrera? Does he have the punching power to do so?

(3) Can Barrera, at the age of 35, keep up with the speed of the 22-year old Amir?

(4) Will Amir collapse (like he did against Breidis Prescott) should he get punched on the chin?

 

khan_barrera

Well, after the glitz and glamour of the boxers’ entrances, the match finally got underway. Amir Khan was out of his blocks quickly, moving around with lightning combinations. Unfortunately, in the very first round, there was an accidental clash of heads which caused a deep cut on Barrera’s head with blood literally oozing out. Barrera’s cuts man could not stem the flow of blood from Barrera’s head and he went on to fight almost 5 rounds continually wiping blood off his face. Finally, in the 5th round, after the referee’s second consultation with the ringside doctor, the fight was handed over to Amir Khan via a Technical Decision. For a fight to be ruled a no contest due to a head-butt, the fight must be called off within the first 4 rounds. I do not know if this was the reason the referee waited for the 5th round, but that’s just conjecture.

Trying to answer the questions above after the fight, here’s what I came up with:

(1) Amir has definitely improved his defence and technique after being taken under the wings of Freddie Roach. He had a different approach – hit and move, rather than hit, hit, hit and risk getting the odd punch back.

(2) Still unanswered. Amir could not knock out a wounded Barrera despite working some very good combinations on him for almost 5 rounds. We don’t know if Amir can eventually blow away tough opponents like he did with Michael Gomez and Oisin Fagan,  should the fight go the distance.

(3) No. Amir Khan was simply too fast for Barrera. Well, Barrera is a legend, but he’s well past his prime and would have found Amir’s speed tough to handle. Anyway, I have no idea what pride a young Amir can take by beating an old, pretty washed up Barrera. If Amir has a rematch with Breidis and defeats him, then I will be impressed (and I’m sure that’s what a lot of serious boxing fans will want – for Amir to prove himself against the best).

(4) Still unanswered. Amir’s speed and quick movement around the ring against a wounded Barrera, did not give Barrera a chance to test Amir’s chin. If Amir’s speed can help him protect his chin, then fair enough, but given what happened in his fight with Breidis, we all know that’s his single point of failure, until proven otherwise.

So, despite the improved boxing technique exhibited by Amir and the promise he showed, his win over Barrera was not comprehensive, not a spectacle for the boxing fan and although he said after the fight that he’s answered his critics, I’m afraid that some questions still remain unanswered.

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