Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The last post "Great Indian Spit" ..." Thoo Sar Uthake (both Coke and Pan are red !!!) is removed from my blog on grounds of aunthenticity.
Nandu and Mallu nothing to feel about. It was right on your part to have pointed the same.
Kutti made it sound more the tech way and started trumpeting the google way..hehehe..
But more to come.. remainconnected

Saturday, November 26, 2005

The World is Information Flat.

A simple question, what I want is it information or is it knowledge. Even I am not clear on this and below is my expression to this, may be wrong may be correct…

If you come to think about it for a moment, what we really want is knowledge, not information. The good news is that there is a lot of information out there. The better news is that the cost of accessing that information has been dropping exponentially. But the bad news is that the cost of searching through the vast stock of information to satisfy your knowledge needs is increasing.

My simple explanation for the distinction between knowledge and information. People use the terms interchangeably but they must be distinguished if we wish to reason with some degree of clarity. A telephone book has information about names and numbers, but it does not ‘know’ telephone numbers. A human brain ‘knows’ a phone number, in contrast. Outside the human brain, it is information and organized within the structures of a human mind, it is knowledge.

Here are some fun facts about information that I have gathered from my experience in the database, knowledge based industry and use of the world of internet.

Fun Fact #1: There is a heck a lot of information in the world today. The stock of information is stupendous. The increased production of information has been intensive and extensive. Intensive because more of what we do is recorded, whether in databases, or in your own record of your private life such as in bogs and photo albums, and so on. You have lots more bits of information associated with you than was associated with your ancestors. Extensive because first there are more of us on the planet today, and second, because more of us are doing stuff that produces more information.

Fun Fact #2: A heck of a lot the available information is available online. Some of it is on the World Wide Web accessible through the Internet, while much of it is in the deeper web not generally accessible to the average web surfer.

Fun Fact #3: The stock of information is increasing exponentially. And consequently, the stock of online information is also increasing exponentially. Exponential increases are fairly dangerous things. This is a not-so-much fun fact we will come back to bite us. Flow of information is threatening to become a tsunami.

Fun Fact #4: Regarding the quality of information online, the quality on an average is decreasing.
Let’s just focus on books although we could as easily tell a similar story about movies, or books, or research papers, or photographs, or blogs, or internet postings. A century ago, there were very few books published compared to today. Given the high cost barrier of publishing, only those works that had some enduring quality made the grade. Therefore the average quality of available printed matter was high. Today, there millions of titles are published because of both greater supply (more writers) and greater demand (more readers), and because the cost of publishing (relative to average incomes) has fallen. The quality of the average book, I believe, is lower than before. This is a personal comment though and perception.

It is my contention that the best book of today is better than the best book of yesterday, and that the worst book of today is worse than the worst book of yesterday. Just that I don’t have hard data to support this hunch.

Allow me to make an argument about quality and quantity. Let’s take photographs. When I used an analog camera (print or slides), I used to take a lot fewer pictures than I do today with my friend's digital camera. But I rejected a lot lower percentage of pictures in those analog days. Today, I delete away most of what I take with the digital camera but I end up with much higher quality “best pictures” than before. Taken as a whole, my digital pictures are on average “lower quality” because I click a lot of pictures with greater abandon today given the low average cost of each click. I am not sure if I was able to make this point clear. Till date I prefer to use my own analog camera to a digital one and when one of my friends Ranga,was in Norway planning to get one, I was able to convince him that an analog is better than a digital one.

Fun Fact #5: The cost of accessing information is going down.
Let’s just say “google.” Enter some keywords and you will get about four million hits, give or take a few million. Marginal cost to you: nearly zero (assuming that you have a connected computer at your disposal.). The information can flow through to you through a vast pipe if you need it.

Fun Fact #6: The cost of identifying the information is going up.
So you do get four millions hits in less than 0.4 seconds when you do that search on Google. But, unless you are very lucky, or have been very clever in specifying the search, it will take you a lot of time to sort through it all to find the information you need. The lower the average cost of accessing the information, the higher the search cost for any specific required information. You can have high quantity but will have to put up with low quality; or you can have high quality but it would cost you.

Why this blog…well well wanted to do it just for the heck of it as I am spend a greater part of my time during weekdays in that world. Keep guessing that ….and remainconnected.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Manjunath ....true individual

Yesterday, I watched a detailed report on NDTV; the reporter had travelled to Kolar 90 kms away from Bangalore, to meet with Manjunaths's family. They were naturally distraught. His mother just sat, in shock; his father painfully recalled his last meeting with his son. It was 15 days ago, when he had travelled to Uttar Pradesh to suggest that his son get married. Manjunath apparently replied, "Not, now. I'll wait for another four, five years."

Manjunathan's father says, "I often pleaded with him that he should give up this job in that part of north India where the border with Nepal and the forest terrain made mafia operation conducive. But he would not listen, and he would say he loved Lucknow which gave him his management degree, and that he was ready to give his life for Indian Oil.” The report continues: "Manjunathan was the oldest of three children and had landed the IOC job through a campus interview last year. He had rented a room at Lakhimpur-Kheri and used to stay alone. Manjunathan’s brother Raghavendran is an engineer and sister Sujata is studying electronics engineering. His mother has been fainting off and on since she heard of his murder."

But you would be wondering who is Manjunathan…. Well someone who wanted to make a change just that some corrupt people didn’t like his. As per me he is more an icon, very difficult to find gems of this kind. B.S. Manjunathan, alumni of IIM, Lucknow (2003 batch), was working with the Indian Oil Corporation in Lucknow. He was murdered for his determination to report dealers adulterating petrol.

I personally feel he was one who could not tolerate the inaccuracies in the system and felt that the business would improve a lot more if there were transparency. Apparently, part of his job was to inspect samples from petrol pumps, and report back to the company. The petrol pumps were ideally supposed to adhere to very high standards of purity. But he said the adulteration in the petrol pumps in UP, where he was posted, was usually so rampant

He said the reason why this adulteration happened so brazenly was that the dealers knew that no matter what happens, their licenses couldn't be cancelled. If everyone does it, how many pumps will the company shut down? He said he usually tried to cajole, convince and scold the dealers to not indulge in such dishonesty. He said some fell in line, but most of them usually got back to the same old adulteration business. In fact Manju said, some of the petrol pump owners are downright scary."

(Note: My room-mate in my grad school (2002) is a IIML, passout (Shekhar, IIML 2004) and I feel like calling him this weekend and talk to him. I am not a passout student from IIML but then this story sent shock waves in my blood and so was when Satyendra Dubey met with the same ill fate in Bihar. I sometimes feel bad that what I do here is for my personal growth and for the growth of a MNC, an impact of globalisation. Its all about me, myself but feel at times to leave all this and do something real good.Something of substance and that’s what I dream for.)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

India and the Shaadi Dhamakas

I believe that we pack a lot of things into marriage in the sub continent. A look at the arranged marriage and what it means to the many different participants is an important research topic in my opinion that almost all sociology, anthropology and psychology students need to invest in. The success of "Monsoon wedding" and the many other 'shaadi' oriented movies (Hum aapke hai kaun) -- almost every movie has a few scenes devoted to shaadis - should make the rest of us stand up and take notice of this from a educational point of view.

So much so that, while the Americans have their malls and/or their talk shows (I'm not sure which is more popular if you recently saw the Oprah Show and you might have guessed whom I am referring to) and the French have their champs ellysee and wine, the German their beer and the Russians their winters - For us Indians, it's our shaadis - the one stop cultural diaspora of everything we are.

What's got me thinking on marriages? Not mine really. I know of someone who is in US now and got married about a month back. Suddenly I kinda rediscovered the feminine side of her. You know what I'm talking about. It's something about themselves - - a kind of delicate, fragile grace - one could call it. ... It's quite a transformation. Indian weddings are quite festive. There are gifts and part of the etiquette at relatives' homes. The range of colors is enviable - - from reds to pinks to greens to yellows. I now really know how my brother felt when he moaned after his marriage got fixed.

It isn't just about the clothes either. It's about the jewellery, the sudden found freedom to be escorted out and back at the very odd hours of the year. Given a decent husband and family, it is also about a lot more freedom. It can be the woman's first shot at management - that of her home. For once, she might be included in the 'money' talk. It's a big deal, all right. Especially if you're a woman brought up in a traditional house where you were cossotted (read protected) by the men folk and blissfully cajoled by the women folk.

Marriage - the whole show - would be your show. You're the star, the one who gets all the gifts. You'll have scores of people bringing you gifts and you know deep down that thanks to you. It's a win-win for all. Everybody is happy. Everybody gets to 'get out' and meet up with the who's who and when's where. It's our social meter too. Pandey uncle's son is in the states and so she too will soon start her US dreams. Rekha aunty's daughter was Miss Kolkata. Um mmmm - - this is a big deal. So the networking starts (remainconnected though)

I'd like to still come back to the young bride. At around 25 (the only 'right' ages), this could be a heady feeling. You don't have to convince your father to take you out - you have a husband, who is willing and ready. Look at the sheer number of outfits one can get in exchange. Not to mention, jewellery. You don't have to mix and match in your head anymore. You can do it right now real and guess what you can do all of that with yourself! It doesn't stop there even. If you go right ahead and produce an heir, good lord, woman - the world as you know it will be at your feet.

Why would you want to turn all that down for an experience, people at their best still doubt, called love? Arranged marriage is a BIG DEAL according to me. Philosophically you can lean on the BIG side of that phrase - where you talk about acceptance and understanding and sacrifice and compromise - and the inevitability of the stars above. Realistically you can place both your palms on the words DEAL.

Both ways, you can go ahead and exhale now. To me marriage whats that!!!!

Keep reading and remainconnected….

Monday, November 21, 2005

A Dull and hectic week.

Sunday night I completed reading the book"The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari" which was long pending even though I had fever but wanted a break after working for long hours on weekend at office.Life for me is hell with loads of work in office and even though I had and have fever now am pulling on somehow. Now coming to the book,it says we think around 60,000 thoughts a day,I seriously doubt if it is THIS high a number. So, among these if we take out one or two thoughts and put them down in writing, knowingly or unknowingly, we are flagging those particular thoughts. It argues that it is scientifically proven that these flagged thoughts are much more powerful than the others.

Not long ago, my friends and I were discussing about the very same topic. One of my friends strongly felt that when a word is written (or for that matter blogged,it has a completely different effect on oneself). Another friend and I went a bit deeper into this premise, understanding what happens when we actually write. When we write we give structure to our thoughts. We sequence our thoughts, sometimes with absolute logic. This structuring and sequencing of thoughts we believe sets the flag for thoughts rather than the physical form of writing. I work for the tech firm and at an age of 25 when we should be bubbling with ideas to do something I find people thinking too much about money and stuff. Well no comments though as the thinking pattern varies from person to person.

The book asks us to write in a notebook, whatever we want to become, look at it everyday, blah blah blah and stuff. One of my friends came up with an idea simpler than this... Just think, how many times or how long do you think before typing your frequently used passwords? I get so mechanical - I dont ever think what my password is. Guess his idea should work... Put whatever you want to achieve into a single word or a simple phrase and use it as your password! So, whenever you login to your account, a reinforcement is done. Whether you like it or not, the word becomes part of your subconscious mind and then possibly your identity.I have done that and I don’t know I have used this single word as my password for all my accounts and that is who/what is a mystery, an entity now across seven seas.

It also uses words like 'strategy', 'tools', 'techniques', etc. I hate to see these words on self improvement books. I do NOT believe that something which worked in one case will work in all cases. Those actions given in the books are mere suggestions, they are not strategies,something kind of repetitive content in a different flavour. Other than that, it has been nothing like a great reading experience with this book. I had no deep inclination to read this book but read it as I had heard lot of reviews on the book,else I don’t read these self improvement books.

So, have I started putting down my goals of life on paper and started reinforcing myself with it everyday? Naaah... I dont even know what my life's objectives in clear defined form but have big dreams. I know that I don't know but yet I know what I exactly want. It sounds a bit confusing but this by itself is enlightenment, according to Socrates.

My short term goal for now is to make this project which is a critical one all the very successful after having given so much to it for the last 4 months and it was a great learning curve working with the Chinese and the Japanese. I feel this week is also going to be hectic and somehow I have got “ Freakonomics” and am planning to start that soon. My preparation for a test in December has taken a back seat but am planning to accelerate from today,need to have long nightouts after office and that will keep my coffee machine at home busy.

I am also looking forward to meet lot many junta soon all coming from US after close to two years, Vidya,Shanks and Shilpa. All three special people in my life and the last one all the more special as she is my sister and its her wedding soon.

Have plans to blog more on "namma banguluru" and more just need some quality time,will do that soon.

Remain Connected !!!!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Kutti’s birthday

Its was Kutti’s birthday two days back. Fourth straight one away from family. birthdays in India were like any other day. We did not have parties where many friends would be invited and neither did I go out with my friends when I was old enough to do that and even today in Bangalore. Just that I wish all others do enjoy their B’days well.

Infact , I did not like anyone but my close friends knowing when my birthday was. Nothing irritated me more than a bunch of people singing Happy Birthday . I don't know why but I never liked being the centre of attraction on my birthday. I preferred it being very simple with a small number of people.

Birthdays was something which I got used to once I entered to my grad school and I still remember that those were marked by bums and kicks and it was fun . Birthdays anniversaries were all an excuse for us to eat cake.

Hope kutti you had a nice B’day with your friends out there in Florida. Well I like cakes better and I like my room mates too, but all the cakes in the world cannot make up for the absence of people like you when we had birthdays in our own way,this is one reason I hate birthdays. Makes me unbearably home sick. Makes me wish I was some place else. I mean no offence to my friends or room mates though. It is just that the home sickness is amplified.

Its my friend Kutti's birthday too. I felt like calling him before leaving for office and when I was stuck in the traffic and was gazing out of my car,I was able to recollect the good old college B’days. We were best friends and classmates in grad school and even after that and I thought I was being funny when I told him my birthday happened to be the same as his. We always forget to wish each other and all these years I’ve been the one to wish him first, some 3 days after the birthday. He beat me this time even though in a taunting tone and it was supported by Nandu, the curator of snakes now in Ohio Univ. Now thats something. Happy birthday Kutti. I am sure you are going to crack something great in your project with Boeing,remember the days when we used to make night outs to make "Aero Tech Paper" and it was Intel Technologies who saw something in our idea and we did it in the end. Keep doing that.

This week was hectic and I am carrying on with extra dosage of work at office. But good to see your mails and messages.It was also nice to have spoken to someone who is in Calif now after the chords were broken apart for sometime.

Remain connected !!!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Happy Birthday,

Deepa,and thanks for being an extra special person and also my friend. May all your birthday wishes come true and I think you still owe me a birthday present, so yours is going to have to wait until you catch up. Better hurry, January is coming faster than you think, you don't want to fall further behind with lot of shopping fest round the corner. Hey just kidding, don’t get serious on this.You know for me B'day is just another day.

I know you for sometime and am friends for a long time. I wanna take this special day, your special day, to wish you the most wonderful birthday today and tomorrow and the next day and the next month and the next year and many many years to come. I also wanna thank you for your friendship all these while. Last year during the same time I was not in India, was working on the client site @ Scotland but still I did remember your B'day it was special and good that we met after I was back. The reason I wished you and always wish good for you is because of your "bandanas" attitude, whether you are on high spirit or down you are always the same.

Hey,dont think I am writing this for the heck of it, but good to talk to you on and off on phone and probably you are one of the rarest few who lend a ear and listen to my crap.Oyee thanks again that when I was down a few days back for something I was repenting a lot, you just called up and said "it was just a test and you can make it next time and that happens". I salute your maturity and also the ease with which you make sound things. Lend me something of this great quality of yours.

I had "work". I spent the long hours at office working furiously as if I were turning the whole world upside down. I had to get my work done- my project, objects and product delivered. I had no care for the people who needed me. It was my project, my job, my career and I. what a stupid moron I was........But when I talk to you,I feel you make things so easy.I know you are also of the same nerd brand making Texas Instruments rich day by day.Deepa,please transfer to me a little share of your processor brain.Well to all those who think why I am asking this is because she hails from the portals of IIT Chennai,from my batch but she is ultra modest and down to earth...For a day today atleast in the evening go home early and enjoy some time instead of processing some complex algorithm in your mind.

Hey I spent 20 minutes of my time to write this blog for you as I got an alert on my mail box ( so you have to do something for me.Treat pending and this time I will decide the place..

Chao..till I post next time and it would be on "namma bangaluru".

Management Guru Peter F. Drucker is no more.

This sunday morning as I flipped through the Economic Times,this was a sad news to me.

Peter F. Drucker revered, as the father of modern management for his numerous books and articles stressing innovation, entrepreneurship and strategies for dealing with a changing world, died Friday. He was 95. Drucker died of natural causes at his home in Claremont, east of Los Angeles. Even few days back I had spoken to this school and had got some feedback and the best part that I liked about the school was that their booklets and brochures are small and simple in size and content and very straightforward.

"He is purely and simply the most important developer of effective management and of effective public policy in the 20th century," Drucker was considered a management visionary for his recognition that dedicated employees are key to the success of any corporation, and that marketing and innovation should come before worries about finances. This is one great lesson for the Indian economy and the Indian tech, product and IT services firms, which are expanding at an alarming rate.I follow and strictly believe in his ideas.

I believe when you have 2 I’s in tact all other things will fall in place. Have the best INTELLECT and give them time and support to INNOVATE and they will do it. Both these are people centric qualities and I don’t believe in big jargons. The world is not a place only for rocket scientists and people thinking at the rate of a processor, it’s a place for people having the latent talent in them in their own capacities. My definition of an INTELLECT is someone who is ready to explore, challenge and thinks to do something and infact does it.

His ability to explain his principles in plain language helped them resonate with ordinary managers. I don’t believe there is hardly any US based MNC or for that matter a flourishing firm in any part of the globe, which has not drawn a single nugget of information from his warehouse of ideas and visions. He championed concepts such as management by objective and decentralization, and his motivational techniques have been used by executives at some of the biggest companies in corporate America.

Drucker showed a knack for identifying sea changes in business and economics years in advance. He foresaw the emergence of a new type of worker whose occupation would be based on knowledge, not physical labor or management.Drucker was born in Vienna, and educated there and in England. He received a doctorate in international law while working as a newspaper reporter in Frankfurt, Germany. He remained in Germany until 1933, when one of his essays was banned by the Nazi regime. For a time, he worked as an economist for a bank in London, then moved to the United States in 1937.He taught politics and philosophy at Bennington College in Vermont and for more than 20 years was a professor of management at New York University's graduate business school. Beginning in 1971, he taught a course for midcareer executives at Claremont Graduate School in California, which named its business school after him.

Note: I have not read any of his books till date but read his articles on business magazines and few those that swim in the internet. A few data and inputs for this blog has been taken from Economic Times when I was running through it while having my morning tea and thought to pen this blog then. These days I feel lucky as I speak to my friends and relatives all across the world as if they are next door, all this courtesy (Yahoo Voice Chat) and this weekend spoke to kutti after a long long time. That fellow is sane and hearty even after the hurricane that hit Florida.Keep reading !!!

Friday, November 11, 2005

A walk in the neighbourhood park.

As I walk down the park nearby my house in Kormangala, 4th Block behind Rajeha Apartments, several thoughts reel through my mind. I play the silent observing onlooker.

A three year old is swinging carelessly on a swing that seems to charm children, men, women and the elderly alike. Accompanied by her dadda and daddi this sweet cute angel dressed in her white dress, looks like darling of her grand parents. Dadda revels in telling her stories, giving push to her swing and holding her tiny hands through the pathways. Even the daddi is enjoying the joyous moment.

Just behind them is a train of parents waiting for their kids turn on the swing. They are really contended out of bliss of watching their child giggle innocently than parental duty. And in the process of doing so they have turned into children themselves. I can’t help but wonder if happiness is so very simple, why is that people sought out for it and they say it’s all evasive.

As I was seeing all this, I entered a little bit further to the deep interiors, which is shaded by luxurious trees with concrete benches under its canopy. I saw a gang of college students, four in number on a total enjoyment trip. Fiercely protective of my privacy, I questioned one among them in a heavy tone as to why they were in a revelry mood. To my amazement, one polite fellow in the gang who seemed curious about my activity observing spoke to me. He apologised in no time and introduced himself as someone who is a second year engineering student. Innocently he confessed that they are out for birthday bash of one of their close friends and doing so "secretly" - their parents don’t approve of smoking or drinking and they wanted to enjoy it in their own style. How candid can a stranger be!. Next he talked to me about his ambition of making it big in the IT and tech profession. True to my nature I felt yes, these students do dream and so do I and we share something in common.A tremendously strong blow of wind gushes past my hair engulfing in its circumference half dead randomly scattered leaves of banyan.’ Radio City 91FM' is playing hummable tunes, I hear a diminished scattered version of "Mere sapno ki rani kab aayegi tu...”

"Abhi nahi jayenge ghar" yells scornfully a boy amongst the group of four I talked about earlier. I hear the underlying rebellion and resistance from rules and discipline our folks impose on us. Families here demonstrated abiding togetherness and hedonistic spirit. I rejoice silently in their simple pleasures. I tread towards the exit gate winding up myself from the shade of this moss laden banyan tree that guarded me majestically from sunshine. I never want to let my zest die.

Visit this site to know more about the locality

Keep reading!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Someone to talk to...

Meandering through wilderness...floating like a formless cirrus, I look for an iota of peace and love. I seem to be racing against myself, living on a zero gravity plane, breathing in vacuuming middle of my race to eternity, my struggle for survival, I miss having someone to talk to. Someone I could just have a conversation with on a cup of coffee in a cafe or just simply in the terrace of my house.

I am not a loner but sometimes the silence in my room is just odd, that’s when I can hear my own heart beat, and feel wetness around my eyes. You see, I live in a world of constant activity that puts its demands on you, which in turn constrains you at times. It’s a materialistic world, where I must conform. I am not a good people’s man I feel, neither an extrovert nor an introvert but those whom I know or like, I just speak my heart. I must be on good a term with almost everyone around, that’s life (this is what people say). I must perform and I love to give my best in what I do. And when at times life puts you at certain crossroads, I yearn to be in the presence of someone I can talk to and just immerse myself in the tranquility of no activity!!!

Somehow the more unreal my world has become, the more I yearn to get in touch with reality. I want to reconnect with emotion of togetherness and understanding. I want to go back to absolute innocence. I want to dream and make some change in life of those who deserve it. I want to have someone to whom I can talk anytime anything, it’s a 24/7 kind of service and to whom I can open out as mine with my share of pluses and minuses. Someone who's presence reassures me and who I would care for no matter what. Someone who I could cry ashamedly before and who could just be there. Someone to share cups of coffees and talk to me on phone/chat or give me company when I am glued to my laptop for hours.

I still miss the half-cut chai and newspaper reading in the nearby neighbourhood make shift stall.... two of my everyday essentials...and at times the immaculateness of crescent on a starry night. And maa too, just everything about her. Now that am on a timeless journey, I wait for days when I shall work out my dreams and am just making a humble attempt in that direction...All I need is someone to talk to....

Keep reading !!!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

This Friday I was passing by my manager’s desk and saw him doing something interesting for the first time instead of talking crap and doing mundane managerial job and what’s that its Googling map.

Yes, now Google is officially the eye in the sky, looking at you. While the entire world is excited about it, including our President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, wondering what ramifications this piece of software will have. After reinventing Web search and then coming up with a tool to search your own computer, it is now time to find places — and probably at a later date find people — on our planet that now suddenly seems very small. This not about keying in your search word on a web page and getting results in text; Google has gone a step further, you can now actually see places — right down to your local neighbourhood with all those cars and buses — thanks to images from satellites orbiting high above the earth.

Before you scoff at the big fuss that space images have been available for years — wait. All the world's big powers (including India, even though we don't publicly acknowledge it) have had their imaging satellites. Later, a company called Space Imaging used its Ikonos satellites to provide commercial space images. But in both these cases, you had to have either "access" or pay money to get a peek at the images, and Space Imaging was legally bound by the U.S. Government to not photograph and sell images of "sensitive locations" (they were not allowed to sell images of Iraq, for example). This I personally feel is the flip side about the mis-use of a powerful tool from the Google bank.

But now Google has broken all barriers by offering almost metre-resolution images of any patch of land on the surface of the earth either for free or for a marginal fee. Dams, nuclear power stations, military bases, houses, natural wonders... you name it and you are flying right over it. It is rather like that magic crystal ball right out of fairytales. As soon as you key in your search, the place pops up as a yellow light in the 3-D globe in the software, and once you click on the light you are there in a flash. So much for air travel.

Initially the tool was meant to find addresses around the world, like say for tourists to find a café in Paris or a gold souk in Dubai. Now you don't just find ‘X’ cross,’Y’ Main Street in Bangalore, if you look closely enough you'll home in on the famous Electronic City Road. This is precisely the factor that is worrying heads of states around the world. All their secrets are open to inspection by someone like good old OBL sitting with his laptop and satellite phone in a cosy cave and they can't do diddly about it. The software cannot be blocked because the way it is designed and the sheer number of people using it will overpower traditional Internet filters. So the hurculean task for the techies in the Google world is to stop the mis-use of this and make sure that the world makes the best use out of it.

And it is not just the curious and devious who are using this software. I know someone personally who is a structural engineer, and uses it academically to analyse buildings and town plans of cities abroad. "I really like the feature which allows one to see 3-D models of the buildings and the over-the-city view gives you a good idea of the plan. It would be nice if even Indian cities had the road names and building names. It is a great tool to study town planning and for anybody visiting a new place you can actually scout the areas carefully before you get there," he says. This will add a new dimension to study Civil Engineering or Architecture Engineering

But it is not that Google Earth comes without its catch. Time is not far when it would be possible for someone to remain anonymous anymore. "We are already using things like credit cards which leave an electronic trail. Then, of course, you have the Internet and most of us now leave our imprints online with our blogs and emails. So we can be tracked now if the need arises. But it is scary to think that with advances in technology you can actually spot people on the surface of the planet based on their personal data you have. I guess you can't disappear from or disown society anymore!" .

How do I use Google Earth when Bangalore and Mumbai are hit by heavy torrential rain hampering life in all forms starting from business to daily activities.
If your home was flooded during the recent rains in the city and don't know why, try Google Earth. The software brutally exposes the lack of town planning concepts in India. Take Bangalore for example. Everyone talks about lakes being encroached and proof of that is dwellings built almost in the middle of lake beds and in some cases even kutcha roads passing through lakes (and you can see vehicles on these roads). The software also shows topographical features in depressing detail especially valleys, wetlands and floodplains that have been built upon. That’s lovely.