Saturday, December 29, 2007

Old economy experience

though i have been reading about and using many old economy services, the recent experience of getting the home painted was revealing and educative in many ways.

first, most of the transaction is based on the spoken word.
discussions on time lines, service levels, way of working etc

second, project management is very dynamic
the plans for the day keep evolving through the day, depending on the weather - or whether : whether the team wants to complete something that day itself or not..

third, the customer is not king..
having handed over the house to them, they rule. make decisions on making themselves comfortable at home

fourth, most of the competent workers are also very smart
want to do the least, if that is OK. one has to keep demanding specifics in terms of detail

fifth, their network is very effective
they can bring in a dozen persons at short notice, if required or they decide to

and sixth, the 'contract' is based on trust

while i felt my patience stressed at times, i can empathize with them - considering their formal training or lack of it, the stress levels : both physical and mental when they take up such jobs..

while having semblances of an organized sector, these are pretty much disorganized.
they lack basic occupational safety protections - which i pointed out to the main contractor. as mentioned earlier, their network is very close. most of the members seem to come from the same village or places that close to the home town of the main contractor.

it also helps to engage affiliates - for instance, in my case, carpenter who was referred by the painter. between them, they coordinate the sequence of polishing, touching up after the carpentry work etc.

i was debating engaging one of the 'professional' agencies to get the job done.
and decided in the last minute to go by word-of-mouth - from a neighbor who had used the services of the painter.

i am happy overall - and satisfied that the vacation days were well spent. after all both a vacation and the home painting was long overdue.

now, i look forward to a real vacation..

Saturday, December 22, 2007


sitting at home while the house is getting painted - is an interesting experience.

long overdue, this was a impulse decision to make good use of a few off days from work.

if not anything else, it added to the chaos of things lying everywhere - making Hoogle even more necessary.

but then, in all this - some time to wonder why ...
? why does the last peanut have to be rotten?
? why should the stapler run out of stapes when you want just one staple?
? why should the phone ring when you have someone at the door?
? why do all channels on tv or radio play ads at almost the same time?
? why is there a traffic jam when you are so close to home?
? why do you have someone at a party who always knows the punchlines for the new jokes you want to crack?

etc etc etc

Sunday, December 16, 2007


this is what i need.
a Home Google. the amount of time one spends at home - searching for things - should offer a neat opportunity for the next killer app..

do the following situations sound familiar?
- morning. school time. kids getting ready...
? where is my socks? did you take the homework note book? where is the pencilbox?....

- morning - getting ready to go to office..
? where is that file? cannot find a matching tie for that meeting today - it has been ages since i wore a tie .. and now i cannot find it

- just before leaving for a family vacation
? where are the keys for the suitcases? or the rooms we rarely lock... who has the tickets and the confirmation vouchers from the resort...

or just simple questions like:
? where is the remote?

a combination of RFID, GPS and Google should be able to do wonders - to know where everything is and locate them, just as i think of locating one..

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Witricity and more

came across this list of unusual power sources.

witricity, or wireless electricity is something that has been on my wish list.
with so much electromagnetic radiation around us, the excess energies that are dissipated can surely be tapped to power some of the low power consuming devices - such as headsets or mobile phones or even TV / Audio remote controls.

one does not have to bother changing the batteries..

when researchers start exploring they do come across many ideas - such as biovolt.. will leave that to your imagination of what can be used as raw material and how it can be produced..

see some of these unusual sources at:,39024649,39168674,00.htm

when i saw the energy generated from passenger footfalls, i was wondering if there were sources to generate power from hot air.

our politicians can be the prime source for such energy - at least in India, we need not worry about power shortages.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Alice + 10

this is the Alice in Smokiey's song about not living next door to Alice.

the song was about living next door to Alice for 24 years. and wondering how life would be after Alice moved.

it has been 34 years since some of us had spent a few years [about 5 in my case - and about 11 in many others' cases] in school together.

yes, i had an opportunity to reconnect and meet with some of my classmates from school - after 34 years.
while electronic contact was established a few months ago, it was a transit via Chicago that gave an opportunity to meet with the twins in the class for lunch.

then it was a totally chance meeting at a function - where i was one of the chief guests - when one of the persons attending waled up and asked -- are you from .. school? and wasn't your nickname ... i was amazed.

the next day, called up one of the more enthusiastic ones - whose phone # was on the egroup list, and, thanks to him - met up with about 10 of them in one go in the evening.

even after 34 years, a couple of them had not changed much and could be recognized. but for most others - at least for me - it was only through some incidents that i could recall who they were.

interesting how some of these memories come back with a little trigger.
also interesting was to note that some of them were still living in the same house as they were and some of the hangouts were still active.

was sad to hear about some of the teachers as well as classmates who had to go through some difficult times.

well, in case you were wondering why the post is titled Alice + 10 - it was just to trigger your curiosity..
it has been 34 years since i have not been living next door to some of my classmates.. yo!

so, smokiey - don't worry.. it will all come back to you even after 34 years..