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Showing posts from October, 2013

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

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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

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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 …