Some inspiration from space; Bandwidth at great length; XP-erience for the clueless; Excel in modelling skills; This century belongs to India

Books2Byte – May 2004

**

Some inspiration from space

D. Murali

If you want to look up databases, here’s something interesting. And to think it all began with putting man on the moon.

Relational

DATABASES are too unglamorous to be seen as symbols of technology. But it was only three decades ago that the only people who knew about databases were computer scientists in research laboratories and they were struggling to make these creatures efficient and useful. Growth has been fast in database technology, but “industry standards have lagged behind,” notes Andy Oppel in Relational Databases: Principles and Fundamentals.

So, there are numerous products, “each following a particular software vendor’s vision”, but the book concentrates on “the relational and object-relational models because these are the mainstream of the IT industry and will likely remain so in the foreseeable future.”

Databases are no rocket science now but it all started when NASA wanted to put man on the moon. Andy writes how, as a part of the lunar mission, North American Aviation (NAA) built a hierarchical file system named Generalised Update Access Method (GUAM) in 1964. “IBM joined NAA to develop GUAM into the first commercially-available hierarchical model database, called Information Management System (IMS), released in 1966.”

The author devotes a chapter to explore relational database components. “One-to-one relationships are surprisingly rare among entities,” writes Andy. Remember, we’re talking about databases.

“One-to-one relationships that are mandatory in both directions represent a design flaw that should be corrected by combining the two entities.”

Then follows an example that number-crunchers can relate to: “After all, isn’t an account receivable merely more information about the customer?”

So? “We’re not going to collect data about an account receivable, but rather the information in the Account Receivable entity is data we collect about the customer.”

If that sounds philosophical, and you want to do something fast, there is RAD, short for rapid application development.

Done in about 60 to 90 days, this makes `compromises’ using the 80/20 rule. So, don’t expect RAD to work all the time.

At the end of each chapter, there are objective questions, and the author doesn’t say `bye’ till he administers a 100-question `final exam’ with questions such as: “A COMMIT in Oracle: ends a transaction; begins a new transaction; is automatic just before any DDL statement is run; is automatic just before any DML statement is run; or removes any locks held by the current transaction.” Worth committed reading.

Start Swing-ing

 Swing

AS kids we have played the swing. As grownups, you can still explore Swing by Matthew Robinson and Pavel Vorobiev. In his foreword, James Gosling of Sun Microsystems writes: “Swing is an extraordinarily sophisticated user interface toolkit that gives great power to developers. This power leads to the biggest problem with Swing: the wide variety of facilities can be intimidating.”

The preface states that emphasis is on “using Swing to solve a broad selection of realistic and creative problems.” The authors “assume an intermediate knowledge of Java, including the basics of putting together an AWT (abstract window toolkit) based GUI, how the event model works, and familiarity with anonymous and explicit inner classes.” If your head is swinging already, you should better start with Steven Gutz’s Up to Speed with Swing, suggest the authors.

Swing components are `lightweights’ while AWTs are heavier. “One difference between lightweight and heavyweight components is z-order: the notion of depth or layering.” So what does that mean to you as a developer? “You should never place heavyweight components inside lightweight containers that commonly support overlapping children.” Hope you understand.

Well, after tabbed, scrolling and split panes, and combo boxes, you have list boxes and spinners. “JSpinner is a new component added in Java 1.4. It consists of an input text area and two small buttons with up and down arrows on the right of the input field.”

There are more than half a dozen advanced topics such as layered panes, desktops and internal panes, trees, tables, and so on.

Discussion on printing, constructing an XML editor and drag & drop are among the special topics.

Prescription, therefore, is: Stop swinging, start Swing-ing.

Quick tasks in simple steps

 Photoshop

HOW to add audio annotations to image files? When to use grids for viewing? Can I shadow/highlight? Should I ask Pervez before creating a border selection?

These are only an indication of 275 `tasks’ that Micah Laaker and Christopher Schmitt guide readers through in Adobe Photoshop ver. (8) CS in 10 Simple Steps or Less, with easy-to-follow instructions.

No need to flip pages because the authors deliver inputs in `self-contained two page spreads’, and their approach is `no-fluff’, with a focus on helping you achieve results.

Margins are replete with notes, such as: “Having a history log saved with your image can inflate the file size. The more you manipulate an image, the more actions get recorded.” Or: “The File Browser is not a fully featured Digital Asset Management (DAM) solution for the serious professional who maintains thousands of photos and images.” Check if what you have can be DAM-ed.

One of the tasks is on creating a knockout effect.

The authors remind: “Every knockout requires three components.”

Not two boxers and a hapless referee, but the following: “A layer that appears to cut through another; a layer that is cut through; and a layer whose content shows through the cut.”

Keep in mind a caution that the authors bite into your ears: “If you don’t group the knockout layers together in a layer set, the knockout effect will punch all the way to the Background no matter what knockout setting you choose.”

Don’t curse darkness, if there is a blackout. “With a couple of clicks you can add spotlights to an image, or an omnidirectional light.” Enough inputs for you to deliver results yesterday.

Books courtesy: Dreamtech Press (www.wileydreamtech.com)

Monday, May 03, 2004

http://www.thehindubusinessline.in/ew/2004/05/03/stories/2004050300100200.htm

**

Bandwidth at great length

D. Murali

Okay, we know broadband as high-speed network access, but who or what is a broadbandit? “One who padded his coffers by $50 million or more riding the bandwidth bubble,” says Om Malik in his book.

 Bandits

EVEN before delving into the book, you might be struck by a confession among a list of praises on the back cover ofBroadbandits by Om Malik, published by Wiley (www.wiley.com) .

Ethernet Inventor, 3Com Founder, Polaris partner, Bob Metcalfe writes: “Spread of blame for the Internet bubble shows there’s plenty to go around. For my part, I am sorry and promise almost never to do it again.” Managing Editor of Wired magazine, Blaise Zerega says that Malik’s pen is as wicked as Mark Twain’s.

Okay, we know broadband as high-speed network access, but who or what is a broadbandit? “One who padded his coffers by $50 million or more riding the bandwidth bubble,” explains the blurb, before launching into the $750-billion telecom heist, which “all but destroyed an industry and decimated thousands of portfolios”.

The book begins with `the most wanted list’ that includes Gary Winnick, Bernie Ebbers, Jack Grubman and Joe Nacchio as bosses, and Scott Sullivan, Matt Bross and Richard McGinn as the underbosses. Telgi, though he shares at least the first three letters with the industry, is not the culprit under Malik’s scrutiny, so take courage and read on.

The prologue corrects a common misconception — that the biggest bubble in the history of the modern world was the dot-com bubble. No, the author would say, it was the telecom bubble, less visible but more damaging.

“In stark contrast to the dot-com bust and the implosion of Enron, which unravelled with alarming speed, the disaster in the telecommunications industry arrived stealthily. Thus an industry that at one point had “a value of $ 2 trillion” bit the dust.

“It was a case of the right thing at the right time with all the wrong people.” The author goes on to discuss three bubbles — infrastructure, services and equipment — in what went poof.

“The world is crisscrossed with fibre optic that is unlikely to be used for decades… and cables as thick as a full-grown python lie dormant across the oceans.” The future, however, may not be bleak, hopes Malik. We may, after all, find use for all the spare bandwidth, putting life in those snakes.

Running around a disk

 India

A scan of a disk label appears as a `holoproj’ in midair. It is in fact a `two-dimensional code’. “The dots making up the border and the lion made an ugly picture, but they served a hidden purpose as well — they filled a two-dimensional data matrix with information.” That’s a teaser from Steve Perry and Larry Segniff’s new Tom Clancy book, Changing of the Guard.

It tells the story of the head of a multinational corporation who is ready to see the world in ruins to protect his name. Where’s the threat for him? In a computer disk that has fallen into the hands of the Net Force. “Reality bites. Nothing is perfect,” is old wisdom.

Talk about Virtual Reality (VR) programming. To create the other reality, don’t make perfect beaches. “Nibble a bit at a VR viewer and thus make it seem more real.” Thus, when stumbling on waves with no teeth, Jay wonders whether he had “accidentally jacked into someone else’s data stream,” or “grabbed an old data file he’d used for research.”

Magnet can play tricks, as you would see Natadze doing to disable the magnetic alarm sensor: “He used a powerful rare-earth magnet he’d taken from the head of an electric toothbrush, sliding it between the top of the door and the inset switch mounted in the top of the jamb. The magnet would prevent the switch in the sensor from triggering when he opened the door… The PDA he carried was more than it seemed; it had a magnetometer and both an ultrasonic and an infrared sensor. Between the three, he could ID most alarm triggers.”

Does that trigger some curiosity?

India business

 Guard

Offshoring, outsourcing and the global services revolution. The common thread for all this is not far to seek. So, “What’s this India Business?” asks Paul Davies, a book from Nicholas Brealey Publishing (www.nbrealey-books.com) . “This is a practical guide to a dynamic country of a billion people with a complex culture and vibrant business environment, offering proven strategies for working positively with Indian businesses,” states the blurb. Preface does not project India as a land of maharajahs and palaces, but as an economic powerhouse. “The World Bank is predicting it will be the fourth largest economy in the world before the year 2050… Already 10 per cent of the very richest Californians are of Indian extraction, and probably living in Silicon Valley.” Here is the invitation: “Someone who goes through life without experiencing India misses a whole range of opportunities, paradoxes, and contradictions. Where else in the world would you see electronic voting machines being transported to far-flung locations on the back of an elephant or the most advanced communications fibre being laid into the ground with only the help of pick and shovel?”

On IT education, again, there are kudos: “More than two million people graduate from higher education in any one year, and more than 250,000 of these will be IT graduates. That sort of figure leaves most people astounded, but the more impressive attribute is the extremely high standard of these individuals. As a group, they have world renown.”

A quote from Arun Shourie sums up the future course: “A series of new disciplines is about to break out in India for which IT will be what arithmetic is to calculation. Biotechnology, nanotechnology, telemedicine, telesurgery, distance learning, products with embedded software, automated production processes, product design – and many more. Each of these will see a leap in the coming years in India, and in each of them IT will be a basic ingredient.” Good read for Indians too.

Monday, May 10, 2004

http://www.thehindubusinessline.in/ew/2004/05/10/stories/2004051000130200.htm

**

XP-erience for the clueless

D. Murali

You have no idea how to go about using your computer? Don’t despair, here’s gyaan at hand.

HOW to use your PC to access the Internet, do e-mail, play with pictures, print things, deal with zip files, download music from the Net, e-mail pictures, open mail attachments, burn CDs and DVDs, talk long-distance for free, make movies, and more, without going crazy in the process?

Bible1

That long sentence was what Alan Simpson had in mind as the alternative title to his book, Windows XP Bible: Desktop Edition. Who are the audience he has in mind? “This book is for people who are clueless about computers and want to stop being that way. It’s a book for people who have Windows XP on their computers, but aren’t sure why, or what they’re supposed to do with it.” Don’t keep `guessing’ whether you would need Alan’s wisdom or not; take a simple test: `Right-drag the selected items to the destination folder, drop, and then choose Copy Here or Move Here, depending on which you want to do, from the shortcut menu.’ Clueless? Then, Alan has inputs for you. For instance, know that the screen staring at you has “Notification Area” to the right of the taskbar. “It has some weird little icons that represent services currently running on your computer,” informs Alan. But why is it called so? Because when Windows or some other program has a suggestion for you, “a little message pops up from that area.” Controls can be disabled, but if you don’t like that word, you can say `dimmed’. If you see somebody `click away madly’ at such controls, you can pardon him or her as a rank novice. “A disabled control is not indicative of something that’s broken or needs fixing. It’s simply a control that’s not relevant at the moment.” Don’t try waking it up by clicking.

Another common worry is about collapsible menus because beginners often complain about mission options. That’s because these menus would show “only frequently used commands” A good habit is to close programs that you’re finished with, because “having too many open program windows is like having too many sheets of paper on your real desk.” An irritant that XP handles is `close group’ to close all instances of a program without having to click and close each, as happens when too many Web pages are to be closed.

Profit from Alan’s XP-erience.

Draw by the dozen

Draw

TO help you achieve “impressive graphics and animations for print and the Web,” Steve Bain and Nick Wilkinson have written `the official guide’ for “CorelDRAW 12”.

The book is for `all user levels’ because it is at once a reference manual and a learning guide; “complex concepts and software features have been explained in everyday language.” If you’ve been using the product already you may want to know what’s new in 12: One, the graphics suite is “fully optimised for Windows 2000 and XP”. Means? “It supports Microsoft’s theme-aware user interface and visual styles.”

There are `creature comforts’ such as facility to access recently opened files from the welcome screen, dialogs becoming expandable because they have “grown to monstrosities” and new fixed spot colour palettes. Again, there is a new tool for `smart drawing’; it enables you to sketch shapes freehand-style, but end up with any number of specialised shapes.

Here is some more taste of Corel: `Ruler origin’ is not about where a PM candidate was born, `bleed’ has no violence in it (but is the physical area surrounding your page), `snapping’ is not impulsive behaviour, `hand’ tool may sound too familiar but it enables panning, and you apply the `sprayer’ not to ward off insects. Beziers (pronounced bezz-ee-aye) is the theory that all shapes are composed of lines and nodes joined either by curved or straight lines.

A whole chapter helps you create `depth with shadows’, where you’d know how to lengthen the shadow before the sun fell; and working with 3D is the subject matter of a separate part of the book.

Include the book in your design.

Ready, one, two… Java

Java1

ANOTHER beginner book is “Starting out with Java” by Tony Gaddis. Assuming no prior knowledge, Tony answers the first question – not why Java, but why program. Chapter 2 introduces readers to the anatomy of a Java program, though “unlike human anatomy, the parts of a Java program are not always in the same place.” This is a case-sensitive language, so `public’ is not the same as `Public’. Do `primitive data types’ remind you of aborigines?

In languages, however, these are byte, short, int, long, float and double. “Java uses Unicode, which is a set of numbers that are used as codes for representing characters.” Variables keep changing, true to their name. But among key words is `final’, used in variable declaration – “to make the variable a named constant.” Such constants are initialised with a value and it cannot change during program execution.

There are review questions at the end of each chapter. A sampler: What is each repetition of a loop known as? Cycle, revolution, orbit or iteration. The `for’ loop is a posttest loop – true or false? A class that is defined inside of another class is called inner, folded, hidden or unknown class? A two-dimensional array has multiple length fields – T or F? The character that separates tokens in a string is known as separator, tokeniser, delimiter or terminator? The author has provided numerous code snatches, teasing readers to `find the errors’. Java has this, it has that, and almost everything, but `this’ is a key word for a reference variable “that an object can use to refer to itself.” Read this!

Books courtesy: Wiley Dreamtech (www.wileydreamtech.com)

Tailpiece

“What do you call a gluttonous bite of sandwich?”

“A kilo-bite?”

Monday, May 17, 2004

http://www.thehindubusinessline.in/ew/2004/05/17/stories/2004051700080200.htm

**

Excel in modelling skills

D. Murali

Financial modelling is an essential skill for finance professionals and students. Excel and its built-in programming language, Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), are the preferred tools for the job.

 Modelling

COMBINE knowledge of finance with a dash of mathematics, and add a heavy dose of Excel and VBA. What do you get? Modelling skill. That’s the promise of Chandan Sengupta inFinancial Modeling Using Excel and VBA, published by Wiley Finance (www.wiley.com) . “Financial modelling is an essential skill for finance professionals and students, and Excel and its built-in programming language, Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), are the preferred tools for the job.”

The book, with over 75 “real-world financial models”, presumes no prior knowledge of VBA. “The key is to learn VBA as a language the same way you learned your mother tongue – by imitating how to say things you want to say, without worrying about learning all the rules of grammar or trying to acquire a large vocabulary that you do not need,” cajoles Chandan.

“You will be surprised to find out how little you have to learn to be able to develop models with VBA that are often more useful, powerful, and flexible than Excel models.”

What is a financial model? Here is a simple answer that the author offers: “It is designed to represent in mathematical terms the relationships among the variables of a financial problem so that it can be used to answer `what if’ questions or make projections.”

He explains how till not long ago speed and memory limitations of PCs made modelling tough. “With advances in PCs and improvements in Excel itself, the table has now turned completely.” Most Excel features are designed to be intuitive, says the book. “If you understand what a feature is supposed to do, you may be able to figure out how it works just by trial and error.”

Okay, how does one build good Excel models?

Check if they have the following attributes: realistic, error-free, flexible, easy to use, easily understandable formulas, judicious formatting, appropriate number formatting, minimum hard coding, well-organised and easy to follow, good output production, proper documentation and data validations.

“One great advantage of Excel is that it makes documenting a model convenient. If your model is well-organised, tables have clear titles, footnotes, and column and row labels, important variables have descriptive names, formulas are easy to read and understand, and so on, then it may require very little additional documentation.” Enough inputs for finance people to find solutions for problems that their systems staff have been finding too tough to touch.

People

On the brink of a mind makeover

TWENTY-FIRST century technology is changing the way we think and feel. Take for instance `e-mail flirting’. It is “growing in popularity,” writes Susan Greenfield in her book Tomorrow’s People, published by Penguin (www.penguin.com) .

Reason: “It emphasises fun rather than a serious relationship, and fun is the order of the day.”

A primitive prototype for virtual flirting, that the book mentions, is `Mamjam’, using which one can send messages from bars and clubs to total strangers – “the service connected according to their proximity”.

The author, a neuroscientist, states that we are standing “on the brink of a mind makeover more cataclysmic than anything in our history”.

The coming age of IT, according to her, offers “a raft of possibilities from conscious automata to self-assembling autocrats to carbon-silicon hybrids.” Be warned: “Soon computers will be invisible and ubiquitous – if not actually inside our bodies and brains then sprinkled throughout our clothes, in our spectacles and watches, and converting the most unlikely inanimate objects into `smart’ interactive gadgets.” How is IT going to affect our mood?

A feel-good scenario is that we will be `readily expressed’; workforce would be multifaceted, with no cultural baggage. The worst-case scenario talks of loss of professional identity, fall in self-esteem, an increase in passive role and “even the loss of a sense of self altogether”.

With the globalisation of technology would come advantages too.

“Cost of literacy would drop dramatically – every village could have its own electronic library.” Don’t wait till then to read the book.

JDBC

ACID to LOB and four drivers

JAVA lets you access databases using Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) API, “a standard supported by all major database vendors, including Oracle.” To know how to write JDBC programs for the Oracle environment, Jason Price provides inputs in Oracle 9i JDBC Programming, published by Tata McGraw-Hill (www.mcgrawhill.com) . After introducing readers to JDBC, Oracle, SQL, the book advances to `result sets’, PL/SQL, database objects, collections, large objects and so on. Part III is on `deploying Java’, while part IV discusses `performance’.

On roads there are different types of drives; just so in Oracle JDBC also. There is a thin driver that has the smallest footprint, that is, it requires “the least amount of system resources to run”; OCI driver is suitable for “programs deployed on the middle tier such as a Web server”; server-side internal driver provides “direct access to the database”; and server-side thin driver “provides access to remote databases.”

Prior to Oracle8, one had to store large blocks of character data using LONG database type; and for big binary data, it was LONG RAW.

But now databases serving multimedia applications have to accommodate images, sounds, and video. Then Larry Ellison lobbed in LOB (large object) as a new class type. “JDBC supports three LOBs: CLOB, BLOB and BFILE”. For the uninitiated, the chapter on `advanced transaction control’ would confront with ACID – the four fundamental properties that a transaction has to have.

Not debit and credit, as essential transaction accounting aspects, but atomicity, consistency, isolation and durability.

ACID ensures that there are “extensive recovery facilities for restoring databases that may have crashed for one reason or another.”

A separate chapter handles `performance tuning’ – to reduce the amount of time taken for your program to complete.

To perfect your work, you may have to do `row prefetching’ – that is, specifying “the number of rows that are to be fetched into a result set during each round trip to the database.”

But first, go to fetch the book, unless somebody had prefetched it for you.

Tailpiece

Overheard outside the BSE:

“What’s EFT?”

“If you add `L’, I may explain better.”

Monday, May 24, 2004

http://www.thehindubusinessline.in/ew/2004/05/24/stories/2004052400140200.htm

**

This century belongs to India

D. Murali

We are the second largest consumer market in the world, we have more degree holders than the entire population of France, and over 40 per cent of the 500 largest corporate firms worldwide have their back office processing in India.

 Rush

STORIES of rags to riches, and Opposition to Treasury, are what dreams are made of. But news and books are equally devoted to how bang ends as whimper, and how what was once shining fusees out the next moment. Nina Munk’s Fools Rush In, from Harper Business (www.harpercollins.com) is about “a fusion of guts and glory” that simply spilled over. “A mega-marriage of earth and cyberspace” as the AOL Time Warner deal was described in the media, managed to decimate hundreds of billions of dollars of shareholder value. The book, as the blurb announces, “is the definitive account of one of the greatest fiascos.” For Nina, the debacle was different from other “unworkable mergers and acquisitions, questionable accounting practices, massive insider stock sales, giant layoffs” and so forth. She views the scandal as “the absorbing egotism of two men: Jerry Levin and Steve Case.” Part two of the book is about the “Internet Cowboys”. For Case, inspiration had come from Alvin Toffler’s The Third Wave. For him, “AOL wasn’t an impersonal second wave business, but a brotherhood of passionate, inspired men and women who were discovering their soul mates in cyberspace.” But Case was not a fast decision-maker. In times of crisis, such as when customers were deserting AOL to move on to cheaper ISPs, “Case kept himself cloistered in his office, communicating largely by e-mail and instant messages.” Somebody had to send him an angry mail: “This company needs a CEO! Stop acting like a brand manager. You’re not at P&G anymore.”

In the late 90’s AOL’s market cap was so high that Case’s problem was to decide what to buy. Ultimately, Time Warner was the target. On January 10, 2000, their historic merger was announced. “A company that isn’t old enough to buy beer,” noted The Wall Street Journal, “has essentially swallowed anancien regime media conglomerate that took most of a century to construct.” And this is what Levin of Warner had to say: “I accept the market capitalisations in the Internet space because I think something profound is taking place.” But that an abyss is also as deep as profound can go was something he wouldn’t have guessed then. You would be wiser to rush in… to pick up a copy Fools Rush In.

Brain = 1200 terabytes memory

God

EVER imagined building a computer powerful enough “to hold a complete neuromodel in its circuitry”? That’s what Project Trinity got to almost halfway. “The human brain is fairly slow in terms of speed, but it’s massively parallel.” Meaning? “It contains over a hundred trillion possible connections, all capable of simultaneous calculation, and that’s just for processing. It also holds the equivalent of twelve hundred terabytes of computer memory.” How much would that be? “Six million years of The Wall Street Journal.” That’s just a snatch from Greg Iles’s The Footprints of God, published by Coronet (www.madaboutbooks.com) . It’s the story of “the biggest artificial intelligence study the world has ever seen.” If you’re ready for more, here: “IBM is building a computer called Blue Gene that will rival the processing power of the brain, but it’ll still be unable to do things any five-year-old child can.” How big will Blue Gene be? It will fill a fifty-by-fifty foot room and need 300 tonnes of AC just to function. And Trinity? Just the size of a Volkswagen Beetle. In contrast, “human brain weighs three pounds and uses only ten watts of electricity.” The goal of Trinity was not to create AI by reverse-engineering the brain, but “by digitally copying it”. Then, there is something more dangerous to computers than Osama: EMP. “An EMP strike is very simple. A large nuclear device detonated at sufficient altitude creates an electromagnetic pulse — a massive burst of electromagnetic radiation — that can destroy or shut down every modern electrical circuit.” That’s because “computers are especially vulnerable to this energy pulse” and on the positive side, there would be “minimal loss of life.” Now, where are your feet taking you?

Temple with a door to IT

 Being

DON’T despair you’re not in London or Paris, New York or Tokyo. Pavan K.Varma is bullish that this century will be India’s and his book Being Indian, published by Penguin (www.penguinbooksindia.com) says it all, “drawing on sources as diverse as ancient Sanskrit treatises and Bollywood lyrics.” The blurb identifies its audience: “A must read for both foreigners who wish to understand Indians, and Indians who wish to understand themselves.” The introduction gives interesting statistics: We are the second largest consumer market in the world, with a buying middle class numbering over half a billion; we have more degree holders than the entire population of France; the Indian diaspora, after China’s, is the second largest in the world; and over 40 per cent of the 500 largest corporate firms worldwide have their back office processing in India. “In Cyprus, maids and servants come from Sri Lanka and the Philippines; software experts come from India,” writes Pavan. “Will most Indians be happy to remain software coolies?” For IT enthusiasts, there is a separate chapter on technology. “Narayana Murthy qualified for the IIT Kharagpur in 1962 but could not join because his father, a government servant earning Rs 500 a month, did not have Rs 150 a month for the hostel,” recounts Pavan. “There may be more PCs in New York than the whole of India, but over 500 portals are being launched in the country every month.” But that could be at the top of dotcom boom, one may think. Among the successes that the book narrates is one about Embalam village in Pondicherry: “The local temple runs an IT outlet for fishermen.” Pavan does not omit mentioning what you may not like to acknowledge: that “the real incentive is the salary of an IT professional which is much higher than the amount spent by him to acquire his skills”; “good students from good institutions are proficient but rarely inquisitive”; and that lack of confidence of most Indians that is rooted in “a deep inferiority complex”. Why does creativity take a quantum leap when the Ganga flows into the Californian desert? Any answers?

(Books courtesy: Landmark www.landmarkonthenet.com)

Tailpiece

“I joined a slimming course where they gave a multimedia CD with animated video of all tasty dishes of the world. And we were asked to watch it three times a day.”

“Before or after your meal?”

“Instead of.”

Monday, May 31, 2004

http://www.thehindubusinessline.in/ew/2004/05/31/stories/2004053100090200.htm

**

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