Archive for June, 2009

Bandra Worli sea-link is a reality

June 30, 2009

After years the marvelous engineering piece called Bandra Worli sea-link is a  reality in India. It was inaugurated by Mrs Sonia Gandhi on 30th June 2009

We have a curse that all major projects get delayed badly; this project is no exception. But we are equally to blame for NOT celebrating the success though delayed. None of the scientific / engineering community would communicate the excitement of such a project to the people at large.

We had a similar show five years back in Bangalore. The KR Puram bridge is a marvelous piece of engineering; no one ever sang a glory for the project. Today it is not even painted (white washed even) or lit!

I do hope we Indians learn to celebrate (just not movies and cricket) but great pieces of engineering too

Jaguar and Land Rover launched in India

June 29, 2009

For 90% of the population in an economically poor country like India, the high-end brands Jaguar and Land Rover may not mean much; yet, the fact that they are owned by an Indian company, that too a trusted industry house like Tatas is something that makes an average Indian proud.

June 28, 2009 was an important date in Indian economic history when Mr. Ratan Tata formally launched Jaguar and Land Rover (the trusted high-end British brands in the automotive sector) vehicles in India

Such developments are significant milestones in the long march of India towards an economically developed country (one hopes to see that stage becoming a reality in our life time)

KEA sees 60- to 70% of CET students going away from IT

June 28, 2009

KEA (Karnataka Examinations Authority) manages the CET (Common Entrance Test); CET pioneered a more transparent and efficient management of admissions to technical institutions in the country.

It was interesting to note the statement from KEA Chairman last week, where he talked of IT accounting for just 30% of the much-sought-after seats in the CET of the year 2009. For nearly 15 years, the position has been the other way; IT accounting for 70% of the seats that were in high demand.

Interesting times indeed

Michael Jackson is dead; for several hours there is deadly silence in some parts of many web-sites including Twitter and Google sites

June 27, 2009

The king of pop Michael Jackson died on June 26, 2009 at LA.

With 750 million album sales Jackson is a phenomenon unparalleled in history. Many of us are ignorant of this pat of human activity; but what caught my attention was the fact that Jackson’s death could bring down parts of Google and Twitter; people either got an error message or very slow to no response for several hours on these two hugely popular global sites, demonstrating that the online world is susceptible to the problems similar to the physical world (I remembered the chaos on the road when Rajkumar died in Bangalore or MGR died in Madras)

Acer everywhere

June 26, 2009

In an article published in New York Times this week “Acer Everywhere”, the author talks of the quiet transformation of this Taiwanese company that has moved from the No 1 position of “Lap top computer assembly” company for every brand in the world to the formidable position of No 2 branded laptop company in the world! It will soon take the position occupied by Dell (and next only to HP)

Netbooks seem to be one sure success strategy of this turnaround.

Will some Indian software companies too follow the trend? Moving from providing services to most Fortune 500 companies to be one among the Fortune 500 companies? That would make the country proud.

Nandan Nilekani to head UID Authority

June 25, 2009

Nandan Nilekani, co-founder and vice chairman of the iconic $ 4.5 billion Infosys Technologies has resigned from the posts of Vice Chairman and Board member of Infosys to head a unique organization – UID (Unique Identity) Authority of India).

UID Authority of India has the ambition to uniquely identify every Indian; with 1.2 billion population, India’s UID is rather complex.

Countries like USA have their SSN (Social Security Number) that was designed a century back. Many counties (both big and small) have similar schemes. I was in Thailand in late 80’s when Thailand initiated such a project. India started very late. Though the idea has been around for several years, it got bogged down with some States not co-operating; these States relied on illegal immigrants to win election often using the bogey that Muslim women do not want to be photographed); techies got bogged down with the “right” smart card technology; and, Election Commission did a great job with EPIC (Electronic Photo Identity Card), but forgot to addresss the “backend” issues.

Nandan is the right person with technology, business and execution skills to execute this mammoth project. Once executed, it can make a huge difference to the country; it could be a technology to break the disease of corruption – the way Railway Reservation project removed bribery to TTE (Traveling Ticket Examiners). UID can also help in targeting subsidies direct to the beneficiery.

Nandan is a tall business leader. Within hours Forbes, New York Times and Reuters carried the news item.

Infosys and Nandan must be complimented for their corporate governance; within hours Nandan resigned from Board Membership and Vice Chairman post of Infosys.

Nandan is

  • an outstanding programmer, systems analyst, project manager, CEO and vice chairman of Infosys for the past 27 years,
  • a celebrity author who wrote the best selling “Imagining India”, and,
  • head of an Authority of the Government with the rank of a Cabinet Minister,

Nandan would be donning every role!

Palm Pre apps download crosses the million mark

June 24, 2009

Though Palm Pre mobile handset sales of 150,000 in 3 weeks is nothing compared to 2 million Apple iPhone 3GS sales over 3 days, one must take into account that Palm Pre is brand new while iPhone is 2 year old!

By sheer number Palm Pre sales in the first 3 weeks is not all that small.

Similarly, while iPhone apps download has crossed a billion, the first million apps download took much longer. It is creditable that Palm Pre apps download of one million happened in just 3 weeks. With webOS using simple, yet powerful standards and web services, the apps store is likely to increase much faster if Palm executes its strategy correctly

Mahindra Satyam is born

June 23, 2009

After acquiring majority stakes in Satyam Computer Services, Mahindras announced the formal change of name of “Satyam Computers” to “Mahindra Satyam” and launched the new logo on June 21, 2009

It is nice to see Satyam surviving the disaster of January 7, 2009 (when the Founder & CEO formally announced the fraudulent practices that he had followed)

Satyam Eva Jayate

Apple iPhone 3GS sales cross a million in the weekend

June 23, 2009

Apple launches all its products on a Friday. Apple 3GS started selling on June 19, 2009. Within 3 days of the weekend Apple clocked sales of over one million handsets, remarkable by any standard!

Palm Pre has done well with about 700,000 so far (over three weeks) but comes nowhere near Apple iPhone!

President Obama on consumer protection

June 20, 2009

In his weekly address to the Nation on June 19, 2009 President Obama talks of the need to create a fair and competitive market system that protects the interest of the common man. What is particularly striking are the following

“An epidemic of irresponsibility took hold from Wall Street to Washington to Main Street.  And the consequences have been disastrous”

“We are going to promote markets that work for those who play by the rules. We’re going to stand up for a system in which fair dealing and honest competition are the only way to win———but not those that allow insiders to exploit its weaknesses for their own gain”

“And one of the most important proposals is a new oversight agency called the Consumer Financial Protection Agency. It’s charged with just one job: looking out for the interests of ordinary Americans in the financial system” 

” Today, folks signing up for a mortgage, student loan, or credit card face a bewildering array of incomprehensible options. Companies compete not by offering better products, but more complicated ones – with more fine print and hidden terms”

“This new agency —–will have the power to set tough new rules so that companies compete by offering innovative products that consumers actually want – and actually understand. Those ridiculous contracts – pages of fine print that no one can figure out – will be a thing of the past. You’ll be able to compare products – with descriptions in plain language – to see what is best for you”

“Some argue that these changes – and the many others we’ve called for – go too far———That’s not surprising. That’s Washington”

“Well, the American people did not send me to Washington to give in to the special interests; the American people sent me to Washington to stand up for their interests.  And while I’m not spoiling for a fight, I’m ready for one.”