Sunday, December 14, 2008

Happy Birthday Maris

From Maris' Birthday

From Marrakesh, to Century Ballroom to fighting with Snow balls on first Seattle snow of the year - it was great celebrating Maris' birthday. The pictures are shared at:

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Shopping time

I keep a wish list of things i desire :). However with the coming shopping season and Black Friday i thought this is the opportunity to make a comprehensive list of things we need to buy for everyone and make up for Diwali and not doing household chores in general.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Trusting the future

I was looking at some personal finance website in India, like this one and this one. Its appalling to see no worth-while content in the Indian scene vs great tools like Mint and Wiki-Invest on this side of pacific.

Anyways i think that this is a great time to take stock of one's financial health. The stock market and various other financial instituions around the world are facing a grim crisis. If you are a believer magic free market even in face of un-controlled and bottomless stock markets, then its a really great time to invest. However the big question is where to invest? Which stocks to pick and oh yes do you make up your portfolio in these times. Over the next few weeks i plan to address this very issue.

To make a modest start I'm ruling out any form of option trading, as the markets are really volatile, and i'm also going to rule out any chance of investing more that 40% of my savings in the cheap stocks.

Now once we rule out that. With a modest budget of $800 per month what can one do? The strategy i want to pick is buy stocks which were ridiculously high at one point and are dirt cheap (prefarably $1) now. However i'll only pick companies how have _real_ assets and a _positive_ revenue in this mix. So what are these companies? F?

What do I do with rest 60% well, the dollar to rupee conversion rates are substantially high these days (possibly highest in last 3 years), so i'm going to try and send that money back home to India. I'm not sure though if i want my father to invest that in stocks. He is stock broken full time and has tendencies to over do it. So i'm going to cap that may to 20% stocks and rest as cash. Lets see though, it has to work THE man.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Nurturing entrepreneurship in India’s villages - The McKinsey Quarterly - Nurturing entrepreneurship in India’villages - Strategy - Globalization

Nurturing entrepreneurship in India’s villages - The McKinsey Quarterly - Nurturing entrepreneurship in India’villages - Strategy - Globalization

"In general, villagers, particularly in the emerging world, have benefitted less from globalization than urbanites have."

"Rural development is crucial for the overall development of a nation’s economy."

"India should seek to empower its villagers and nurture entrepreneurial activity, while also taking advantage of its strengths in the private sector."

Now wait a minute, what do you think of the following one -
"Outright foreign direct investment, by Düsseldorf-based Metro AG, for example, should be welcome, as should joint ventures, like the one between Bharti Enterprises and Wal-Mart Stores. Such businesses"

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Fixing my aging Canon S400 camera

I vividly remember buying a pretty expensive ($450, if i remember correctly) 3 Megapixel Canon S400 camera from circuit city back in 2004! and now for less than half the price you get twice a better camera.

Anyhoo - my aging camera has begun to limp. Just after few minutes of use the batter dies. I have two lithium ion batteries and its the same with both. Also once in a while i do get memory card error. Its unlikely that my battery is dead, but it might be something which this post points. So i'm going to try and reset the internal battery for the camera, if that fails my default plan is to contact Canon.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Non-voters cast your vote!

I have been meaning to setup something for those who cant vote - one category being us the immigrants! Well here it is a way for you to cast your vote, wish this had the ability to set a date for voting and also ask couple of more bill related questions:

May be someone will create a bill relating voting widget, may be use the VoteSmart API.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Ice Climbing Newb!

Ice climbing is a type of climbing.Image via WikipediaOn Saturday I had a great time chomping on the Serac's in the lower Coleman glacier on Mt.Baker! Rob was helping me learn the basics of Ice Climbing. Well both of us forgot our camera's so no pictures. But truly the weather was way better than we expected and we had good view of Mt. Baker and the high meadows were really pretty.

So what all did I learn? The one main thing to learn about crampons is what ever you do try to get the most points in. What this implies is if you are coming downhill then do freaking edge (you will trip!), but try to roll your ankle towards the downhill side and get more points in, and better is dont edge at all!

One trick of the trade of secret I learn from Rob is how to position and balance myself. The idea is to swing the tool, hand from it with your wrist and then then move your legs up such that one leg is on either side of the tool. Once you are in balance and have three point of contact just stand up and swing the other tool. This way one doesn't barn door and uses much of legs.

I over used by hands, had a very tight grip and was very sloppy with my footwork. Well the result is i gotjavascript:void(0) a little sore and ran out of gas much earlier than i expected.

I have a lot to learn, but meanwhile just for shits and giggle check out this nice beginner video on ice climbing. And yep! thanks to Rob for hauling me in and introducing to Ice Climbing!:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Daily Dashboard - do you have one?

My experimentation with Camtasia studio and an attempt to idea-shake to improve my daily dashboard. Suggestion? Ideas??

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Where is my data, can i use it, and can it help me??

In the quest to live a better, organized and more productive life you need all your data! And that exactly has been my quest for a long time, I have lots of data:
  • Financial : Money and Quicken files from last 6 years (2001-08), Paper bahi khata from Seven Years (1995-2001) and Excel Sheets from several years (2005-2008)
  • My day, what did I do: Paper based time tracking (1995-2001), Outlook files from (2003-2008)
  • Health data, workouts: In Excel from 2002-08
  • Contacts: In GMail, In Outlook (fortunately synced with my cell phone!)
  • Blogs: In Blogspot and Wordpress since 2001
  • Website: 2001-2003 ( and personal
  • My pictures: Organized in folders marked in format YEARMONTHDATE-EVENT since 2001
  • My Videos: Roughly 8-9 disks in DV format!
  • Friendships, Social Networks - Facebook, LinkedIn, Orkut
  • Bookmarks - In Google
  • Work related files, code and documents since 2001!
  • Music: Songs as MP3 and ripped mp3s!

So as you can see I have a lot of data!! and I have been a big fan of measuring and tracking things. However I feel that I was more productive and has a better of things when I did paper pen tracking of how I spent time and money! Now i'm at loss - the primary symptom of digitization is that my data has lost its focus - I have data scattered everywhere for example what I do daily is scattered between outlook, google calendar, and mobile phone (ofcourse i'm less organized now :)), I have no good way of keeping track of my day....

I know this is tough problem for the computer industry etx.. but first and foremost I want peace of mind.. now a days my brain feel soo much scattered I feel like I dont have good handle on things and need to read more and understand things in order to do anything. I have come to believe that this is some kind of a dis-order may be ADD but i dont think I have been a non-focus kind of guy - just the thought of me not knowing about my stuff makes me a want to read and organize more which in turn leads to more reading and organizing and the end result is that I have very little time to get anything done! So this might be a bigger problem but I have come to believe that the cure needs to start with centralizing my data and creating a dashboard for it and all this has to have a very concrete tracking mechanism and a goal against it...

Friday, September 05, 2008

Festival Of Forgiveness - Michammi Dukdam

Today is the "Shyamapana festival". Shyamapana is a festival of forgiveness; its popular among folks of Jain faith. This day is a culmination of a weeklong fest of repentance called "Paryushan". To quote an article :

“For 357 days of the year we carry out our responsibilities to our business, our family and our career. We live a very busy, worldly life. In the process, we accumulate a lot of mental and emotional clutter. We gather unnecessary baggage of pride, fear, animosity, greed, ego and delusions in our thoughts and feelings. So Paryushan is the time to clear that clutter and make a bonfire to burn that junk, that rubbish which is corrupting our minds, our lives and our relationships. The Jains have designed the special eight days of Paryushan as a time of reflection, purification and renewal.”

So over the last year if I have hurt your feelings in any way or form, please forgive me -"Michammi Dukdam" and give me a mandate to start a new score!

Take Care and have a nice weekend!!

~~My Jain Influences~~
Support my 204.5 mile bike ride to Portland
Support my climbs

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Vegetarian Nutrition

I have been trying to keep an excel sheet of what i eat. However i think i'm going to try and babble about my thoughts on diet, so that i can be more clear and get some feedback. In addition to my diet i'm also trying help my dad (who is obese) to figure a better diet.

So, things which are deficient in Vegetarian diet are Protein, Calcium, Vitramin B12, Iron and Zinc.

Few initial general tips:
  • Tofu can be an amazing source of protein, iron, zinc, and calcium.
  • Vitamin B12 - The best source is fortified cereal.
Some specific Obesity tips in general:
When BMI (Weight / Height Squared) in kg/sq.m is more than 30 its termed as Obesity. Treatments include -
  • Low Calorie Diets
  • Exercise - spinning, walking
  • Make a goal (half marathon walk??)
  • No Caffeine
  • More water 64 oz ie 8 glasses
  • Measure Cholesterol
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

We struck gold, what next? Can we build Indian sports?

We struck gold, what next? Can we build Indian sports?

It’s a historic moment in the history of Indian sports. First ever individual sport gold medal in the Olympics! Abhinav Bindra has made us all of proud. United States has an450 men old Olympic team while the Indian contingent is just about 59! We might not have quality sportsmen to qualify for the big event but the hope of 1.1 Billion Indians is revived by this feet.

Some cynics remark that every 30 years India gets a gold in Olympics so the next will be due in 30 years. Do you think so? Can we do something to change the dire state of Athletics and Sports in general in India? Can we get the nation to think something more than Cricket? Of course all of the nation wants to think something other than Cricket but they need a pillar they need a hero to hold on to. Abhinav might be just it -? We the NRIs (right ? - I'm one now) give quite a bit back to the nation in terms of supporting education, aid during natural disasters etc. But how about if we have a Hope fund for Indian sports! Especially the individual sports? The idea is that this fund trains may 5-10 Indian sports stars from early on - gets them the appropriate coaching from abroad and nourishes their dreams and ambitions. We need more Bindra's to make our believe in themselves and something must be done about it - more on a consistent, quality driven and citizen fueled approach.

A common result of such success it media hype and melodrama. We often have seen that we the desis fall so much to emotions and just get over-whelmed by feelings. The next steps , action and what we ought to do is usually missing! And thus our circles of misery and overjoy continues :). So what could be the next step to promote more athletics in India. Among the NRIs and at least in North America is very popular to try endurance sports like Marathon, Cycling etx. Usually these events are coupled with fund-raising - so how if we associate these events with the cause of moving the state of India sports one notch up. Concrete how if on the Marathon event we invite one of the athletes from India to participate. Usually a fund raising marathon team is about 40-60 people. So if everyone contributes $75-100 we have enough to sponsor an Indian athlete to participate in the event!!! What do you think of the idea?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Ma and Bapu in Seattle - Week One !

I have been looking forward to my parents' visit. They arrived to Seattle last Sunday and below is a video diary and here are pictures of what we have been up to last week. We had a fun time camping in Fort Casey State Park on Whidbey Island - this was first time camping experience for my parents :)!

I took extra care to make the experience a little pleasant! The forecast was rain so we headed for a little less damp and open area. I also switched to an air mattress instead of sleeping bags - and yep brought in all the big pleasures of car camping like chairs, grill, firewood and yep - watermelon!! Oh my parents love the sweet corn!

On a side-note I have been trying to motivate and encourage my folks to pay more attention to their health. The great success is now they track their weight and blood-pressure every day!! A sweet result of this is that now we can correlate the days they have high blood pressure to the days when they are sitting at home!! So yep going on walk is an incentive to see those numbers do better. I think the next step for me is to get a pedometer for Dad so that he can keep track of how many steps he walks every day!!

However the big deal in whole deal of parents' health is healthy eating!! With typical east indian cuisine a lot of oil, and unhealthy fat makes way in to ones diet. My elder sister who is a Dermatologist gave a tip to try and control the salt intake first, and stress a little more on fruits. I need to make sure that Mom now starts cooking healthy stuff and yep! not give in to pressure/ craving from me or Dad :)!!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Ride Report - STP 2008

This year I'm doing a video report of our Seattle to Portland 2-day, 200+ mile bike ride. Be gentle with my experimentation in movie making and spelling skills, and if you have not donated already please consider supporting this ride, by making your contributions here.

I have shared the pictures of ride here.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

July 4th Weekend - Hanging out with my favorite gals :)

Vaidehi came over for July 4th weekend. After all the busy weekends only this weekend i got some time to get the pictures ready and share the goodness. It was really fun time motorcycling, biking, salsa dancing, strolling and climbing with her and Maris. :).

How to make the best Sambar - Vaidehi Style

My sister - Vaidehi is one of the best cooks. Here she is in live action showing the intricacies of making sambar from left over dal and frozen mixed vegetables. This is really quick to make and tastes wonderful!!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

The Small City India - and the change we need!

SiliconIndia, apparently one of the primere India professional network reports that India has degraded in its Forbes business potential ranking. The prime reasons it gives is high inflation and increased personal freedom.

For a while we have been the media has been focusing on every form of outsourcing, technology and the big business cities. But the "gross" in the India GDP comes from small city and small town India. The inflation is attribute of the increased disproportional spending of this small city India. Bit city India was always able to do this! What pains me is that the core problems of the economy are not made a day to day problem talk:
- How is the O of outsourced economy going to finally reach small city India?
- How is the T of technology affect the education in small cities
- How is that bright young folks can find employment in small town India to make a not only local but a global change. Can an infrastrucure to support this be built?

I gradually moved from a small town to smaller town to wealthy city to wealthier country. There is immense opportunity on all this levels but we publicize and want to go after only the top notch ones. It will be great exercise to actually start building the belief in local oppurtunity, and i love that my friend Nipun is doing something like that. Check out Karma Tube is a set of inspirational pieces motivating the change which can happen locally.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Sponsor my ride - help a cause!!

Every year I do the Seattle to Portland bike ride as a part of fund raiser. Next weekend I will be testifying my bike + butt endurance skills for 202 miles between Seattle and Portland. If you are interested in supporting Asha for Education and it’s cause of bringing change through education in India please support my ride by pledging and donating here. One of very personally gratifying things I was able to do with support of Asha was to help sponsor a school for hearing impaired back in my home town.

Enjoy the long weekend and happy Independence day.

Mt. Baker Climb

Maris and myself went for a Glacier climb with Mountaineers June 29-30. This was my first this season and Maris' second in a week! Pictures of the trip are shared here and a video is below:

The weather was really awesome! We started from the trail head about 11:30am and reached hogsback around 3:30pm, we decided to set our camp (base camp) here since we had running water and roping up and getting up to high camp, melting water + dinner would put us to bed pretty late. By the way the journey to the camp was not as easy - the trail is in a really in bad shape and we had to scramble our way in and walk over thin logs with a 50 pound pack :). And Oh! one interesting thing happened, Maris dropped her pole on a shitty slope and i volunteer to go get it. I had to go through some loose gravel and some snow but as soon as i grabbed the pole on of my feet slip and before i realized i was doing a butt ride towards a raging creek :). Fortunately i had my ice axe and i could self-arrest in time and make my way up safely!! This was a pretty freaky i think everyone was a little haired up seeing it ;).

Anyways we started our climb around 2:00am from 5700'. After making our way up the first slope one of the rope mates felt a little weird to after a lot of back and forth Jim (the leader) decided to go back with him. So we were then five folks on one rope 50m rope ! Anyways the weather held great and we were on the summit at about 8:30!! We made our way back down to camp at about noon and headed out from the cars at about 4pm to have the much missed Mexxi-Mamma burger ..

Monday, June 23, 2008

Backpacking south olympic coast

Here is the Video account of the backpacking trip Maris, Myself and Jessica (Maris' ex-housemate) did this Memorial day weekend.

Pictures of the trip are shared here.

The three day trip was a fabulous excursion in the Pacific Northwest's flora & fauna, tide charts and yep the longest wilderness coastline!! All of these were unparalleled to my any relevant experiences before! I can go on and on about how i loved the coast but i think i'll leave you guys to enjoy the video for now!

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Recently my team did the following presentation for our business development methods class:

The project was to find ways to propose a new business for a local company Treemo. We collaborated with the COO - Jeff Yee. Jeff was really a pleasure to work with, he almost instantaneously replied to our emails.

Anyhoo the presentation as you see here is proposing a company to help folks focus and improve the visibility of their amateur sports! The presentation and the related financial analysis and marketing research was very well received. We got comments like - "best presentation", "can I go check this out? Is this real?" , "I would love to have something like this, especially since I'm a soccer mom".

We also got very consturctive feedback like focussing more on a niche - may be niche of high school students wanted to get university scholarships via sports or may be a family oriented hub niche!!

The entire excercise was very frutiful for me, Mark & Cam. But we dont have customers or funding yet... any one out there???

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Salsa 2A - Class one!

In an effort to link all my online sites, I'm importing posts from some other places. I took Salsa 2 a year ago.

So finally i'm writing my salsa steps one more time. Yesterday i attended Salsa 2A class at Century and it was amazing! I figured out the mistake i was doing in cross body lead, basically i was trying to cross over my left foot, move right foot towards the follower and then move left foot. This would get me in an akward position so actually the steps were to cross left foot , shift weight in it(1) , shift weight on right foot in place (2) and then uncross the left foot and shift weight on it(3)!

We learned quite a few interesting moves.

Move 1: Cross-body lead (1-3), make sure you hold her hand and move her ahead , one-and-half-inside-turn (5-7)

Move 2: Spin the left arm anti-clockwise, change hands (1-3), do an outside turn (5-7)

Move 3: You are right-to-right, take a back step on left foot pull her towards you and be in go-to-movies-pose (1-3), take a back step and send her out (5-7)

Move 4: You are in cross hands situation, with left hand over right, do a cross body lead and at the same time ask her right hand on top and leave her left hand (1-3), send out and do an inside turn (5-7)!

I have a full 30 second salsa clip with move 1-4 now!!!!

Naked Ape!

In an effort to link all my online sites, I'm importing posts from some other places. Naked Ape is a book i read a couple of years.

The Naked Ape, by Desmond Morris gives a perpective of an ape to human. We are not these super-species just an ape!! It touches the raw emotions and its at times very controversial but non the less a good read. It borrow it and read this as a recommendation by Ruchi.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Art Of Start

The Art Of Start - the classical Guy Kawasaki work outline the five basic Entrepreneurial principals - Make meaning, Make Mantra, Get going , Define your business model and Weave a MAT (Milestones, Assumption and Tasks). That a very expressive list of getting going but above all i love his statement that Entrepreneurship is all about doing!

I have put that as my litmus test for picking up partners - if you want to do lets get going !! :), What else should one look in a partner? Ofcourse few things which come to my mind are - complementary skill sets, tenacity ....

How To Start Climbing 5.12...

There are a lot of people aspiring to climb 5.12, well for me 5.12 is the ceiling ! Last year i could lead 5.8, atmost 5.9 trad and 5.9 (consistently) and atmost 5.10 sports. Well thats all numbers and very geeky rock rat talk! What i really aim to achieve is getting more comfortable on the rock. When i first started rock climbing two years ago I feared heights :), well the reason i climbed was just to get over my fear! Now i have come along long ways :).

Last season I started leading trad, I learned a lot of composure and mind tricks! Almost everyone can climb 5.8/5.9 but when it comes to leading it all in the mind! While doing a leading harder stuff i learnt from a friend and colleague (Damon) a very cool trick of extending your arms and using your legs. Damon is an awesome climber and when he climbs it almost looks out of a video, also note that most rock climbing books and websites stress on the fact of using your legs and not relying on hands. It was sort of 'AHA' moment when Damon showed me how to hang on hands and move your legs up and then stand on a good hold, and keep repeating the same tactic. I wish i had a picture or a video to illustrate. This has helped me a lot, many time i'm just able to cruise up on the juggy 5.10's without any problem using this technique. Well, no only if I had a cool technigue to negiotiate the tiny handholds i would be a 5.10 champ :).

Anyways, to the point this season i'm planning to use this book to first get the 5.10's and then move on the oh well.. lets see :). But from what my friends (Wayne) have told me about the book, it seems to lay out a great process of trying to make training pyramid of grades you can climb to grade you want to achieve, end of the day its all about miles and constant tiny improvements with 'AHA' moments inter-spread.. sounds familiar ??

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Salsa fun!!

Back to Salsa! Its great to realize that almost after a six month break i havent lost that much of touch, but really i would love to be able to do the spins and flaps like the video above - Maris agrees too :) I should step it up !

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

To be or not to be..

Interesting points - why this guy left Microsoft to join Redfin, why this guy left to join Ontela and why this guy loves startups and what reason this guy has for you to leave the Empire and try something different.

I would summarize a little and add that its not just about finding a new culture and also a new way of life! In the above links i liked the idea of creating a forcing function to move on!

Whats your take on the big empire?

Monday, March 17, 2008


Ideation if done structurally really helps us to think outside the box. It a fairly organic process but in order for one to be successful wrt the out of the box solution one has to understand the properties and limitations of the box fairly concretely. One way to think outside it is churn and innovative on one of the limiting factors of the box picking proven solutions for the same problem in totally new areas.

e.g Using cool icebreaker from party scenarios in to business meetings -
  • Split folks in groups - share 2 unique things about everyone, test on the same.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Maris' Culinary Skills

A short video showing innards of a very healthy vegetarian meal, inspired by Madhur Jeffrey's World Vegetarian.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Things I need to blog about

I have a pile of things I need to blog about, let me know if I have missed anything!
  1. India Trip
    1. The Golden Triangle
    2. Startups in India
    3. WinePark of Vinchur
  2. Having a complete comprehensive to-do list the must have for time management
  3. Improving Snowboarding Skills
  4. My active HealthBlog -
  5. Techniques in programming - timestamping and compression

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Indian Stocks for Long Term Investment

Do you think the following make good stocks for long-term investment in India?

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Fixing my overheating old Toshiba A65

I'm in process of fixing my old Toshiba A65 laptop, apparently it shuts down after overheating. It seems to be a very commong problem and has a very guide to fix it. I'm in process of following it, so far i have removed the harddisk and the cards, next is taking the chassis apart :). Hopefully the problem is clogged heatsink and cleaning it will help resolve the issue. I want to give the computer to mom to pair it with the desktop, and replace her already departed Viao :)!!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Pillars for Success of a BDM

A seasoned BizDev resource tells me that following skills are pillars for success of a business development manager:

  • Negotiation Skills with proper business conduct
  • Business Modeling with ROI asset evaluation
  • Organizational Maturity Skills
  • Deal Strategy Skills

Whats your opinion?