Monthly Archives: May 2010

Indiaplaza shopping

I have just noticed this. Whenever I order from a book from Indiaplaza, whose price is more than 20% below that on flipkart (or more than 30-35% discount to retail bookstores), they make me wait weeks before telling me that the book is not available.

I have asked some of my friends, and they say the same thing. While this is a subjective deduction based on a small sample size, it holds for me since I don’t have the time or energy to keep doing this.

Bad customer service Indiaplaza. I am never buying from you again. Ever.

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Posted by on May 31, 2010 in Books, Thoughts



links for 2010-05-26

  • When we intend to inform, which is the essential purpose of data visualization, we can’t select the form of the display arbitrarily: the form must be selected to support the intended function…
    the primary goal of any data visualization is to inform, and that it should be carefully and knowledgably designed to support this goal based on the principles that we’ve learned through years of research about graphical perception. We should stick with what works. When we stray from these principles, we should do so because the situation demands it, which is at times the case. If we never learn the principles and understand how and why they work, we’ll never know when it’s appropriate to stray.
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Posted by on May 26, 2010 in Uncategorized


links for 2010-05-25

  • Based on this graph, I’m guessing that Oracle now outsources the development of its courses to the primate house of the local zoo. Although I haven’t seen the course myself, I’m told that this graph is typical. If this is what a leading Business Intelligence software vendor considers an effective way to display data, it’s no wonder that people are frustrated with the industry…
    It is as if the person who created this “Good Dashboards” example of a graph did everything possible to make it as ineffective as possible.
    How can a vendor that claims to understand data and presumes to teach people best practices in its use know so little? Oracle, you should be embarrassed.
  • Just before the start of the World Championship match in Sofia Vishy Anand learnt that his opponent, Veselin Topalov, had access to a computer cluster, running the latest Rybka program, which was being held back for exclusive use by the Bulgarians…Topalov had a seriously powerful set of computers, and in addition access to a Blue Gene/L super-computer that had 8792 processors and could execute around 500 teraFLOPS…
    Against this frightening hardware superiority, made possible with the assistance of the Bulgarian government, Anand, as he narrates in the first part of the interview, received assistance during the preparation phase and during the match from a "human cluster": his four regular seconds, but in addition also Magnus Carlsen, Garry Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik (with a small sparring session with youthful GM Anish Giri). This of course did not eliminate the need for computers, and in part two Anand talks about the use of electronic helpers as opposed to human seconds.
  • he team of World Championship challenger Veselin Topalov reportedly spent a large sum of money to secure a 112 core computer cluster running at mind boggling speed. "How did the reigning champion counter this awesome hardware advantage," we asked. Anand answered this question in a candid and very detailed interview broadcast on Monday Playchess. He used a human cluster!
    Well, by December it was clear that Magnus (Carlsen) was going to be number one in the world, and I wasn’t really sure that I should expect his help again…But sometime in March he got in touch with us, and said that he would be happy to help for a couple of days…
    The next person who got in touch…was Garry (Kasparov)…I sent him some details about what we were planning to play…and he said he would check them against his own notes and let me know if it was okay…Garry did get in touch a couple of times during the match. He was almost in training mode…
    Finally…Vlady (Kramnik) called…
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Posted by on May 25, 2010 in Uncategorized


links for 2010-05-21

  • "Responsibility" is seen as an authorial function: few people see that those who may be offended have an equal responsibility, which is to set out their arguments in a way that at the very least, does not include physical violence.
    All of this sends out a very strong message to writers and other creative artists: you are free to write whatever you want, provided you are willing to bear the consequences alone and unprotected by the might of the state.
    The way we really feel about writers—our own and those who have come to a free, democratic country in search of shelter—can be seen in what we do not do…
    How often, in these sixty years of this independence that we pride ourselves on, have we seen the real culprits punished? How often, instead, have we effectively licensed and condoned the right of those whose "sentiments have been offended" to extract retribution?
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Posted by on May 21, 2010 in Uncategorized


links for 2010-05-20

  • "What tax benefits? Your principal, up to 1 lakh a year, is tax-free under section 80C; but then your daughter's school fees and the provident fund paid from salary qualify under the same 1 lakh limit, so you don't get anything extra on your home loan. The interest paid on your home loan is tax free upto 1.5 lakhs a year – you pay substantially more than that – but you either pay the bank or the government, and the government takes only 30%, so what tax did you really save?"
    "Well, compared to renting…"
    "The house you stay in rents at Rs 12,000 a month, less than the interest per month for a long time. And you get a tax benefit for renting too."
    Sharma said, "Understood. Ok, the past is past. I can feel bad, but it is a sunk cost. What you're saying is – as you save money, make part-payments up your home loan. And shift to a different bank if the cost and benefits work out.
  • IDFC Project Equity, a leading infrastructure equity investment manager, has elevated Aditya Aggarwal to the post of managing director incharge of investments. Aggarwal was previously a senior member in the energy team at IDFC.
    (tags: friends iimc)
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Posted by on May 20, 2010 in Uncategorized


links for 2010-05-19

  • Two of my Indian friends are expecting a baby – both of them are women who have “chosen” not to work after marrying men who are better qualified then them – what shocked me was the blatant way in which both of them said they want a baby boy…I asked one of them why she wouldn’t want a baby girl; she pondered and then said “I don’t mind having a second child as a girl so that I have something to decorate” – I was aghast at hearing this, was she talking about a human being or a Christmas tree…I really wanted to ask these women if they feel so inferior/ worthless about being women that they don’t want to be responsible for bringing a girl child into the world – but there are some boundaries one doesn’t cross while dealing with not-so-close-friends! If these women would have a baby girl, they would surely try again for a boy.
  • The Indian men’s Hockey team, which just returned home after sharing honors for the first spot with South Korea in the Sultan Azlan Shah tournament, was detained at the International Airport here due to security concerns. According to the customs officials, they were found in possession of dangerous wooden sticks, a barred item for international routes where only cricket bats are allowed as an honorary exception.
    On being questioned, the players said that they were representing the nation in Hockey. This made the customs officials turn highly suspicious as they had never heard of such a sport before…
    This is not the first time that such treatment has been meted out to Indian sportspersons. Years ago a certain Vishwanathan Anand was denied entry into India despite having won the World Chess Championship. An emotionally scarred Vishy subsequently relocated to Spain, never to return.
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Posted by on May 19, 2010 in Uncategorized


links for 2010-05-16

  • One of the greatest things about India is that our government cares about us so much. Our legislature knows that we want new laws quickly, so it doesn't waste time pointlessly debating them. Our executive knows that cricket is a national passion but agriculture isn't, which is why Sharad Pawar spends more time on the BCCI than on the Ministry of Agriculture. And in the judiciary, we have the awesome Justice KT Sankaran who has set out to protect us from the Love Jihad…
    Unfortunately, something did go wrong for the Love Jihad – they came up against the Kerala High Court. It realised that interreligious marriages are so uncommon that if they suddenly rise, a criminal conspiracy is to blame. The other culprits – increasing socialisation between people of different religions, declining influence of religions in general – are impossible…It-s good to know that we have a court that is so committed to our security that it hunts down and tackles the most improbable of threats.
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Posted by on May 16, 2010 in Uncategorized

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