Showing posts from 2013

Google India Ad That Made Me Cry!

Ads are expected to but rarely capture human emotions. But when they do, they make a real impact. Google India has more than demonstrated the impact of their services on Indians (and Pakistanis) through this ad.  It is certainly worthy of a view for anyone interested in ad business or in Google's services.  I'm not ashamed to admit that I cried.  I cried for the emotion expressed in the ad are so tender - long lost friends coming together.  But I also cried because the ad expresses hope of the two nations that are being kept apart by crazies on both sides, can come together.

When an ad supporting a product does all that, in my book it has achieved it's goal.

The Minotaur Slays Yet Another Warrior

According to Ariad's company website..."The name ARIAD originates from the Greek myth of Ariadne, a daughter of Minos II, king of Crete"... who gave Theseus, a spool of thread that would enable him to slay Minotaur and return back safely.  Unfortunately, in this case, the "Minotaur" of drug development - the adverse events - ended up devouring Ariad's latest drug Iclusig (ponatinib)

According to NY Times, FDA today announced that they are halting the sales of Iclusig in the US. The serious danger of blood clots had lead to, amputations in some cases, and death in other cases, of individuals taking the drug.  These adverse events were serious enough that the FDA decided it could not allow continued marketing of the drug.

This is yet another example of just how challenging and risky drug development remains. Iclusig's approval was heralded as a triumph of the vision of Ariad's founder Harvey Burger, who toiled away for years and persisted in the face of…

FDA Finds Spices From India Contaminated With Rodent and Insect Filth

New York Times reports that a study by the FDA found that more than 12% of US spice imports are contaminated with insect and rodent parts/filth.  This news should be shocking to any foodie, but as a vegetarian I find this exceedingly repulsive.  The FDA must exercise the strength of its powers to ensure that food safety is practiced by the growers and importers.

The unfortunate situation of having to consume contaminated spices stems from the common practice of purchasing ground up spices rather than buying whole spices.  In the old days, must of the spice trade used to occur in whole spices.  Families would by whole "dhaniya" (cilantro seeds) or whole "mirchi" (pepper) etc and take them home where the spices would be closely examined and cleaned before being ground up.  This practice extended to other edible grains like "gehun" (wheat for flour "ata") and pulses like "dal" (lentils), "chana" (grams) etc.  Today, despite the…

First Compatibility Issue in Mac OSX Maverick

Downloaded OSX Maverick and so far it has been fine for the programs I use regularly; only a few programs have had issues.
>  Open Office seems to work fine.
>  Freemind - Program automatically triggered a Java installation.  Took about two minutes after which program worked fine
>  GIMP 2.8:  Seemed to work just fine
>  Handbrake:  Seems to open fine but haven't ripped any new DVDs yet.
>  Inkscape:  Required me to install XQuartz.  Took about 5 minutes to install.
>  Lync 2011 - Had to update to 14.0.6.  Not sure its related to Maverick.  I haven't used Lync in a while
>  Scribus:  No issues
>  Pencil Project:  Keeps crashing at start.  Haven't yet figured out the issue yet.

The crazy rules requiring turning the electronic equipment off during take off and landings come to an end

FAA, at long last, has decided to change the ridiculous rules that require one to switch off their personal electronic devices for take off and landing.  It is a mind boggling mystery to me as to why the FAA put this rule in the first place.  Clearly, the rule has been difficult to enforce short of going down the aisle and checking each and every iphone, kindle or computer to make sure that it is in fact off.  I know many a fellow travellers simply turn their devices off or cover them up rather than follow the rule and turn them "off".

Interestingly, one still cannot use the cell phone on the plane.  The article suggests that it is the FCC not FAA that governs the rules on use of cell phones and FCC has not yet rendered verdict on whether it is safe to be talking on the cell phone or not during takeoffs and landings.  This is just another example of how the regulatory bodies failure to act together or coordinate their effort and come up with a ruling once and for all,

I a…

From tomorrow, I start taking one of the EdX Courses

EdX founder Anant Agarwal. Photo: Jonathan Haeber of Degree of Freedom weblog

Ok, I will be the first one to admit that I am a late comer to the MOOC party.  But if you are newer still, MOOC stands for "Massive Open Online Course", and is a new movement wherein Institutions of higher learning like Harvard, UC Berkley, etc have begun to offer their course work online for any one to take, without charging any thing for it.

Majority of human suffering has one origin - ignorance, ignorance stemming out of inability to access good quality education due to economic circumstances.  So, you can imagine the promise of such a proposition where any one around the world can access education for the cost of internet access!  And when the education comes from top tier professors from top tier Universities, it makes the proposition even sweeter.

No more does an aspiring student in India or Ivory Coast or Burundi or Guatemala have to wonder if they will get a grant or scholarship to atten…

Yet another example of how India is a tough market for Western companies

Walmart decides to buy out Indian partner

Entering a foreign market is challenging for the best of companies.  But when a company like Walmart fails, it is time to sit up and take a look.  There will be detailed analyses of what went wrong, but I can speculate on one reason - cultural difference.  It is quite likely that the Indian partners were not a good cultural fit for Walmart.  In a 50/50 relationship (which is what is mandated by the Indian retail laws for entering the Indian market), it is often difficult to tell who is the decision maker.  Either the Indian partner was not aligned with Walmart decision making process, or Walmart was perhaps seen to want to control the key decisions in the partnership.

When Walmart has done well, as it does in many countries including Mexico, it has full control of the operations.  Walmart was forced into a 50/50 business ownership model created by Indian government at the behest of local businesses and given Walmart's penchant for strict …

iCloud scrolling issue and Zoom in Chrome

I use iCloud for some of my work, and being on Windows machine, I tend to use Chrome for my work.  All of a sudden yesterday I had a strange situation happen.  When in iCloud, the page would scroll down automagically.  Some how I managed for a few hours, but then it became quite frustrating, but what to do?  I kept on plodding.  

At one point, I was squinting at the screen to read something small when I decided to Zoom-in and lo and behold, the scrolling stopped!

Turns out, if you zoom out in Chrome, iCloud will display this page scrolling issue. It doesn't happen at 100% zoom, or if you Zoom-in at a higher than 100% level.

So, if you are facing a scrolling issue in Chrome and iCloud, simply set your zoom level back to 100% and get on with your work!

First 60mins of a presentation

Bruce Kasanoff has an interesting take on how to handle the first 60 minutes of a presentation.

Nail the First 60 Seconds of Your Presentation from Bruce Kasanoff

 Leave a comment!

Installing OpenOffice 4.0 without admin privileges

Have you tried to install programs on your external drive and encountered an error saying that " are logged in as a user without sufficient administrator rights for this system"? I was using Windows 7 enterprise edition, and I recently encountered this error when trying to install OpenOffice 4.0 on my external drive.

A little search on the net I found that it is easy to overcome this issue by simply creating a batch file that directs the program to install without admin privileges. After trying it, I realized that it wasn't as simple as suggested, so here is my attempt to simplify it for you. So, if you are interested in installing OpenOffice 4.0 without admin privileges, here are the steps:

Download Openoffice 4.0 installer from here. Once you have downloaded the installer, run the installer as usual. It will ask you where you want to install the files, and decompress them in the folder of your choice. However, instead of going ahead and installing the files, …

Fighting Words From Gabby Giffords

Gabby Giffords forwarded a New York Times Op Ed piece which I want to share with you.  As a person affected by the Gun violence, I think Gabby has earned a right to speak on this issue.  I agree 100% with her that this is a time to express the outrage we feel against this Senate and this Congress.  If the Congress won't listen, let's throw the bums out!


A Senate in the Gun Lobby's Grip 
By Gabrielle Giffords 

SENATORS say they fear the N.R.A. and the gun lobby. But I think that fear must be nothing compared to the fear the first graders in Sandy Hook Elementary School felt as their lives ended in a hail of bullets. The fear that those children who survived the massacre must feel every time they remember their teachers stacking them into closets and bathrooms, whispering that they loved them, so that love would be the last thing the students heard if the gunman found them. 

On Wednesday, a minority of senators gave into fear and…

The Great Cop-out On Gun Control Legislation

Yesterday Senate rejected the bipartisan gun control legislation proposed by Joe Manchin and Patrick Toomey, when they failed to muster the required 60 votes. According to press, 90% of democrats voted for the legislation that required background checks for those buying guns and limiting number of rounds in the magazines, while 90% of the Republicans voted against it.

This legislation, which came about after the massacre of little children in New Town, Connecticut by a deranged young man, is a real blow to the efforts to curb gun violence in the US. The conservative second amendment advocates have become as irrational as the conservative religious zealots that deem abortion as an unholy act fit to be banned even if the life of the mother is in danger. The hypocrisy of these conservatives is unbelievable - it is not ok to abort a fetus to save a woman's life, but it is ok to kill little babies to protect the second amendment right to bear arms!

If the death of five and six y…