Monday, June 29, 2009 

I knew at once there was no place i'd rather be

I am on Twitter now (@khopadi). Its nice.

Sunday, June 21, 2009 

Carnegie Mellon Parking Service running a Scam?

Michelle Porter and her subordinates at the Carnegie Mellon parking services (which oversees both visitor parking as well as student/staff parking) might be running a scam.

Couple of months back (haven't had the time to blog about it till now), during the CMU Spring Carnival week, one of the parking services personnel mis-directed me to park in a handicapped spot since the parking lot i was allotted parking in was full. After being mis-directed by parking services, another one of their personnel wrote a ticket to me for parking in that spot.

Michelle, who is supposed to oversee this operation, wouldn't accept it as a case of mis-communication among her staff. Makes me wonder if it was a scam all along. After the episode, its very easy for the two different employees (the one who mis-directed me and the one who wrote the ticket) to easily claim that they were just doing their job. Hence they were not at fault.

For all practical purposes, the parking services scammed me into paying for the heavy work that Spring Carnival week generates for them.

In anycase, parking services runs in kind of autonomous mode in CMU. So its hard to bring them under scrutiny. All i can do at this time is caution other students and visitors to CMU to be very careful and explicitly clarify any direction given to avoid falling into this trap. Good luck.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009 

But that was when i ruled the world

Indie 103.1 FM was the best radio station i have ever listened to in the United States. Its morning commute programming was just the best there can be.

Since i moved back to Pittsburgh, i have been catching up on my dose of Indie 103.1 online and actually on the east coast it works out much better timing wise because now i get to listen to the 9pm music at Noon which is typically when i get to listen to music in my office.

I came to know today that Indie 103.1 FM is stopping its "terrestial" broadcasting in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas quoting "corporate" reasons! The announcement that went along with this stop says they are will "take an alternative course" moving to the Internet, "a place where rules do not apply and where new music thrives".

It seems, for now, their content is automated online too as its going through pretty much the same songs. But hopefully, they would be back soon enough.

BTW: If you go through their history (as per Wikipedia), these kinds of transitions are not new. The attempt to move to the internet from an earlier version of this station called Channel103.1 doesnt seem to be any good (didnt work for me!).

Lets see how far this alternative course takes Indie103.1 FM. I most sincerely hope that their format of radio gets to survives in the US.

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I'll stay forever

I have a problem with General Mills. The guys who make all the breakfast cereal in the world (pretty much!)

Their
Cocoa Puffs Milk & Cereal Bars are the best. But the only way they seem to be available is by purchasing a combination box of Milk & Cereals bars which have 2 bars each of Cocoa Puffs, Honey Nut Cherios and Cinnamon Toast Crunch like here. Honey Nut Cherios are not so bad, but the Cinnamon things are not so good at all.

So, now i have to buy a box of 6 bars really to enjoy the 2 bars of Cocoa Puffs in them. Isnt that very much like some Software company bundling a (supposedly) undesirable software with another software that people do want (like i want those Cocoa Puff Milk & Cereal bars). Is this analogy grounds for a suit?

Why cant General Mills just sell a pack 6 Cocoa Puffs Cereal Bars??

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Friday, September 26, 2008 

Why i like this project?

Hippo Water Roller
A solution for collection and transportation of water
http://www.hipporoller.org/why.php

What i really like about this solution is the realism that they have used to come up with this solution.

Instead of building billion dollar plans for laying pipelines and pumps, this approach is fundamentally what we (at the company i am interning at this fall) call as the incremental approach to problem solving.

In situations where an existing solution is being used by a ton of people and we realize that the solution is not the best, the incremental approach suggests making the largest possible change without having to ask the users to mend their ways except for just the one aspect which involves the switching from existing solution to the new solution.

In the specific case of the hippo water roller, the users can still go about their lives as usual except making the one aspect of life that this project deals with i.e. collecting and transporting water in a easier/safer way. Benefits by the use of new solution are good, but the new solution doesnt require the people to come up solutions to other new problems (except may be having to think about what to do with the saved time and energy).

The incremental approach to technology based solutions for real world problems solves problems without creating new ones. And thats why i like this project.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008 

Psychotic synchypnotic

I love this song!



I try to fit its many similarities to earlier records, but then i think- Who cares, Just enjoy.

The YouTube video is here.

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Sunday, May 18, 2008 

Singing up some Vegetarian dishes

Looks like this is becoming a series in the great work my friends from the Ryze Network in Hyderabad are doing.

Raaga has compiled a blog (http://chefatwork.blogspot.com/) with around 250 posts about her experiments with vegetarian dishes. As Aru calls them, these are traditional and fusion foods. By the looks of them, they look great, unlike the unbalanced concoctions i have posted about in the past.

I hope i get to sample some of them when i visit India next time now that they have moved closer to my hometown. Anyone looking for excellent recipes of Indian vegetarian food should get in touch with Raaga through her blog
(http://chefatwork.blogspot.com/).

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Thursday, February 21, 2008 

Traffic in Hyderabad - A Citizen Initiative

My friend from Ryzerabad Sameer Mehta and his colleagues have been lately doing some commendable work at creating awareness about traffic rules and regulations in Hyderabad. It is a citizen effort to improve the traffic situation in Hyderabad which has dramatically deteriorated over the last 3-4 years.

Sameer has taken a grass root approach to solving the problem and has taken to the roads on occasions. At the same time they have been communicating with the city authorities for support as well as exchange of ideas. I believe its the right approach for an initiative from the citizens.

Sameer runs a blog which carries updates about their work and news-bits about developments on the issue of Traffic in Hyderabad. Please visit the blog and if you are in Hyderabad, contact Sameer and participate in their efforts in a coordinated manner.

Coupled with support from mass communication media, this approach is quite likely to find success. If you are in the media in Hyderabad, India or elsewhere, please contact Sameer to commend and promote his initiative.

I must mention that this is a good example of a sensible citizen initiative that is not motivated by Rang-De-Basanti! Its not a spur of the moment erratic act and it is an effort which is sustainable.

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Saturday, August 25, 2007 

Thoughts on Orkut

On the orkut blog i find two videos which are representative of the two most prominent countries on Orkut (Brazil and India). Here are the videos.


India (MTVIndian Youth Icon 2007 - Orkut)





Brazil (Independent Video)





See Something ? Say something ! The Brazil video is so much more sophisticated and cool. The India video is just wild and embarassing. Sort of Rang De Basanti which seems to be the defining aspect of everything the Indian Youth seems to be involved with. Is that the right way to discharge the energies of our UrbanYuva?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007 

... "Chh chh chh" ...

In the summer time,
Isn't it all women on our minds.






So, i have been enjoying the summer.
Plain simple enjoying as i have been for 25 yrs of my life.