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

ITP for India

       I have always been amazed & intrigued by folks at ITP NYU & their work. The core techie in me would have given out a shrug at the triviality of applications/technologies developed/used here and not give ‘em a second look. But then it is the social, cultural asthetic aspect & meaning which underlie their work that is the most coolest thing about the stuff they build. I am pretty sure most of the computer geeks will never get it. Countless number of cool application that have come out of ITP include Dodgeball, Grafedia, Socialight,Cellphedia, CellMailGraph,  Sub Alerts etc etc.  Popular folks like Douglas Rushkoff & Clay Shirky are among the faculty at the school & gaining entry to the school is pretty difficult.

       I used to think that such schools can only exist in the US and India has a long way to go before such schools could arise but of late I have been stumbling across the Shristi School of Art & Design, Bangalore and their work in a related context.  Just found that they teach a course called Programming for Poets (pretty cool name) where they use processing to teach programming to students who are primarily from arts & design background. My introduction to processing was through mobile processing which I found to be pretty nifty tool for programming J2ME apps.   

     There is a good chance that this school might be the ITP counterpart from India. Shall watch out for things that they churn out. If only I knew anyone from there who blogs.


Varun (met online via  groups) runs a blog called Fonearena which he is been running for more than a year now covering the mobile related news in India. It is good to see another blog covering the mobile space from an Indian context.  Maybe with a good enough number of collection of blogs maybe we could start a carnival of mobilists for India.

Missing a point or two about models/law

There is too much chatter once again about laws governing networks after the recent IEEE article critiquing Metcalfe’s law with even Metcalfe himself pitching in to defend his position/law. In all this chatter I find all these smart folks missing out two basic ( really basic) points.

  1. All these laws posit a boundary value calculation (maximum) and not the actual value for a specific instance of a network. Any CS grad would be easily point out that the above arguments are Big Oh evaluation (worst case) and not Theta evaluation (average case).
    • Telephone kind of networks (with direct externalities) can attain a maximum of n^2 (= n*(n-1)/2 )  and no more. (Metcalfe’s)
    • A network with nodes who are ‘humans’ and have value realized in the overall if sub-grouped can attain a maximum of 2^n ( = Summation[ nC1 + nC2 …. nCn] ) and no more. ( Reed’s)
  2. The other far more important & subtle point being that “ALL models are wrong but some models are useful

virtual games ecosystem

IMO the Indian entry into the space of virtual worlds would happen through something like this because historically companies in India have been formed that way. Services is a competence which we have built very well and this approach is much less risky.

Rajesh Jain

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