Miles to go...

This blog has shifted to All the entries have been exported there. So, please post you comments there itself.

Ramblings by Jaya Jha

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Qumana - Test

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Saturday, September 17, 2005

Weekend Surprise

This blog has moved to More details here.

Thanks a lot to Diwaker for sparing the invit :)

The old posts will still remain here. So, if you are a new visitor, the archives might still be a good place to start on my blog...


Saturday, September 03, 2005

Search and Tag and Search and Tag...

The example of dominant paradigms in any area going in circles with time is evident in several spheres of lives. Recently, was thinking about this in terms of content organization.

In particular the swing between tagging and searching. Tagging appears to be the buzz-phenomenon of these days. There was a time, when search held the same position. Now, come to think of evolution. People find that there are too many things lying around. If they are to be used when needed, they must be organized. So, some kind of manual categorization comes into the picture. Bookmarks, favourites etc. But then number of things, amount of content just goes on increasing. It is not possible to organize them all manually. So, comes the concept of searching. Looks great, but then the realization comes that machines are not yet in a position to substitute human judgement. There comes back the manual categorization. However, taking a slightly different form. "Social Bookmarking" - one person can not do it all, but several people together can do it! And there will be a phase, when even this model will face problems. Why? Since the judgement of one person will not really be relevant to someone else. And a common problem with all community efforts - how to control? How to ensure that no one is maliciously categorizing wrong things at wrong place? A "port site" under the tag "Family"?! What will be the next step then? A search in an improvised form? Most likely. But the other possibility is that the cycle will break altogether and some new thing will come to start a new cycle altogether.


What does Infy do with people on bench?

Okay - I have no first hand experience, but I have almost heard "horror-stories" (there is a reason, it is in quote - do not take it too literally) about them. Is it that they really have no work to do. From what I hear, it is true. The idea apparently is that a company like Infy needs to have trained people ready, in case a project comes in. They can not bid for a project saying they *will* hire and train people. They have to *have* people. Fine, understood! But is that not frustrating for people on bench? Why not have something for them to do? Why not allow them to pursue a project of their own choice? Even if they have to be moved to a project in between, it does not harm anything the company is formally pursuing. While benefits could always come out of it. Who knows we could have something as good as GMail from Infy someday!

Or is it that it does not want it's employees to get too smart?


Another period of long silence...

Well - more or less "silence", this blog has witnessed. The silence will be broken today, but would most likely be resumed soon as I am leaving for home on Tuesday, immediately after finishing my exams. Only for one week though. Hence, come September 15th and the blog will be in action again. However, some compensation needs to be made for this long period of inactivity. So, I start from here :-)

Okay - a brief explanation of silence here. Nothing too complicated. 4th term was the worst one here - lot more drudgery. To top that 8 courses for post-mid term period!! All of them with projects, and 7 of them with Group Projects. Wow! I do believe I can stand a lot, you see.

Was not a welcome term after that pathetic internship anyway. And days were overburdened, schedule of classes erratic and worst of the courses scheduled at most painful of the times. I need a break now. And good that I shall have it soon. My nephew is likely to be there at home - so even if it's tiring (you just can't match the energy level of kids!), it will be fun!

Google Talk has not been performing up to the mark now :( The lag is too much.

Have downloaded Dear Park Alpha 2 (code name for the next major release of Firefox). In terms of the features, the major advantage is that you can rearrange the tabs manually now (I did want it so badly!). Of course, they scare you too much, almost asking you not to download it, but there hasn't been any problems as of now.

And finally got the sidebar of Google Desktop Search 2 to work with proxy. It reads the proxy information from IE irrespective of what your default browser is. So, one has to ensure that IE has the proxy that GDS is supposed to use.

Still not sure if it is indexing my GMail properly. Given that I have already filled up almost 1 GB (1162 MBs be exact), I will have to give it some time. But have read on the Google Group on GDS that it is creating problems in indexing GMail for some people. Let's see.

And I also have to see to what extent does it customize the news. As of now, it is showing me all I do not care about.

The scratch pad is cool (okay - I know the concept is not novel, but I never used these thing earlier, for whatever reason) - and you can thank it for ensuring that I noted down all the ideas I got on various posts in it. Else, nothing would have come out even at the end of this "long period of silence" (Huh! As if the world cared - but whatever!). And as cool is the "To Do" Panel, which needs to be downloaded separately as a plugin.

Only complain is that it consumes too much of resources. I am running it on my poor 128 MB RAM, despite it being lower than recommended 256 MB. If they can make something as light as Google Talk, why not the same with GDS?? :(


Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Women Liberalization in India

If you are the kind who makes use of the "Categories" feature of this blog (which I have so labouriously created), you might wonder as to why is this categorized into "TimePass". I am afraid, but there is no way to find that out except by going through the post. Of course, you might want to decide that it is not important for you to find out the reason. In that case, of course, you can skip.

Ok- so what is it about women liberalization in India. Once upon a time there was a country called India and women were terribly helpless in Indian society. They used to get married whem they came of age and once married, their fates were tied to their husbands. The man may beat his wife, abuse her, not care for her and do whatever else, she had no way out, but to accept things as such. She could not have left him. The society would have outcasted her.

But then came the changes. Women were allowed not only to break up with their husbands, but also to re-marry.

The author of this piece has been lucky enough to be born in this age.

Remember "Closest to God" - Last time the rumours got me married? Apparently, I have been divorced after that and have gotten married again! It certainly is not the news of the same marriage, because the other person to whom the credit is being given to is different from the description of my potential husband in the earlier story.

Won't you congratulate me, dear readers?

Anyway, I guess the description of the kind above is likely to confuse people (and rumours need no rationale) - let me put it straight. (I am using this channel, since the number of curious people is far more than what I can handle through mails - particularly at this point of time when I am bogged down with work!) So, dear friends and foes - I have not been married, nor am I going to be so in near future. Please remain patient. I am not a celebrity and do not need to get married furtively. Whenever, that is to happen - all of you will know and will get due to chance to do all the work that a marriage entails. Happy?

If you are one of those who have heard "something" like this from "someone", may be you would help the stomach-ache of that "someone" by sending him/her a link to this post.

Thank you!!

Yours sincerely

Jaya Jha

P.S. This time the category in only "TimePass" and not "Cribbings" as it was earlier. So, rest assured, it has been taken in "right" spirit (sarcasm intended).


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Typical Clockwork

Relax, Bill Gates; It's Google's Turn as the Villain

Being a fan of google is the closest I have come to being a fan of anything/anybody in my life. And of course since they came out with GDS v 2.0 and then Google talk, I just can not stop almost worshipping it :-D

In such a context, above was a nice change. No, not that I completely believe in it. Due to its commitment to open standards (as Abhaya pointed out that yahoo keeps changing its protocol to disallow other clients and at Google, they are themselves telling you about various clients you could use besides theirs!!), it can not lose goodwill that easily. Of course, as Robert H. Schuller rightly said "it is impossible to be at the top of the needle without getting pricked".

However, caution is always a good thing. Both Google and Google worshippers need to be cautious. :)


Exam for selecting BPO employees

India tries exam to boost quality of outsourcing.

Okay - so apparently is playing with the idea of having an exam in place for giving some kind of certification to wannabe BPO employees.

Now, for the regular readers it should be no new as to how worthless I find things like exams. But this one triggered me to write about exams on a different note. It had been on my mind but somehow never came here...

Since I belong to a small town, I have always been wondering about the lop-sided development of the country. The benefit of IT/BT/BPO/whatever boom goes to people in metro and may be in the next stage to people in the 2nd tier cities. But what about people beyond those areas? They are practically left out. Why? Because they are not at the place where the opportunity is. And sitting so far, it is difficult to acquire the right kind of competencies needed to capitalize on the opportunities. The matter gets worse because clear, objective expectations are not there. What standard exams do is to clearly convey the expectations. Then putting efforts in acquiring competencies becomes slightly less risky and also little easier. By clearing the exam, you find a gateway into the world, which was beyond you till now. At least you are on equal platform with other more fortunate ones on one of relevant things. And then of course, you adapt and adjust.

For example the entrance exams for Engineering colleges. It does not totally eliminate the divide between those who have studied in good public schools in metros and those who have had to do with government schools with grossly inadequate facilities, but there still is some hope even for the less fortunate ones. Unlike say, in management schools, where there is interview and GD and where there is likely to be some subjective weightage for your background and all.

I am not criticizing any of these alternative ways. They have their merits and demerits and as I said earlier I am not particularly fond of the "objective exams". I am still not saying that exams are the best way. But given that we are in a society, where the equality of opportunity is far from having been achieved, they serve as a criterion, which is not as biased towards those having good opportunity as many other criteria. An exam might in fact be less accurate as a criterion, but it has its merits. I am not forgetting the regime of "tricks and tactics" and "tuitions and coachings" that exams create (okay - those are created even by several other alternatives - though are less effective). But they, nevertheless, are less susceptible to what I will call "opportunity bias".

P.S. Feel like writing about lots of things these days, but for a change I am terribly busy at IIML and I do not know whether to put a :( or a :) at that...


Sunday, August 21, 2005

Did they know?

Thinking of death, there are two people, whom I just can not forget. One was my maternal grandfather and the other my Music teacher(Mr. Anshuman Banerjee) in Purnea.

My grandfather died around 15 days after Raksha Bandhan. In that year Raksha-Bandhan was during a weekend; and hence I had come to home from Navodaya. So, accompanied my mother in her trip to his place. After living a fairly healthy life of over 80 years, he was ill for last few months and some strange illness it was. Not any internal body-part going dysfunctional, but just that his food would never get beyond his throat!! Details are unnecessary, just that it was a puzzling illness and nobody was able to identify what the problem was. He was surviving on saline water, but that made him extremely weak. While we were coming back, he asked me in Maithili whether we would meet again. Because of his weakness, his voice was not clear and also he had spoken in Maithili, with which I was not very comfortable then - so I could not clearly decipher what he was saying and stood wondering. My mother chipped is saying that he is asking whether or not you would meet him again - say 'yes'! Obviously I repeated 'yes', but he replied that I did not say it on my own accord. So, now we won't meet again. I did not take it so seriously, but guess what! Around 15 days later he passed away and I did not even get to see his dead body since I was at the hostel.

The other incident is even more intriguing. The time period of events are spanned over several years. I used to learn music from this old couple. They were Bengalis and most of their family members were in Calcutta (except for some who had relocated to Delhi etc.). We used to call them Chacha and Chachi. Very early in their lives they had somehow come to Purnea. While Chachi was still pretty sentimental about Calcutta, Chacha would not hear of leaving Purnea. "I just do not feel at home anywhere except at Purnea. Not even in Calcutta. When I go out, I always feel anxious and relax only after I come back here. I can not leave this place." When Chachi would jokingly insist that she would leave and go away, he would retort quickly saying he can take care of himself and then his students would take care of his food and all. Even if everyone takes care of one meal a week, it would be more than enough for him. "Till I am alive, I am not leaving Purnea", he would say.

But that was story of good, old days when he was healthy. When I was in class 12th in Ranchi, I heard that his health is deteriorating fast. When I went to meet him after my JEE results were out, it was a shock to see that the person who would not show any sign of fatigue doing all sort of work for the whole day was unable to get up and open the door. Chachi had gone for some shopping. Some of the occasions, when life teach you how momentary things are indeed. They were talking of leaving for Calcutta as in his bad health Chachi found it dificult to manage the household. She, herself, was fairly old. Chahcha remained silent through out that discussion. It was painful - as if he has suddenly realized how helpless he is. He can no longer claim to have a control over his own life. I somehow could not help but recall "Till I am alive, I am not leaving Purnea." Will he leave Purnea? It was decided that they would leave around 6 months later. Meanwhile, the house needed to be sold, suitable person needed to be found for transferring the ownership of Music School etc. It was so painful for me to imagine that the house will be sold to someone else. I had seen it since I was 7 years old. So, many occasions of eating "Moodhi-Ghughni", which Chachi would specially prepare for me because I would not eat many other things. Or that "maachher-jhol bhaat". Those two-three days of exams - how all the students would be around for the whole day, eat there, arrange everything for the exam and examiner, supervise the exam-room, the instruments, the seating arrangement and the food! No more of all that! No more of the Saraswati Pooja. No more waiting till late evening because my father could not pick me up before that. No more scloding for saying "aate hain", while leaving and not "jaate hain". It would be just another house - not any more my "Music School", not any more the home of "Chacha-Chachi". Even today, I feel tears coming to my eyes. How would it have felt to him?

"Till I am alive, I am not leaving Purnea." He didn't say so this time.

This was in summer of 2000. Went to meet them again in the mid-sem break (during Dushehra) of that year. For the first time I saw an obvious eagerness in Chacha to meet me (not that it was not there earlier, but he was not the kind of person to show it. I remember, at one point of time, he was telling me how Chachi should not go around worrying about everybody. "Even I feel for people, but you can not involve youself too much with anyone. Everyone will go on his/her own path someday. Look at how she fuzzes over everyone."). But this time there was an expression like "good you came" from him. While I was leaving he asked me when shall I visit again. When I said most likely in December he said, "You must come to meet me." They were to leave in the last week of December. Unfortunately, in that vacation, I decided to stay back at IITK. Around 12th of December (I do not remember the exact date), I received a call from home that he had passed away... Could do nothing really. Called up Chachi. Now, it was even more important for her to move to Calcutta.

"Till I am alive, I am not leaving Purnea." He kept his word!

Did they know?


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Democratization and Reliability of Information

Was Wikipedia gamed by the BBC?

This is just one "high-profile" cases. It needs no rocket science to understand as to how obviously the two "Democratization" and "Reliability" of Information are in conflict. Will it be possible to keep a check on it? While what the above article has been criticized for may still not do much harm, there certainly are more pathological possibilities. What if a competitor in Business puts mis-leading information on the net in an easily locatable place? What if mis-leading political propaganda is being fulfilled by putting fake information all over the net, which simply by the virtue of its presence everywhere would look convincing to common people? And there can be more...

But of course a more optimistic view could be that checks and balances will also evolve - somehow. Let's see.