Friday, November 11, 2011

Panel on Software Defined Networks

TiE Silicon Valley organized a panel on the next wave in networking - Software Defined Networks (SDN) on Thursday, November 10th. This was well attended (with an audience of over 150) and was easily one of the best panels that I have been to (TiE or otherwise).

Networking has not evolved much in the last 20+ years. Since the first packet switched network in the late 1960s, companies have basically been improving the same architecture and basically improving line speeds and port densities. All that changed with the PhD dissertation of Martin Casado at Stanford in 2007. His thesis was based on the Ethane project, that allows one to build a secure enterprise network with a powerful, yet simple management model. This led to OpenFlow and SDN. Suddenly, there is innovation in networking and there is a lot of excitement around the plain old network!

The first speaker was Stanford's Guru Parulkar. He defined the problem - how networks are vertically integrated, complex, closed and proprietary. By separating the data plane and control plane and having a protocol between the OS and the forwarding devices, it is possible to build network control management applications. He waxed eloquent about the talk given by Verizon's Stu Elby at the Open Networking Summit on Service Provider Networks.

Dan Wendlandt of Nicira spoke next. Dan provided his perspective on SDN - how it is possible to describe high level policies that the system "compiles" down to individual devices. So, a VM can migrate all through the data center and have the security policies follow it.

The next speaker was Anshul Sadana, VP Customer Engineering at Arista Networks. Anshul spoke about OpenStack. He also talked about how virtualization sets networking back one step and how Arista's VMTracer bridges the gap between physical and virtual networks, thus simplifying network operations.

Stuart Bailey of Infoblox was the next speaker. He likened the value (in networking) moving from custom hardware to software to the end of the mainframe era. We are, indeed, at a huge inflection point in the evolution of networking. Infoblox solves the problem of managing pervasive networks.

The final speaker was the host of the evening - Allwyn Sequeira of VMWare. He talked about the trends driving the evolution of the DataCenter:
  • New Application architectures - stateless and scaling out
  • Lower Hardware costs
  • Virtualization of all Hardware components (by 2014, an average server will run 320 VMs)
There is a need to enable dynamic, workload aware networks that has
  • Forwarding plane
  • Control plane
  • Management plane - which abstracts the network and presents the abstraction to the upper layer for logical networks
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the session. Each speaker on the panel was an expert and has deep knowledge in their subject matter.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

An Auditory Feast

Denizens of the Bay Area were treated to an Auditory Feast last Saturday morning (October 8th) when Ananya Ashok (student of Anuradha Sridhar) gave a Carnatic Vocal concert at Sivamani mama's house in Sunnyvale. Due to a soccer commitment, I was a bit late in getting there. She was singing sarasIruhAsana priyE in nAtAi as I reached. Even as I was settling down, I was very impressed by the ensemble of Lakshmi Balasubramanya on the violin and Vignesh Venkatraman (student of Umayalpuram Sivaraman) on the mridangam. There must have been a varnam before this. Could someone who was at the concert post the details on the varnam as a comment to this blog.

Ananya followed this with a shlOkam in Ananda-bhaIravi and the Dixitar kriti kamalAmbA. She then sang a beautiful alApanA in valaji and the Harikesa Muthiah Bhagavatar kriti jAlandharA supeetha. Valaji is a simple rAgam with Sa Ga Pa Dha Ni swarAs. Ananya chose to perform an exquisite neraval around "bhavarOga nivArinE, bhaktajana paripAlinE".

As this concert was part of the navarAtrI series, Ananya sang a song on dEvi, shrI chakrarAja simhAsanEshwari. This is a raagamalika in shenjuruTTI, punnagavaraLi, naadanaamakriyaa and sindhu bhairavi.

After this short piece, Ananya sang an alApanA in hEmavatI. Being a mElakarthA rAgA, hEmavatI has a lot of scope for being selected as the major item in a concert. Ananya did justice to this and sang Dixitar's srI kAntImatIm. It included a swara kalpanA, which was followed by a thaniAvarthanam.

Ananya concluded by singing three short numbers - Shyama Shastri's kanaka shaila in punnagavaraLi, Dixitar's annapoornE vishAlAskI in sAmA and Lalgudi Jayaraman's Thillana in mAnd.

Short of having a rAgam-thAnam-pallavI, this was a complete concert. Perhaps she did not include an RTP since she was given just two hours.

I would have liked her to sing a magaLam at the end of her concert. Again, it is likely that she did not include it because this was not the final concert of the day.

I certainly look forward to listening to additional concerts by Ananya. She has immense potential to reach the heights of other eminent students of the Lalgudi bAni.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Innovation Summit

I was at the Pan IIT Innovation Summit at Computer History Museum in Mountain View on Saturday, September 24th. The goal of the summit was to create awareness on the emergence of India's innovation capabilities. A video stream of the sessions in this summit is available from Raj Jaswa's Dyyno.

Sam Pitroda, Chairman of the National Innovation Council and Advisor to the Prime Minister of India opened the Summit with a thought provoking keynote address on "The Indian Innovation Environment". He started by focusing on the problems in the environment in India today:
  • 400m live below the poverty line
  • Politics and bureaucracy stifle everything
  • Development is not happening fast enough
  • There is a huge disparity between urban and rural
He urged the innovators in the audience to focus their efforts at the bottom of the pyramid - that is have pro-poor policies. Typically, research in the U.S is geared for the top of the pyramid. The parameters that he provided (to determine where the innovation is targeted) were scalability and affordability. For instance, the U.S model based on consumption is not scalable. "We don't need disposable products, we need durable products," he said.

The Government is fostering a National Innovation Council focusing efforts in Health, eGovernance, Agriculture and Education. The key programs initiated by the Government are:
  • RTI - Right To Information
  • RTE - Right To Education
  • NOREGA - Guaranteed work for 100 days for the rural poor
There is a concerted effort (with a $20b budget) to bring technology to the masses:
  • 250,000 panchayats connected by Optical Fibre ($6b)
  • Information management and GIS, led by Dr. K. Kasturirangan ($500m)
  • Cyber Security
  • Payment Processing
The first panel was an Industry Panel. The panelists (and their corresponding focus areas) were:
Pradeep Sindhu started by defining Cloud Computing to be the delivery of Information Services over the network across any device type. Cloud Computing + Mobile Internet = Massive Opportunity. There is an increased demand for security since the network is a juicy target for bad actors. Metcalfe's Law states that the value of a network is proportional to the square of the number of connected end points. We need a quantum leap in performance to meet the needs of today's Mega Datacenter. He mentioned Junpier's QFabric as the first innovation in network topology in over a decade.

Ajit Gill was the most "controversial" speaker of the day. He took Sam Pitroda head on and challenged the actions of the Government committees that Pitroda talked about. "Don't legislate innovation. Just get out of the way," he said. Currently, research in India is re-engineering, re-tooling in the Indian context. He cited a personal anecdote on a conversation he had with an IIT Director on the subject of research.

IIT Director: "Has this been done before?"
Ajit Gill: "No"
IIT Director: "Must be a stupid idea"

The second panel was a University panel, discussing the collaboration between the Industry and Universities. The panelists were:
  • Curt Carlson, CEO of Stanford Research Institute
  • Mani Chandy, Caltech
  • Pradeep Khosla, CMU
Desh Deshpande moderated the panel and started by mentioning the work done by V. Govindarajan on reverse innovation - that is, developing products in India for the world. There are three stages of innovation happening in India:
  • Stage 1 - "Hand-Me-Down". This the kind that the IIT Director was talking about to Ajit Gill.
  • Stage 2 - "Localization" - for the Indian market
  • Stage 3 - Products get created first in the region of use. Then they become ready for the rest of the world. India is positioned very well to make progress in this Stage 3 of innovation
Curt Carlson spoke about building the innovation infrastructure. "This is the best time for the history of innovation in the world," he said.

Pradeep Khosla spoke about his personal experience in setting up an Institute for Software Engineering in Mumbai - with Raj Reddy. It started with a lot of fanfare, with funding from the Maharashtra Government. They shut it down after two years because they could not attract the right faculty.

The final panel focused on challenges in Cross Border innovation. This was moderated by Raj Mashruwala - known for beng the COO at Tibco and later running the UID project for Nandan Nilekani. Alok Agarwal, who was at IBM Research in Yorktown Heights for 16 years before co-founding eValueServe, a Market Research company, was one panelist and Ashish Gupta, of Helion Venture partners was the other panelist. Alok said, "Innovation comes out of diversity and chaos". Ashish made a truly insightful observation, "Look at the first derivative and the second derivative in addition to the absolute value before you jump in." There is not much by way of VC deal-flow happening in India right now. Two blocks on Sand Hill Road has more money than all of India!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Sad Day ...

A hero, an entertainer, a visionary inventor, an inveterate entrepreneur, a champion, a mahatma of technology breathed his last today. Steve Jobs single handedly defined global digital culture. He had an impact not just how engineers consume technology, but how our grandmothers interact with technology. He achieved the Holy Grail of bridging the gap between entertainers and consumers - just when it seemed that the entertainment industry was preparing for war over Digital Rights Management.

Thank You, Steve Jobs for everything that you have done. I join the billions around the world saluting you.

One more thing .... we will sorely miss you ...

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Solar panels - so far so good

We had Solar panels with the M215 enphase microinverters (total of 8 @ 230 watts each) installed on our roof last week:

Let me examine the behavior over the next month before I provide a reference to the installers. Look for an update to this blog post by the end of September to get that information.

At this point, I wanted to say that it seems to be working well, so far. Here is a chart of our daily kWH usage:

We were away on vacation (to the East Coast) in early August. You can see the dip in our energy usage during the time we were away. The Solar panels were activated on Monday, August 29th. The immediate impact of the panels is apparent on the chart to the right. Next week, the installers have said that they will provide an Enphase Envoy which will give us information on the energy generated on a daily basis. When I update this blog post at the end of September, I will include this information as well.

Please post any questions you may have in the comments section (except for "How much does this cost?" - I will include that information when I provide an update in the end of September)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

HP's TouchPad - a bomb

Business Insider is officially calling HP's TouchPad a bomb. I am surprised that it took them 6+ weeks to call it! The TouchPad opened to weak reviews. HP tried desperately to compete on price. None of it worked. RIP TouchPad.

HP has tried its hand in consumer electronics multiple times and failed. Who remembers HP foray into handhelds with Jornada and iPAQ? HP even tried their hand in HP TV and HP Camera.

Most markets have three dominant players:
  • Hertz, Avis, National
  • American, United, Delta
  • Nike, Adidas, Reebok
  • etc.
There are other players in each market, but usually three of them dominate and control 80-90% of the market.

Only Google seems to have cracked the nut when it comes to competing with Apple. They have taken a different approach - by licensing Android (although, it will be interesting to see how this plays out following Google's acquisition of Motorola). WebOS, RIM and Microsoft attempted to become the third player in the mobile race. With WebOS dying and RIM losing ground, Microsoft (and its Nokia alliance) has a great opportunity to become the third player here.

Winning this is significant because there is a lot at stake. It is expected that the number of connected mobile devices will exceed 15 billion by 2015! Come on, Ballmer, time to break out of your stupor and bring your passion to the mobile market.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Steps to Getting an OCI Card

We recently got our OCI Cards and the whole process was smooth and painless. I sent the application on July 7th. They processed my application and asked me to send original passports on July 28th. I received the stamped passport and OCI card on August 10th. So, the end-to-end processing time was just over one month.

I must say that when I first started looking at the requirements and procedures, it seemed quite daunting. Especially when I saw notes like, "Please note that no person is rejecting the same, it is the machine which is rejecting. Do not argue on this issue ...". After sifting through several links and comments, I arrived at the following steps:
  1. Gather the following documents (as you are preparing this, make two copies of everything - preferably in color):
    • Copy of US Naturalization Certificate
    • Copy of the Indian Citizenship Surrender Certificate (if you don't already have this, Travisa provides a procedure for processing this in parallel)
    • Scanned and printed pages of your US passport
    • Scanned and printed pages of your Indian passport
    • Scanned and printed copy of your Indian birth certificate
    • Scanned and printed copy of your Drivers License
    • Copies of PG&E (Utility) bill
    • "Passport" photo (see #5 below for more on this)
    • Cashier's check payable to "Travisa Outsourcing"
  2. Although this link is titled, "How to Apply for OCI Card", DO NOT start the process here
  3. Start here, instead. Kudos to Travisa Outsourcing for streamlining the process
  4. Only use Internet Explorer when submitting the online forms
  5. The photo you need to send for the OCI card is non-standard. They require that the background should not be white. I used the following procedure:
    • Take a close up picture of your face with a digital camera against a (blue or green) colored wall at home and upload the picture at Note: You can print the photo yourself.
    • The step-by-step instructions are provided here
  6. Note: [Update on March 19, 2012] The photo requirement has changed. Here is a link to the requirements for the photo that you need to send them.
  7. Set up a personal FedEx account here. This is important because that is the only way Travisa will return the passport (you cannot give them a credit card number to be charged)
  8. Submit all your documents by FedEx.
  9. When you submit your forms online, you are given a tracking number by Travisa. Use this number everywhere (even on the FedEx Airbill)
Good luck. If your experience is different or if you can think of any further optimization, please post them as comments.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Harry Potter 7.2 - a fabulous finale

After the first installment of Harry Potter 7, I had blogged that it was long and boring. We went to the second, and final, installment over the weekend. As incipient as 7.1 was, the second was a fitting climax to the series that began over a decade ago.

The intensity of action that swirls around Harry includes a roller-coaster ride down to Gringotts vaults; a dragon-back ride up from the vault; a besieged and aflame Hogwarts; and so much more. At one point, during the intense battle at Hogwarts, Harry asks, "Is it real? Or is it happening inside my head". It was certainly happening inside all our heads. The dazzling spectacle, the fantastic imagery, the superlative computerized animation all combined to deliver a fabulous finale to this series.

When Neville Longbottom slayed Nagini, Voldemorts final Horcrux, the whole theater (Century 20, Great Mall) broke into a spontaneous, thunderous applause. They could well have been applauding J.K. Rowling for creating the magical characters; David Yates for capturing the story so well on film; Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Michael Gambon, Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane and co. for bringing the characters to life.

Friday, July 15, 2011

TieCon 2011. Day 2 - May 14th

Here is the second installment of my blog on TiECon 2011 on Day 2, May 14th.

Drew Houston:

The second day began with a conversation between Jai Rawat, Convener of TiECon 2011, and Drew Houston, CEO of Dropbox - which has grown to over 20 million users saving 1 million files every five minutes! Drew provided some interesting anecdotes and tidbits from his experiences in growing Dropbox:
  • Create a product that everyone loves to use. This will provide you a natural tail wind. "Build the right thing", he said.
  • Have good engineering under the hood to create something really useful for people. "Build things right."
  • He encouraged startups to create a short video to provide a quick elevator pitch - that is address the pain point that is being solved.
  • Don't get bogged down by big players. Every investor will ask the question, "Why can't Google put 10 engineers on the job and get this done in 3 months?" In his case Google already had a similar offering.
  • Is the end point something that really excites you? He cited his own example of creating online SAT prep classes. Even he became the King of Online SAT prep, he did not see himself getting excited about that.
  • Do fewer things really, really well. There is always the temptation to do everything for everybody. You will have customers pulling you in different directions. You should have the ability to say NO.
  • Startups usually die from self inflicted wounds.
Social Panel:

I attended the Social Panel that discussed the intersection of trends in mobile, social and local. Mike Cassidy, Business Editor of San Jose Mercury News moderated the panel. The new, emerging revolution is SoLoMo - where Social Media, Local Search and Mobile Search collide - or, as one of the panelists described, the "whereabouts and the whoabouts". The panelists were Siva Kumar of TheFind and Rob Mishev of Living Social and Vikram Sharma of ShopLocal.

Darwinism is at its peak in the consumer internet space. Since the barrier to entry is quite low, the risk is higher as is the reward. The objective is to make the store experience more engaging and to make offers interesting and exciting. It is certainly becoming more and more challenging for physical retail. Blockbuster, Borders and Circuit City are all casualties of this shifting consumer trend.

Salman Khan:

The "Breakthrough Thinkers" session on the second day was delivered by Salman Khan of the Khan Academy fame. Over 2 million students are using on a regular basis. Sal's motto was to stay focussed on what what got them to this point - the student. At the end of his talk, he was joined on stage by Raj Mathai - NBC Bay Area's News Anchor. This provided some good entertainment value - as Sal and Raj bantered about Sal's various experiences. I liked TiE's format this year of having key note speaker's joined on stage by other "celebrities". This is in contrast to last year's disastrous conversation between Gary Gauba and Reid Hoffman. It does not help the conversation if the interrogator is sycophantic about the speaker.

Marissa Mayer:

The closing keynote of the conference was provided by Google's Marissa Mayer. While what she said in her talk was "common sense", her delivery was impactful and made the audience sit up and pay attention. She spoke about 3 S's: Starting, Scaling and Structuring a business.
Starting: She asked to focus on problems that matter - having a deep, social impact. Hiring the right people is critical too. Hire folks who are smart and can get things done.
Structuring: Focus on being user-centric. User's are every one's job. Google users OKRs - Objectives, Keys, Results to measure milestones and accomplishments. They also maintain dashboards on installs, users and usage. There are two approaches to releasing product: "Castle Building" (as done by Apple) vs "Bird Walking" (Launch and Iterate).
Scaling: Data is both the back bone and the gas pedal. You need to constantly re-invent yourself. Failure is okay as long as you learn from your mistakes. She gave two examples of Madonna - who re-invented herself after a series of disastrous albums and Apple - people had given up on them after the Newton disaster.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

TieCon 2011. Day 1 - May 13th.

It has been over two months since TieCon 2011 and I had been meaning to write this post for a long time. Unfortunately, numerous other activities took priority. I will publish this in two posts, Day 1 and Day 2.

Steve Case:

The Opening Keynote featured Steve Case, Co-founder of AOL and Chair of Startup America Partnership. Rich Karlgaard, Publisher of Forbes magazine hosted this keynote. Rich walked Steve through the initial days of AOL - until they were sold to Time Warner in 2000 when they had 200m users and a market cap of $150b. Big ideas, Steve said, take a decade or more to mature. In the first 25 years of the internet, the idea is to get every one online, mobile and make it ubiquitous. In the next 25 years, the Internet will transform and disrupt every aspect of life.

Rich then moved to what Steve was doing these days - which is lead Here Steve's goal is to celebrate and accelerate entrepreneurship. He said that there are two models that investors adopt. One is the Kleiner Perkins approach of working with an "A" team that can successfully take a "B" product to market. The other is the Sequoia approach of looking for the next explosive new idea. In both cases execution is key - because, after all, as Thomas Edison said, "Vision without execution is Hallucination". When asked about his predictions for the next big hit, Steve stated that we are witnessing the early days of Local, Social Commerce. Healthcare, he said, will be transformed.

Rich asked Steve about the ability of Startups to survive the uncertain economic times that prevail these days. Steve said that similar conditions in the 1970s led to a very healthy entrepreneurial environment. FedEx, SouthWest Airlines, Microsoft, Apple and Oracle are all companies founded in this turbulent decade.

Mobility Panel:

I attended the Enterprise Mobility panel that discussed how Enterprises will adopt Mobility. Matt Marshall, Venture Beat, was the moderator. The panel had two Enterprise folks: a VP from Cisco (Tom Gillis) and a VP from Sybase (Raj Nathan); a VC (Sumant Mandal, Clearstone Ventures) and an Entrepreneur (David Sacks, Yammer CEO). There was general consensus that mobile is a very hard place for investors to make money.

There was fierce debate was on whether to get into the Enterprise at the grass roots vs work your way from the top. The arguments in favor of working from the CIO down is to have a more controlled, predictable, deterministic way of deploying your solution. On the other hand, getting in at the grass roots will result in the pipeline getting filled by people using the free, viral product and cause IT to be "dragged in kicking and screaming". In the end, getting in at the grass root won the debate. It is invaluable to rely on their experience in using the product. It is important to create tools and technologies to put policies in place for these "un-managed" end points.

David Ferruci:

In the "Breakthrough Thinkers" session, David Ferruci, an IBM Fellow, gave one of the best keynotes I have heard in years. Dr. Ferruci is the lead researcher and Principal Investigator for IBM's Watson/Jeopardy! project. The keynote was replete with engineering insights into the Watson's Unstructured Information Management Architecture (UIMA).

Vinod Khosla:

I was disappointed by Vinod Khosla's keynote. Perhaps I went in with very high expectations. He stated some very well known facts (on predictions that experts make) and arrived at some well understood conclusions (that these predictions are made by extrapolating past facts). He then went on to pitch ventures in which he has funded - on why they will succeed. Admittedly, some of them were accomplishing pretty lofty goals:
  • Calera - sequestering Carbon dioxide
  • Soraa - with 800% more efficient, pay for itself lighting
  • Caitin - with new thermodynamic cycles for cooling

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fool's pranks

I remember the days at Sun when employees would go through elaborate procedures to pull off April Fool's pranks on executives. These included:
  • Turning Scott McNealy's office into a putting green
  • Moving Bill Joy's Ferrari to the middle of a pond
  • Moving a VW Beetle into Eric Schmidt's office
These were engineering feats!
Today, companies are continuing the trend of running April Fool's pranks. I have included three such that appeared today:

  • Google, quite elaborately, created a video and collateral around "Gmail motion" - where they show how to use visual cues to interact with gmail. The video will surely draw a smile - even if it seems silly. I must say that the people in the video pulled off maintaining a serious tone.

  • LinkedIn's prank was quite simple - where they suggested Sherlock Holmes and Groucho Marx as possible connections. BTW: You can view an enlarged image by simply clicking on the image on the right.

  • ShopSavvy took a dig at (the photosharing app) Color - who recently announced that they raised a round of $41m! Quite honestly, I sensed a tinge of jealousy in this prank.

I am sure there were other pranks unleashed today. If you know of any, post it as a comment.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sports blog ...

Looking through my previous blog posts, I realized that I have not written a single sports blog in the past. Not sure why. I may not actively watch sports, but I follow them for sure.

Two tournaments that I am following closely now are the NCAA "March Madness" and World Cup Cricket that is being played in the Indian sub-continent.

This year's NCAA tournament has had some Cinderella stories. Kentucky's upset win over Ohio State last night sure threw my bracket for a toss as did Arizona's win over Duke. Just goes to show that nothing can be "predicted" here.

This year's World Cup Cricket has offered its own twists and turns. Unlike the 2007 tournament, at least the top 8 teams moved to the Quarter Finals this year. Yesterday, we had the surprise win for New Zealand over South Africa - setting up a Sri Lanka vs New Zealand semi-final. I predict that Sri Lanka will easily make it to the finals. The other semi-final of India vs Pakistan is an epic one. It is hard not to bring political implications into this game - it is a "game" after all. However, this is the first match between these two countries after the 26/11 terror strikes in Mumbai. With the Indian Prime Minister inviting the Pakistan President to watch the match being played in India, this match will have the following of over 250 million people around the world. There are others who study the game and players a lot more closely to make a more qualified prediction. Mine is based on gut, instinct and patriotism :) I predict India winning all the way ...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

HP's Vision

Leo Apotheker took center stage yesterday for the first time since taking over as CEO of the World's largest technology company (by revenue) last November. Chris O'Brien (the business editor of the Mercury News) was not too impressed.

It seems to me that Leo Apotheker is able to put together a cohesive strategy around HP's vast portfolio. The fact that he dismissed the possible acquisition of SAP saying, "We don't need to own a big transactional application platform," says a lot about his focus.

There is a Software Advice blog post that mentions possible acquisitions by HP - with SAP leading the list. It would be interesting to see the results of their survey on when/who people think will be HP's next acquisition.

HP is poised to lead the technology universe into the world of cloud computing. Sun attempted to do that many years ago and failed. Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and, now, HP are attempting to grab a piece of this pie. Sun's failure was in the execution of its vision. Often times, Sun tended to place the cart before the horse. That is, the execs would go up on stage and articulate a grandiose vision and then attempt to build the technologies towards that vision. HP, on the other hand, has been building up its portfolio of the various pieces in the puzzle. Yesterday, they finally came out and told us how they all fit together.

The next 6-12 months will tell us who comes out ahead in this battle that is being played out in the open. As a follow up to my earlier blog post (on HP vs Oracle), I think we are half time now and HP is leading by a touchdown.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Prayers and Praise for Japan ...

Japan is currently facing its biggest crisis since WW-II per Prime Minister Naoto Kan as it tackles the aftermath of a massive magnitude 9 quake (in Northeast Japan), a ferocious tsunami and the ensuing nuclear crisis at the Fukushima power plant. Adding salt to its wounds, the Shinmoedake volcano has erupted in Southern Japan spewing ash and rock in the region.

With all the technology that is available, the world was literally watching Japan as the horror unfolded. The fury of nature belittled engineering achievements in the region as we watched 13-foot waves sweeping houses, boats and trains. Although the final toll of the quake is unknown, there is no doubt that had a quake of this magnitude hit any other part of the world, the destruction would have been far worse. In the words of a friend (who lives in Japan), "Hats off to Japan. They have shown the world an amazing calmness and positive attitude during hard times.".

We have seen the resiliency of Japan in the past and I am confident that Japan will pull out from this crisis and emerge a stronger nation.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Japan ...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Best practices when you lose your digital device to liquids ...

An article in today's Mercury News by Patrick May prompted me to pen this blog about being deprived of your digital device - cell phone, laptop, camera, etc.

This has happened to most of us - when our phone has fallen into a "bowl" or coffee spilled on our laptop or the camera got drenched in rain.

I wanted to ask people out there what they have done in such situations. There is, of course, the dreaded, "Liquid spills are not covered by the warranty." Is there anything that works? What have people done in the past - post them as comments to this blog and I will collect these and post a follow up blog towards the end of this month.