Archive - Mar 2006

March 18th

Pandora vs Last.fm

A comparison of the Pandora and Last.fm services.

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March 17th

computing history browser

A neat proposal on the Ubuntu wiki about a Computing History Browser.

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turning off gmail chat

I’m not a big fan of the AJAX chat feature in GMail, and noticed there were 2 fairly non-obvious ways to get rid of people seeing me “online” whenever I signed in: The first way was to set the status as “Sign out of chat”; which GMail thankfully remembers the next time you login. The second way is go to the bottom of the page, and select “standard without chat” as the view option. GMail also remembers this when you sign in the next time, so you get to use the email services in private, without being bogged down by the chat javascripting.

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March 16th

vldb insanity

The db lab has been unusually active in the last 48 hours; the VLDB paper deadline is less than two hours away; everyone’s plugging away at their LaTeX, proofreading others’ papers, running up and down the hallway to meet the professors…

Fun!

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March 14th

soc engg on the basketball field

An interesting story on how Cal beat USC.

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March 14th

rahman in michigan

…along with Sekar, Kailash Kher, and Vasundhara Das! At Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti. Poster, Press Release, and (expensive) Tickets.

I’d love to go, but it’s right when my finals are, and the tickets are forbiddingly expensive anyway.

March 11th

tell tale signs

You know you’re a nerd when:

  • A sophomore introduces himself as Eric Schmidt, and you ask if it’s a problem, do people point out that you’re a namesake of a rather famous guy. And he tells you not really, very few people, in places like the CSE building would know stuff like that.
  • You go to a dance, and when you take your sweatshirt off, you realize you’re wearing (and simultaneously display to the whole grooving wide world), a dark blue t-shirt with bright yellow letters that say, LET’S GET NERDY.
  • People recognize you from your mailing list posts.
  • There is talk of poultry farmers putting chicken bits in chicken feed; and you proclaim the process as bootstrapping.
  • You’re up at 1:13am on a Saturday night filing bug reports about missing favicons at Drupal.org.

What can I say. We’re like that only, please excuse.

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March 10th

skype p2p data

The gooresearch blog has a post on a study by Saikat Guha, Neil Daswani, and Ravi Jain, of a Skype supernode at Cornell. Here’s an HTML version of the paper, for those who can’t access the (currently inaccessible) mirror site. I used to attend FIITJEE classes (coaching for the IIT entrance exam) with Saikat; smart guy. He was off my radar for a while now, it’s a pleasant surprise to have his name pop up in my aggregator all of a sudden. :)

Update: It seems that this work was done at NTT’s DoCoMo Labs, with Ravi Jain and Neil Daswani having moved to Google recently. Why is this on the Google blog then?

digg people and the indian outsourcing opinion

I couldn’t resist citing the hilarity at Digg regarding an Indian outsourcing post. A sampling of the comments:

Original post (emphasis mine):

And there she goes, one of the last computer companies that had all tech support centers in the USA. One of my biggest selling points to my customers has been that Apple cares about their customers and had all there support from someone that spoke proper English.

Responses:

I think that you will find that English is the “offical” language in India, and that they have probably been speaking English longer then your family has. (given that they most likely emigrated from some european nation – perhaps Germany)

I’m so upset I think I’m going to sell my Mac and buy a Dell! At least THEY care about the American worker!

I have no problem with Indian tech support. Speak clearly, listen clearly, and you’ll get your question answered. If you call up speaking like a yokel and they don’t understand you, it’s your problem, not theirs. It’s a global economy, there’s no use in fighting this stuff, this is just the way it is and this is the way things are going to stay. Deal with it.Who cares if the person has an accent, they still get your problem solved. I’ve spoken with many very intelligent very technical Indian support reps.

I resent what this guy said about speaking proper english. You know, I’m just a regular white American dude. But I DO know that in India, English is the de facto national language, used in combination with regional second languages. They speak wonderful English. I work with several Indians and they speak better English than I do.

maybe they did that in consideration of their Indian customer base that are sick of talking to techs in the USA that speak crappy Indian.

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March 7th

one billion reasons to care

ABCNews does yet another India report (Part Two). Memorable quote: A sardarji says to the U.S. reporter, on his face: “We are not behind you, we are with you”. Heh. In many ways, India might just be ahead.

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