Saturday, July 3, 2010

One of the Most promising works of Rudyard Kipling

All the 'Telugu' Junta who have watched 'Happy Days' would knew this short verse.

Please give a leisure read friends....

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream–and not make dreams your master,
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
 If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings–nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!

–Rudyard Kipling

More verses to be followed... any suggestions @

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A True Inspirational Woman and Loyal Friend - Aradhana Prakash Gupta

A glimpse of Rathore-Ruchika episode in own words and my take on it.

A Dutch courage is not needed for undeterred people in reaching their target. When life traverses through a bumpy path, we need to get enough nerve up for accomplishing the task. Here is one such women who had silently made her mark in the cacophonic world. The parallel to Ruchika Girothra case, The friend indeed, who stood through 19 years, 40 adjournments and more than 400 hearings against the vicious circle of system, The sole witness in the Molestation tragedy –Aradhana Prakash Gupta. The woman with nerves of steel, who stood, survived and struggled through the tragedy of her 14 year old friend being molested, tortured, who put with the politicians and its associated nexus.

Though India celebrates the past history with Triumph and pours accolades for current path breaking accomplishments, it does have incidents which smashed the ideas and aspirations of command man and left culprits unpunished due to lack of sections in the judicial system and making a foul play of the system itself.

Aradhana was a best friend of Ruchika, a promising Tennis player from Haryana. Both of them were classmates and found a nice time sharing their ideas, watching movies and lawn tennis matches. The nightmare began in 1990, when Rathore, then Inspector General of Police had molested the 13 year old Ruchika in his office. Aradhana was the sole witness of this incident, played a major role in filing the complaint against the shameless cop. And with it began the machinations of a government that strived to protect its own. Goons followed their families, intimidating them with threatening calls. Ruchika was expelled from school, her father S.C. Girothra, a bank manager, was forced to resign and her younger brother Ashu was arrested and illegally detained on false charges. He was later tortured and paraded semi-naked in front of Ruchika. Though brave enough to take on anything, but couldn’t see him like that and a few days later she committed Suicide. Things weren’t easy for Aradhana and her family. Her father was demoted and threats increased, cases were filed against Aradhana at the age of 13. The same incident has changed her lifestyle either. A promising tennis player almost led a reclusive life, hardly socializing with people and making friends. Always wept for what has happened to her best friend, tirelessly attending all the hearings in the court, fought for justice knowing her safety is in stake.

As life passed on, Aradhana got married to an understanding husband and now a mother of two daughters had recently flew from Australia to attend the final hearing of Ruchika’s case which continued for 19 years, where the convicted SPS Rathore was sentenced for 6 months of Jail with Rs.1000 fine for finding himself guilty to the probe ordered. Stating this was not commensurate for the cost of Ruchika’s life, Aradhana started raging the hue and cry against the verdict. Along with Public support and untainted family support she made all the cases re-visited and filed new FIR’s against the deadly cop.

A strong civil society – ever vigilant mass media, NGOs, pressure groups, professional organizations and public spirited individuals etc. joined Aradhana lending their voice against system and trying to provide new, firm and sustained initiatives. But unfortunately, politicization, criminalization and inefficiency of the police are overshadowing the efforts made by some voluntary organizations and well-meaning officers to introduce reforms in the system and, the law and order machinery.

Aradhana brings our her heart burn citing though she cant get her friend Ruchika back, the justice to her reaches out to common woman who is also victim of the system, frustrated at the state of affairs while not knowing how to Change the system. There was a huge ruckus in our Parliament against punishment to Rathore, stating this law offender should be hanged till death and cite this as an example for any such official who misuses his power . Though we see women reaching to stars, there are still tribal illiterate woman existing in our country, who are victims of such malicious men in every walk of life. But surely it seems that the people have to be in the forefront of the fight against corruption, communalism, illiteracy and criminalization of politics and life in the country.

With the resolve that in order to have a great nation that we can be proud of, we all need to get involved in the nation building process. So, let’s roll up our sleeves to fix the system we do not like. I salute Aradhana for her unwearying determination for the justice to her friend, above all for being a true inspiration for all the citizens to fight against the guilty.


When order breeds monotony, chaos breeds life !!!

Processes: The same old word which has created the most efficient corporations of this world. Organizations which are believed to be lean, agile and dynamic to respond to any change in the business environment. And they seem to have built this through a strong focus on standardization, one that has created a huge network of replicable (or replaceable) products, systems, technology and even people…!!!

Though we all recognize the fundamental strengths that order of any form can bring to life, what we will try to explore here is exactly the opposite: What lack of order can create for us. We have all heard stories of the greatest pieces of art (poems, painting, novels etc.) being created at airports (when flights are delayed), in war zones (where people are fighting to survive), in famines / earthquakes etc. Take the example of Vincent van Gogh…the genius (but completely unorganized and eccentric) Dutch painter…a person who defied all order, exhibited little monotony and created masterpieces in complete chaos.

Chaos fosters new learning…opens avenues to dimensions usually neglected under the assumption that the best solution always rests in an orderly display, a structured approach and (apparently) logical thinking. Innovation is so often linked with burning the bridges (in an attempt to force people to think differently), but the next step would be to create chaos. And controlled chaos would be the best stimulant for generating a non-linear approach to viewing, understanding, analyzing and implementing solutions…

With this as the base on chaos, lets try to understand what this chaos can do for the industry that we operate in, i.e. IT or more accurately IT services. We all believe that innovation is a key enabler to success in this industry. Our processes have delivered the order and certainty our customer desire. The key here is to strike the balance between the two. Now think of all the chaos creating elements in IT…can be everything which can, potentially, in our opinion make systems fails. List down all such enablers (yes, I call them enablers here because it is this fundamental chaos that will be used), their attributes and impact areas. For example, a bug in the code has an impact on the failure of the program / procedure. Create a detailed list of such chaos elements at different levels…at technology level, architecture level, methodology level, approach level etc. Now categorize these chaos elements into different categories in which they can create problems. The next step is very crucial. Try to check if a chaos element is introduced in one layer / category, can we come up with another chaos element in another layer to counter this chaos element (this is like two negatives lead to a positive)…and bingo, you have another way to get the same thing done, by creating chaos in a well defined process (oh, are we back to our good old processes!!!)…are we onto some innovation now??? Let’s call this form a inter chaos counter approach.

Another way to look at chaos elements is even simpler. Try to introduce a chaos element, and try to find out a way to counter the chaos element without using any other chaos element or an existing process to counter such elements. For example, try to introduce a bug in the system, and debug it without using a debugger, which is a standard processes when such tools are available. Using a tool is nothing but following a well set process for solving a problem, usually associated with a chaos element. This approach will lead us to the second form of innovation which I would call constrained chaos counter approach.

This post may seem chaotic, confusing and unorganized…but it is intended to be that way… :-)…new insights usually emerge from the least sought after sources, and typically when they are least expected…the idea is to create such conditions…!!!

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You can run, you can hide, but you can’t escape it!

We have been celebrating “Innovation” the world over, and speaking volumes on the possible benefits, dangers of ignorance, and more. Businesses, nations, thinkers have been writing and speaking meaningful words of wisdom on the “why” and the “wherefore” of it.

While all of us have been ‘immersed’ in this, we have also tried to align, everything we do to this ‘way of thinking’!

Innovation is ubiquitous- be it introducing new ways to serve our customers (some prefer to call it ‘butlering’), finding novel nuances to ‘engage’ them, or spawning an entirely never-seen-or-heard-before service. Each time we serendipitously bump into something this world has not known before, or purposefully build upon an ingenuous idea, we innovate.

As I welcome any such insightful ideas, sources, stories from all of you, I pick a topic that not many are comfortable discussing. Death, it is.

I remember working on an assignment on ‘funeral services’ as a student- defining the elements of the ‘service’ involved. The idea of ‘repeat customers’ for such services was quite out-of-the-box I thought at that time, only to read in the papers an article titled “Different Jobs”, that there are positions/roles of a ‘funeral director’ who manages such services. While this was an augmentation to what I had learnt during that assignment, what I learnt a few days back was quite a different mix altogether.

Services that let one ‘insure’ her information send ‘last words’ and ‘unspeakable secrets’ to her close friends and family, and more. They come with by-lines that coax you to do what you usually don’t.

Pause, and take a look.

Bridging Mortality and Who would know if something happened to you? are some such sample taglines. Make you ‘think’, even if for just a minute.

They have quite rational services on offer:

- Information insurance
- Last words and secrets
- Passwords: accounts, email, web accounts, and more
- Directions, advice and more
- Send messages to your friends, online acquaintances/friends (much sought after owing to increasing interest levels in FB and the likes! Friends we have not even me.
- Intimation at the time of crisis, eventuality or death

These are “not” legal death notification or will services, mind you. What is interesting about them is that they tap you at the right places. They tap the very ‘need’ of people like us who have found themselves in the midst of an information revolution, only to be boggled by more of technology and evolutionary communication possibilities that hit us at lightning speed. Like traditional insurance sellers they educate us about the ‘need’ and then suggest ways to pre-empt the unforeseen, in what little ways we can.

This to me is intelligent marketing and an innovative way of not only basic information security, but is also an offshoot of the Internet/Information/ICT revolution.

You can run, you can hide, but you can’t escape it!


Eavesdroppers!.. Some Management Fundas !!

We’re hearing Voices.

And no, we haven’t gone crazy.

We’re just listening.

Over recent months, we’ve been listening people talking to each other. We (the Listening team) come to office and eavesdrop on conversations about airlines, cars, cosmetics, drugs, green tea, hotels, and insurance, the IPL, pharmaceuticals, soap operas and water filters.

Oh, and Shilpa Shetty.

Nice job? You bet. And why are clients paying us to do it? Why are businesses across the world increasingly keen to know what people are saying about them, and to understand why they’re saying it?

Because Voices are driving the market.

Word-of-mouth has always been the most powerful influencer - the first-hand experiences of a fellow consumer have a credibility that advertising finds hard to match.

And now that social media has taken over the world, a person doesn’t even need to ask for opinions – chances are that other people have already have posted all the answers he’s looking for. At any time, in any place, he has access to a myriad first-hand experiences and opinions. And these peer opinions shape his decisions…decisions on which phone/car/laptop to buy, which company to join, where to holiday, which hotel to stay at, which movie to watch…

So, by analysing conversations on social media, companies can get amazing insights into The Mind of the Market.

And that’s what IT Companies brand new Listening Solution does. It scans conversations across millions of posts, picks out the relevant comments, makes sense of them using sophisticated Natural Language Processing, sorts the data, extracts sentiment, analyses it, and represents it graphically, so that it’s easy to understand.

And all that is only what the basic automation does. After that, there’s in-depth analysis to get actionable insights. But that’s another story…

Some other time, maybe.

Meanwhile, what do you think - what kind of brands or businesses most need to Listen? Any examples that come to mind? Who could benefit most from understanding what people are saying about their offerings, their advertising, their reputation, and their competition? Do comment

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Inviting business ideas to save our planet

This piece is inclined towards culture, society, science, mathematics and social cause.

Day in and day out we often think about iPhone, Ferrari, Google and so on as the biggest inventions/engineering man has ever made. We consider these as ‘Rocket Sciences’. Of course these are some which disrupted the industry, created new business models. But more often we forget about the problems our society/community faces (or) problems which needs to be solved that could make the world a measurable more livable place for everyone.

Harvard Law school and Duke University professor Vivek Wadhwa who writes in Techcrunch as ‘Guest Author’ and former Intel chairman/CEO Craig Barrett recently debated about tech education on Techcrunch. It’s an interesting readwhich tells why US need more engineers/scientists who graduates from colleges /universities with science, technology, engineering and mathematics degrees.

While Vivek makes a point stating better incentives is needed for American children to study mathematics and science in addition to teaching about world culture, geography and global markets, Craig states to improve Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and K-12 education. Vivek went on to state that we need to create the excitement about science and engineering at the national level and make it worthwhile financially for the people who are graduating with science degrees to solve the problems facing our planet.

My triggering point for this post was a post by Vivek who asks “What’s better: Saving the world or Building (yet) another Facebook App”? In one of the hackathon event in UC Berkeley, students were asked to build applications. After working non-stop for 18 hours, 32 teams showcased various applications they developed which ranges from server side rendering of games to analyzing of twitter streams to building a gaming interface for a neural headset. But none of the team (except one) developed applications which can change the way we live (or) build businesses that do well for the planet. And to make the matters worse the judges awarded the grand prize to one team who developed a polling technology for university classrooms and for conferences.

So what if we challenge the students and the Silicon Valley to build business that do good for the planet. But the problem Vivek tells is that Students and Silicon Valley really don’t know what problems need to be solved and what they can do to solve them. Even VC’s really dont know about that. To justify this if you happen to read the latest Emerging Technology trends report you can know where the investments from Angel investors are going (Social Media, Gaming, and Virtual Worlds as hot upcoming).

What are the challenges which are facing our planet? In 2008, Charles Vest, the president of the National Academy of Engineering brought together a group of prominent deans of engineering schools from around the country to create a list of Grand Challenges that can be solved by engineers, in our lifetime. He believed that engineers will seek ways to put the knowledge they acquired into practice and meet these challenges which will lead to a better quality of life.

Here is the list of 14 grand challenges the deans of engineering schools created. Let me explain each in a shorter format. For detailed study of the challenges you may want to visit the site engineering challenges.

#1 – Make solar energy economical: This challenge discuss the growing importance to use solar energy as day-by-day oil, natural gas and coal becomes extinct. It highlights why solar energy is important and ways with which we can store solar energy, how we can achieve greater efficiency using nanocrystals approach and the costs involved in doing the same.

#2 – Provide energy from fusion: It throws lights on the challenges in generating energy using nuclear reactors and what are the problems which needs to be addressed to make the fusion process efficient, economical and environmental friendly.

#3 - Develop carbon sequestration methods: You may have heard about greenhouse gases, ozone layer, global warming. Co2 emissions are the prime contributor towards global warming which needs to be addressed. One challenge engineers are working is to find smart ways to capture and store excess carbon dioxide to prevent global warming.

#4 - Manage the nitrogen cycle: It’s closely related to the above. We need to find smart ways in waste management, improved fertilization techniques to control excess nitrogen which can cause major problems in rivers and coastal waters.

#5 - Provide access to clean water: While we may use TATA swach, much parts of the world remain isolated from accessing clean water to drink. How do we reduce the cost incurred in desalination of water (i.e. extracting salt from sea water and provide drinking water), recycling of wastewater etc.

#6 - Restore and improve urban infrastructure: It discuss the growing needs to provide better infrastructure through integrated transportation systems, removing the manual work involved in construction industries through advancement in computers and robotics. For example in Hong Kong, several transportation services are linked in a system that allows a single smart card to be used to pay for all the services, including gas and parking.

#7 – Advance health informatics: Electronic Health Records for everyone by 2014 is one of the major reforms Obama administration has laid out in the Healthcare reform for which the bill is passed recently. The present day healthcare facilities are very costly and does not cover all the people especially those who are un-insured. While there are movements like Health 2.0 to address the challenges, there is a lack of sophisticated health information systems. How do we improve health information systems?

#8 -Engineer better medicines: One engineering challenge is developing better systems to rapidly assess a patient’s genetic profile; another is collecting and managing massive amounts of data on individual patients; and yet another is the need to create inexpensive and rapid diagnostic devices such as gene chips and sensors able to detect minute amounts of chemicals in the blood.

#9 - Reverse-engineer the brain: How do you create computers which are capable of emulating human intelligence (i.e. to emulate our brain)?

#10 - Prevent nuclear terror: Challenges include: (1) how to secure the materials; (2) how to detect, especially at a distance; (3) how to render a potential device harmless; (4) emergency response, cleanup, and public communication after a nuclear explosion; and (5) determining who did it. All of these have engineering components; some are purely technical and others are systems challenges.

#11 - Secure cyberspace: As more people turn to internet there is a growing need to protect critical systems like banking, individual identities. Some challenges in these areas is to include by providing better security for data flowing over various routes on the Internet so that the information cannot be diverted, monitored, or altered. Current protocols for directing data traffic on the Internet can be exploited to make messages appear to come from someplace other than their true origin.

#12 - Enhance virtual reality: True virtual reality creates the illusion of actually being in a difference space. It can be used for training, treatment, and communication. Rendering of a virtual human that can purposefully interact with a real person — for example, through speech recognition, the generation of meaningful sentences, facial expression, emotion, skin color and tone, and muscle and joint movements — is still beyond the capabilities of real-time computer graphics and artificial intelligence.

#13 -Advance personalized learning: When we are young we often learn word-by-word (or) using phonics (i.e. read letter by letter to grasp the word). This varies from person to person as learning is personal. But the current systems in place are not helpful for everybody as the ability to learn varies. This challenge is to find ways to develop computing systems in place which can aide personalized learning.

#14 - Engineer the tools of scientific discovery: There are many unanswered questions of nature for which research is going. The problem is availability of tools, instruments, and systems that make it possible to acquire new knowledge about the physical and biological worlds. How do we engineer tools, instruments and systems which can aide in solving unanswered questions of nature?

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Writing passwords can be helpful sometimes!!

“Do Not write passwords” is a well known sentence for regular computer users.

But writing the passwords can increase the security too.

“The Virtual Keypad with its dynamic keys minimises the risk of malicious codes capturing your keystrokes. Use Virtual Keypad and enjoy the convenience of online banking with complete security.” is a text I found in a famous bank website.

I feel virtual keyboard may not be the correct alternative to secure passwords from key loggers. While searching for the methods to hack virtual keyboards, I found many different ways. I accept that almost every software can be hacked but only the time taken and effort needed matters.

A Keylogger can either be a software or a hardware. Virtual keyboard can secure us from hardware keyloggers. Coming to the software, I can say no. Implementing a keylogger needs a deep technical knowledge as it runs at low level of Operating System. Current anti-virus programs can easily detect those programs. Where as to get the password from a virtual keyboard is comparatively easier as any program can get the screen shots. And the anti-virus will not treat these type of programs as a virus because capturing screen is a common activity.

Keyboard will be shuffled every time when a key is pressed in the virtual keyboard. The time taken to shuffle is very high when compared to the time taken to capture the screen. The image below is the result of the program I wrote to get the password information from the virtual keyboard.

Code snippet “creating an screenshot image related to the mouse position” in Mighty gives the basic idea of the hack.

I have an idea which can work better than the virtual keyboard.
When we copy and paste the text into the password field, keyloggers cannot get the data.
But getting the data from clipboard is very easy(I will come to this point later).

In the proposed login process, we have two password fields one is the traditional password field and the other is the one in which the user need to paste the password(say ’safeLogin password’) from clipboard. We will send the safe login password to the user’s e-mail address so that user can copy from there and paste in the respective password field.

Now this combination is similar to the public & private keys in encryption. The keyloggers cannot know the safeLogin password and the active attacker(may be the persons who share the computer with the user) cannot know the traditional password.

User needs to remember only one password as the other needs to be taken from the e-mail or from the text file.

As we can access the clipboard, when the user opens our website, the script will send some random data with the same length of the safeLogin password to the clipboard in regular intervals. If there is any difference in the clipboard data, then we will store that. When the user tries to paste the safeLogin password, we will take the last password user sent to the clipboard. As we generate the random data, we can differentiate which one is the password and which one is the random data. Where as the attackers cannot recognize which one is the password and which one is not as all are similar and random.

We can make even complex with three safeLogin passwords.


• The user requests the bank for the net banking facility.
• Bank sends an e-mail to the user with user id and temporary password.
• User changes the temporary password.
• Bank sends another e-mail with three passwords highlighting one of them.

first e-mail content

user id: abcd
password : #a52@G9$
second e-mail content

safeLogin passwords:

sun@west(check this)

Login process

The login screen contains two password blocks. One contains the traditional password field. and the next block contains three safeLogin password fields and three radio buttons corresponding to each password field.

steps user will follow to login:

• types the user-id (abcd) and password(which user selected).
• copies the three safeLogin passwords one by one and pastes in any of the three password fields.
• clicks on the radio button corresponding to the password with (check this) in the e-mail.

How can we say this process safer?

The first password is a secret the user needs to type the password using the keyboard. Attacker can get this password with the help of keylogger.

As the safeLogin passwords are copy-paste, keylogger will not work here. As the programs can read the clipboard data easily, we use three passwords and select one.

Even the program collects all the three passwords, attackers needs to know which one must be selected.

Along with this, we can send random data to the clipboard at equal intervals and this will increase the security further.

Please help me if I am walking in a wrong path. write to me