Monday, July 25, 2005

next week this time ...

I'll be officially unemployed ! - My last day at work is thursday ! It's just starting to sink in, barely so actually, since I'm still pretty busy at work, my office is as cluttered as ever, the daily flow of emails hasn't abated; but i've been scheduled for an exit interview, have had to call all sorts of departments to take care of 401(k), stock purchase plans, laptop return, group insurance etcetera. And the farewells. Had a going-away lunch with colleagues on friday who are on vacation this week, going-away drinks with a few others later that evening, a dinner with a good friend from work today, a dinner scheduled for tomorrow with some guys I used to work with, and the 'official' good-bye lunch thursday.

I'll be in India ! - I leave for India this sunday, if I make the flight on time, that is. This still hasn't sunk in, have been too busy dealing with all the crap with the move. The busy-ness at work means that my apartment is still untouched. yeah. Plan is to throw out a bunch of crap and donate stuff to goodwill this friday, pack up things I'll need and drop 'em off at my brother's this saturday. I got a good break with moving the big stuff 'coz I'm just going to leave most of them in place for my friend who's moving into my room. It would be hell to try to move the couches and dismantle shelves etc.

I'll be missing my friends - Boston's kinda the closest I can really call home now, I guess. I've lived here for almost 5 years now and have a bunch of people I'm close to, and many more I'm friends with. I'm sure I'll miss all of them a ton. I had a kinda birthday/going-away/thingy last weekend and had almost 50 people show up and it was a blast. Was out with another bunch on saturday and a few more of us did a bbq thing last night. thursday night my ex-roomie is throwing another going-away party at Sonsie, and i'm going to hang out at a apartment-crawl-party (yeah, we have those here :) for a bit saturday to say my good-byes to my sometimes-squash-partner and alltime-good-friend. good memories. I'm sure to be flying back to Boston ever so often the next two years, though.

I'll be missing Trivia - Wednesday nights have been Trivia nights at a local pub for a while now, work permitting. I go with my roommate and have made a really great set of friends there. In fact, I'm going to Argentina over winter break for one of my trivia buddies' wedding. This past week was my last, and was it a fittingly-cool ending. So, we're tied for first place at 96 points with another team and a few other teams not too far behind, with the last question to go. At this place, the last question is kinda all that matters. You can bid anywhere from 2 to 20 points, with half the points deducted if you get it wrong. The question - in which state is the geographical center of north america? i knew i had to know the answer - i had googled for it when I was trying to center the bloggers google map a few weeks ago :-) but all i could remember was that it was in one of the dakotas(the geographical center of the lower 48 is in kansas). one of our teammates was from South Dakota and didn't remember having heard about it ever. so, we decide to go with the north and bid 20 points. turns out it was the right answer !! but the other team got it right too - except they only bid 2 points. 50 bucks for free beer - nice way to end my Trivia days :-)

I'll be playing with my friend's son - My best friend, if one is still allowed to have them at 29, had a baby boy last year and I'm stopping in Mumbai for half-a-day to see them en route to Bangalore. I met this guy my first week as a freshman in college. That's going back 12 years. wow. I've probably seen him and his lovely wife once every two years for a couple of days since we left college, and we don't really do emails, but everytime we meet up it's just like the good old days. There was this one time when we were in our hostel on a sunday evening. We were hungry and we were totally broke. There was this unbelievably dirty restaurant in a seedy part of our small town which sold a 'delicacy' called Chicken 65 - a piece of chicken deep fried in what had to be straight-up crude oil. It was 15 rupees a piece - 35 cents - and we had maybe 3 or 4 rupees between us. That's when we decided to do some breaking-and-entering :-) Literally kicked the door to another friend's room open, ransacked it, overturned the mattress and everything but only found a few more rupees in coins. We were almost done when this guy walked in - and we unleashed a barrage of choicest curses upon him for not having any money in his room :-) I can't wait to see how much of a brat Junior is.

I'll be thinking Startup - So, I've been talking (not as much as I'd like to) with a Freaky-Friend-Faraway (as Tom Peters puts it) about a venture idea to explore once I get to b-school. Once the madness of quitting my job and moving abates, I'm definitely going to start putting more thought and effort into it. I find airplanes to be pretty therapeutic when it comes to organizing my thoughts, and the flight over should be a good start. Grand Plan is to have a Grand Plan before the start of school. I'm pretty excited by the simplicity of what we want to do, and I think regardless of where it goes, doing it would be definitely a great addition to the entire b-school experience. Definitely kicked about this.

I'll be meeting old friends - I think ! Most of my friends have left Bangalore, and those who are still there are busy with their wives and kids. It kinda makes me feel old sometimes that the guys I grew up with are fathers ! The last three times I visited there was a friend's wedding and it was an occasion for a reunion and I got to meet everyone too. Alas, my last bachelor friend decided to leave the brotherhood and get married a few months ago. So, no more weddings = no more reunions. Maybe I should throw a party or something.

I'll be trying not to be married off - Just kidding! Got to say though, b-school's a blessing in disguise. I've used the 'i can't feed myself for 2 years, how ll'i feed a wife' line to its fullest in keeping those who cast the evil eye at bay :-)

Mom - It's been a really long time since I've had any mom-made-food. I've got a month of make-up time.

Dad - This guy is amazing. I'm going to tap into his reservoir of wisdom about work, life, struggles and successes before I start the next phase of my in-comparison-ordinary life. And, I get to do the 'hey dad, can i have some pocket money' routine all over again :-)

Mom - OK, it's not just the food.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Ladies, Gentlemen & Andy: mba podcasts have arrived !

So, I come home after a really long day to this post by Andy where he makes an excellent observation about the usefulness, and lack, of mba-application related podcasts. Hmm. That got me thinking.

And very restless.

See, I've been playing around with a few cool apps this past week and I thought maybe I could put them all together. The idea was to create a podcast channel dedicated to mba-related information that anyone can subscribe to. And, that bloggers(or anyone for that matter) can easily post podcasts to. After spending just under two hours, and mixing really cool stuff from odeo, talkr,, blogger and feedburner, we're ready to rock and roll !

The coolest thing about this - you can automatically turn any blog post into a podcast that is automatically downloaded to a subscriber's mp3 player ! no need for recording anything.
The even more coolest thing - when i say 'you' i mean anyone with a blog.
The coolest coolest thing - ALL of these different podcasts can be part of a SINGLE mba-related channel that can be subscribed to.

Here is the channel, published on ODEO:

To subscribe, create an account which is a snap. They're still in beta but just went from invite-only to everyone-else-is-people-too last week. And, it's really something. Currently, there is one test post of a recent entry from my blog.

I'm going to post instructions for getting it setup so that everyone can start to podcast their blogs, but they are a bit detailed/technical and it's really late, so will do it tomorrow. But, before I go to bed, a couple of acknowledgements are in order.

If you ain't reading Richard MacManus, you ain't reading nothin' :-) I think I'm overloading this blog of late with Web 2.0 stuff but i believe it's here to stay and make a difference(not unlike podcasting mba application related stuff straight from blogs!), and Richard covers it like no one else I read. That's where I found out about the 'talking blog'.

Joshua at for coming up with the system:media:audio autotag, which i'm coming to realize is bloody brilliant.

Anabasis for his deceptively simple method of automatically creating an odeo channel from a rss feed.

And, while I am still in my geek-suit, i've got to say that i was kicked to receive an email from Evan Williams this week. Evan who? Evan as in the guy who's started Odeo. And his gig before that - he was the guy who created Blogger ! Of course the 'email' in question was really a 'thank you' reply to a suggestion I had made for adding a feature to Odeo. But, whatever.

OK, i really need to get some sleep.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

a birthday gift to myself

i'm a year older today, and hopefully a year wiser. and it's KV's birthday too! Cumpleaños Feliz, Amigo.

so, i went to the Apple store yesterday to get meself a birthday gift of a laptop for school. after looking at the models, checking out tiger, holding them up for weight, playing around with the applications ... decided on a 12" PowerBook. it is a great combo of price/perf/weight/style, except that the screen is a tad small. that's where the genius of steve jobs comes in. whoever said jobs was crazy to open stores backwhen was the crazy one. the guy at the store helping me goes: oh i use a 12" all the time but the screen can be a drag if this is going to be your only computer so why not get a monitor for your home?

he then proceeded to show me the site for where you can get nice monitors for decent prices. they actually looked pretty good. except, the monitor we were checking out this website on rocked :-) it was a super sweet 20" Apple Cinema Display. to really complicate matters, the one next to it was connected to (drumroll) a 12" PowerBook. oh jesus. have you checked out that setup. drag windows from one screen to the next. bluetooth keyboards and mice. just when i thought this couldn't get any better, the dude jumps up and down. no, he literally did. and goes: you've GOT to get this. and we head over to see a TV tuner with DVR that does HDTV.

of course, i've also GOT to get office:mac, applecare, a printer/scanner/copier, virtualPC. all, of course, with discounts. not to mention the free iPod. before i got totally hopeless sucked in, i asked for the damage this would cause my wallet. upwards of 2700. plus tax. ok, so i had the good sense to walk out. all that'll have to wait another day.

so, I wake up this AM and decide to give myself the next-best gift.

I quit my job.

well, gave notice is more like it. but i thought it's pretty apt. a new beginning to a new year of my life. i have been thinking about this for a week or so, and did it today. i still have to talk to the big Man and 'officially' give notice tomorrow morning.

people at work kinda know now and a couple have told me that quitting this way was the stupidest thing to do. basically because of the visa issue. see, i'm on an H1B visa and as i see it have maybe 3 options to change my visa:
1. apply for a change of visa from the US, which is probably the simplest way to go.
2. take a vacation or go work from our India offices, and appear for a visa interview there. quit, if i get it, else still have a job and come back.
3. quit, off to India, and appear in person for a visa.

i chose to go with (3) which now has the case that IF i don't get a visa for whatever reason, i'm going to be back in India without a job. risky, but i had to really ask myself the question: would i want to continue doing what i do if for some reason i can't attend b-school. answer is a big resounding NO. that's a good enough reason for me. and i wanted to hang out with my parents too, has been a while since i've seen them and dunno how much time i'll having during school. if things turn out bad - heck, tough luck.

so, that's my birthday. a year older - definitely. a year wiser? maybe not, methinks :-)

Friday, July 08, 2005 blocks "for:bschoolapps"-type tag sharing ???


this blows.

i have been playing around with the for:bschoolapps tag that I had created a few days - also noticed that Andy and ClearAdmit had tagged links with it. Subscribed to the RSS feed and things seemed to be pretty cool. I was going to post on BW and s2s, as suggested by Andy, to spread the word for those interested. And, now, all of a sudden I can't access the page for the tag ! it's the same with any tags, like 'for:joshua'.

the cool (not so much anymore, i guess) thing about is that tags have their own pages. which means that you can go see every site that's been tagged with that word, in addition to your own. Take, for instance, the tag 'podcasting'.

My main page is here:
My page for all my links tagged as podcasting is:
Now you can go and check out 'all' links tagged as podcasting here:

Ingeniously simple way of finding things. The new tag that I created had, obviously, the page:
It was working fine, I had an RSS feed, the entire 4thofjuly fireworks.
If you click on the page for the tag now, it redirects to: with the message:
You have to be logged in as bschoolapps to view this page.

i 'think' I know what's going on here. in his latest post on their blog, joshua talked about how is now automatically starting to assign system tags to certain filetypes. The interesting thing is what the tags look like. For eg, an mp3 file is going to be tagged system:filetype:mp3.

this suggests to me that the colon(:) is starting to assume some special meaning in' tag nomenclature. the error warning also suggests that 'for:bschoolapps' can no longer be considered a tag per se. the 'for:' is more likely a redirector to a page for the user 'bschoolapps'. pretty big change, and one that isn't really documented anywhere.

now, i understand i wasn't trying to do anything that a simple tag called 'for_bschoolapps' wouldn't do. and i do understand it's a pre-alpha-alpha version subject to continuous change. and i also read their note that they can expel anyone who misbehaves. even at that risk, i must complain that what seems like a new model of tagging shouldn't be implemented without some kind of warning/info for those already using the tags in a particular way - there's the about page, and a blog to talk about impending changes. I mean, we're pre-alpha-alpha users too and could use a little heads-up.

of course, you'll have to pardon me if this was just a bug. i am not very generous with my bug reports :-)


EDIT: just got an email from joshua that they are actually rolling out the support for the enhanced for: tag TODAY and that he didn't have the time to formulate the blog post yet. I guess I caught it just at the wrong time. The blog post is here. Sorry if I jumped the gun. Got to love that they are so responsive and listening to customers. Pretty awesome.

Click for Small Change™ supports the London Bombings Relief Fund

[file under: Sensible Adsense]

Eariler today, Mayor Ken Livingstone announced the London Bombings Relief Fund, a joint initiative with the Red Cross. The Adsense revenues on this blog currently stand at $25.08. The last contribution, to, was made at $4.72. I have just made an online donation in the amount of the $20-and-change that we've accrued since to the LBRF.

I know this is really small change for expensive London, but it could mean some more bandages to treat the wounded, or a few flowers to a grieving relative.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

"awful what they did to my city"

that was the email i received from my good friend in london who i managed to finally get in touch with. it was almost deja vu when i woke up this morning and checked the news. once-before-experienced feelings of outrage and sadness. the economist has what i thought was a pretty powerful cover today:

i hope Londoners bounce back from this tragedy stronger. i'm not the praying type, but this tragedy has been in my thoughts all day.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Bloggers get on the Map !

Do you like Google Maps ? They released their API's towards the end of last week, and I decided to take it for a spin over the weekend. Here is the result. May interest some of you.

I basically took a partial list of Bloggers from the MBA league website and plotted them onto the US map. If you want to zoom in, i would recommend you click on the icon and leave the box that pops up in place. That way it always remains in the frame - doesn't auto center as yet.

You might also notice certain schools with active bloggers missing. It's quite funny actually - they are not there because I can't find a map-able address for them ! Here are the contact pages for the missing schools:

All of them have a mailing address with PO Boxes, or building names. I realized as I was trying to find their latitude/longitude co-ordinates that the geocoding website I was using can only map US street addresses !

I find it quite instructive actually. It is, albeit on an insignificant scale, a demonstration of why new/disruptive technologies can be so disconcerting. They force you to think different. Who, at one of these schools, would have thunk of providing a street address so that one could map it on an online map? How long before websites start publishing the lat/lng co-ords of, say, their physical presence so that hackers everywhere can easily integrate these into their google maps projects?

PS: Of special interest to Chicago bloggers - our beloved Hyde Park Center is missing ! Looks like the picture Google's using is from sometime between demolition of the older building and construction of the new one. Unless they know something we don't :-)

some add-ons, and a request.

This past weekend, Improbulus updated an earlier post with instructions on how to allow readers of your blog to bookmark the entire blog or an individual post to either or Furl. I have added the feature to my template both for individual posts and the entire blog(in the sidebar). This post on Improbulus' blog has the instructions for blogger and movable type if you'd like to give it a spin.

Found a very cool tagapp over at Feld's. It's being called the 'for:' tag. I think we can put it to an interesting use. The really really really slick thing about is that ANYONE can subscribe to ANY tag with RSS. And you get updated whenever ANY page is tagged thus by ANYONE else.


Well, I just created a tag called 'for:bschoolapps'. If you are an mba applicant, and use an RSS reader, you can go here to subscribe. The next time you, or I, come across what we think might be an interesting read for MBA applicants (and you have a account - c'mon who doesn't right :), just save it as a bookmark with the above tag. And voila, everyone who has subscribed to the feed for the tag gets it ! Another addition to the increasing number of ways in which any-to-any information dissemination is being enabled. The first page to be tagged with this - Dave's blog. I think it's appropriate.

This also brought up an interesting thought for the folks over at (of course, they may already have it and I've been too lazy to check, in which case I would be grateful if someone could provide me some links to it). I would really like for a directory-style-structure for tags. I'm finding that I need some tools to manage my growing number of tags. It would also be very cool if these directories can be subscribed. There are 'bundles' available, but they are messy to use, and I couldn't find a way to subsribe to an entire bundle. Again, I may not be looking in the right places.

What I'm thinking of is, let's say a bunch of people subscribe to the above tag, and start tagging information. There can be overload pretty soon - not necessarily because of the content itself, but the context. Say, A is a subscriber and has already taken the GMAT. She may not be interested in checking out the n links a weeks that refer the GMAT. On the other hand, B may only be interested in this information because she's preparing for the test. A structure like:
would mean that a single subscription to the tag 'for:bschoolapps' gets you all the links that are tagged under it. Would be nice, methinks.

I do suspect a lot of thought is going into creating better tag management systems. This might prove to be a substantial differentiator among the various Web 2.0 ventures that are operating in this space. After all, in this era of exploding access to quality content, Context is King.