First rule of first principle thinking, do not use first principle thinking when a mental model is available

Quantifying Risk

Quantitative Risk analysis. Should be good, if you are into this kind of stuff. I have to  got to read “Fooled By Randomness” first to understand this :), though I must say that  the excerpts of the book were brilliant.



unintended consequence

 A brilliant post on the law of unintended consequences at a blog titled Mahalanobis(does it ring any bell 🙂 ), its title would sure make you  read it 😉

Sexy Maids and Unintended Consequences

interesting conference

        I am surprised that such a kind of conference is happening but it is a step in the right direction.  Geeks & economists colloborating to think about techno-socio-econmic issues surrounding the network economies.

WINE 2005: The 1st Workshop on Internet and Network Economics





Programming vs coding

Of late I have been observing a lot of my friends (many who were collegemates) that I know are taking a view of coding to be unsavoury. I find this trend a little disturbing. Maybe we need to distinguish between coding & programming. I could say coding = programming minus all the fun aspects of programming. I was prompted to come at this definition by looking at the way coding ( aka ctrl+C, ctrl=V ) is done in most of the services companies, I guess I maybe wrong and would like to be proven that way.

[ It is really wierd most of the time I keep saying that geeks live in their silos and they need to open up for a better world for everyone but here I am saying that people are not geeky enough ]

I am not an ace programmer as some of my hardcore geeky friends but I find a lot of challenge and satisfaction in programming & I love to do it. Though I talk a lot at the abstract, architectural & strategic level(atleast here in my blog) but building a system( be it hardware or software) end to end excites me a lot and I guess that is what programming is about.

Roundup on startupschool

   Startupschool was an event organized by Paul Graham last month. It was a phemomenal success & folks there got to meet Woz. I wish I could have been there but the physical distance made it impossible for me to be at the event 😦   But thanks to technology(blogs) I could get the experience of what went on there. These are some of the links that helped me, hope they are of utility to others as well.

     Vlogs would have made things still more interesting, maybe next year that should be possible 🙂

Brewing the future well

         I was going through some of the slides at Qualcomm BREW conference held back in June in San Diego . ( I wish that the Indian BREW conference proceedings/videos are also published  likewise).  I have heard about BREW quite long ago but having looked at it in a little more detail now I witnessed first hand at the kind of platform coordination play that qualcomm is excelling at.

    I was & am a big fan of Qualcomm since from my college days for the phenomenal technical work done by them. My first expose/knowledge to/about qualcomm was when I studied the wonderful viterbi algorithm(used in HMM) then later studying about spread spectrum (I was thrilled by this greatly at one point of time), CDMA etc. So technically very very cool stuff has been doled out always from but what is great to see is that how they are playing their strategic cards really very well.  They are by far the best examples of a platform coordinator.  With BREW they provide a complete range of solution  for mobile applications. (Devloping, Marketing & Monetizing it). Their provisions is trully end to end when compared to Nokia (another excellent platform coordinator but I guess a little dwarfed compared to Qualcomm)  which coordinates at the handset and its system software level.

     When you look at this coordination effort display that qualcomm is displayed then it makes you wonder as to what are the factors that drive a player in a value chain help take a dominant position. In Japan where NTT Docomo (the telco) tells the handset manufacturers, content providers what to do in the network and thus  it is the one which solves the coordination problem there but in case of Qualcomm which is anything but a telco (at best it could be called a Handset manufacturer) does the coordination. [ Is’nt it the job of  telco solve the coordination problem  in the network market]

    Talking about the strategic play it is important to mention that qualcomm  has secured its future very well by buying out Flarion’s FLASH  OFDM.  Any wireless geek would drool over how cool is FLASH OFDM ( Fairly Low latency Access  Seamless Hopping, Orthogonal Frequency Divisional Multiplexing).  OFDM(especially Flash OFDM) is a pretty disruptive play in the mobile wirless space. There is so much that one could write about OFDM and I I will post about it sometime later. 

    No wonder why Om thinks that Qualcomm is the next monopoly.


 A streak of a thought comes to my mind sometimes – I should have taken up the job(any) offer from Qualcomm last year which I got when they had just opened their hyderabad office 🙂  Well eventually the things did not work out due to  non coordination 🙂 around profile of the work. I expressed interest in stuff related to DSP & communication while they insisted that I take a profile on developing compilers for their SDKs. 

Btw Here’s a little trivia , qualcomm is one of the few rare technology companies which has the lowest attrition rate which is far below the average.

Keep and scroll what I not need

     There is one big problem that we face in IM, as we make more online friends and acquaintances our IM list goes on increasing. It is quite a task to keep scrolling the IM window to reach a particular buddy when one knows that many in the list that one keeps scrolling over will  not be accessed.

         I have seen some IM buddy lists which runs into a couple of hundred buddies in the buddy list. Well most of the IM clients allow to create groups & let manage them and also they have the features to remove buddies but that’s not enough. Mostly people don’t remove the buddies from the buddy list thinking it might offend the buddy  and end up having a huge buddy list.

     This problem arises  from the fact that IM has a dumb notion of relationships, it is a binary one. You are either a friend or you are not.    For instance someone might have added a colleague’s id in IM while working on a project but long after the project is over s/he would still not remove the id for the fear of offending him. Such nature of relationship is not very weill captured in the first gen social software i.e the IM.

     Till new paradigms/thoughts of modelling relationship is being sorted out, we could
get a work around by doing a UI remodelling.  Create two partition of the buddies visible and ‘old contacts’ .Set as a threshold a certain number of days if you a buddy is not corresponded with for the threshold number of days then move him into old contacts partition and do not make him visible in the buddy list. If a buddy in a old contacts list corresponds then move him back to the visible buddy list.  Provide other menu to let the user access the old contact list if he wishes to reach him.  

      This could be probably taken up as a project under the gaim category in the next summer of code by google.

Rajesh Jain

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