Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Microsoft Quietly Making Untold Millions

While reading an article on how Microsoft is making millions by redirecting users that mistype domain names, I found these paragraphs particularly interesting:
To put this in another way, if a domainer profits from a specific domain that potentially resembles a trademark, he is accused of bad faith, relieved of his domain, and quite possibly slapped with a lawsuit. But if Microsoft does this with not just one, but all non-existent domains (a virtually infinite number), it's not bad faith because they aren't specifically targeting a single trademark owner.

Obviously, this wouldn't be Microsoft if they wouldn't also go out and hunt down and sue 'cybersquatters' - all the while keeping a straight face.

The Daily Domainer believes that Microsoft will prevail in its quest for typo profits while traditional squatters, who actually have to register typo domains and put their neck on the line in order to profit from them, will increasingly run into problems.

Microsoft is not the only company that has recognized the incredible profits that can be made with this strategy.

Last September, Earthlink started its own program to intercept requests for non-existent domains and redirects them to a customized page filled with ads and alternative search suggestions. Charter got into the game just a few days ago. And Mozilla is leaving millions of dollars on the table by not doing something similar with Firefox."
Time for to stand up and take notice?

Saturday, February 24, 2007

My Favourite Laptop

I don't work for CNET, I am not a hardware reviewer and I am not someone who works for a Hardware company. What am I then? I am a Software Engineer who works for Microsoft and loves computers. Why should you pay heed to my opinion on a good laptop? I'll quote my colleague John, who said in response to my farewell email, "By the way, we both know it would border on abuse to use your impressive hardware-stockpiling skills on a hardware team". To summarize, I am a Hardware Ho; I am friends with people who buy this stuff so laptops just come my way for testing, usability, etc, etc. Here is a list of the top 5 laptops I have had, ranked in order of most favourite to least favourite:

1. Lenovo Thinkpad T60p - My current laptop and the first to be at par with a desktop. Lenovo has a winner in this machine - sturdy, rugged and extremely stable.
2. IBM Thinkpad T21 - My first personally bought computer, maybe the last.
3. Apple Powerbook G4 - 256MB of RAM never felt so powerful.
4. Acer Ferrari 4000 - The first AMD64 laptop released by a real laptop company and with 2GB of RAM, it is a really fantastic laptop. The keyboard has to be the most responsive I have used.
5. Apple Mac Book Pro - Better than the others I have used but not pimp enough to be #1. A Wonky battery driver and a trackpad too large for my liking. :(
Honorable Mention:
6. Toshiba Tecra M4 - The Tablet idea is bogus but the laptop was performant so it makes the list.

I have used 10 laptops in this life and the way I am going, I will use maybe 25 more before I die. That is unless I no longer have my sway with people (girls in particular) ;) You trust my hardware opinions now?

Meetings make us dumber, study shows - LiveScience -

"Meetings make us dumber, study shows Brainstorming sessions backfire when group thinking clouds decisions"
'Nuff Said... Stop going to those pointless meetings and instead, do some work BZ.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Windows Live Confusion - One Year On

This write up on the Windows Live branding challenge sheds some light on possible reasons for the Live brand not catching on with users. The inherent confusion between MSN and Windows Live has divided the user community to some extent. As Yahoo's CEO said late last year, it is spread too thin and its brand is losing lustre. Can it then be argued that the unified strategy of Google is the best way to go? I guess Business Development and Strategy is a really interesting area of research...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

This trip is behind me

When you meet your inner child, don't cry
Tell it everything is going to be alright...

I met my inner child this time around in Bombay and rather than eschewing its existence, I embraced it with open arms. I am back at Heathrow International, whiling the hours away till I have to board the plane home. Home is in a different city this time around, cities so different from one another that you would consider it unthinkable to confuse the two. On one side of the planet, ther is family and on the other, there is work and freedom. Will there ever be a convergence?

This last trip to India was extremely hectic and sadly, stressful. That the human element made and broke this trip isn't a complete surprise; my continued run of bad luck compounded by poor decision-making certainly is. I now fathom what the captain of a fielding side must go through when every decision he makes on the field seems to work against him. Not one to believe in kismet and fate, I couldn't help but cower to the "logic" that there was an outside hand in my run of misfortune. This might explain why I was at the airport three hours in advance of the scheduled departure of my return flight - I wasn't leaving anything to chance!

After all the shenanigans of the 9th, the trip's nadir had been located. Missing Gaurav's wedding day and spending it instead within the confines of New Delhi airport was a real downer. The only thing left for me to do was to maximise the rest of my sojourn in Bombay and in my own way, that's exactly what I did. I chose who I wanted to spend time with and didn't waver from my list - dined with the newly weds, met Vishy, hung with the extended family, lounged with Gundapps and spent as much time as I could with Nikhil. In other words, I avoided every potential source of negative energy like the plague and with good reason - the cup of negative energy brimmeth over, it didn't need another source pouring into it!

Friday, February 16, 2007

What has gone wrong with 24?

These lines summarize it all:

A little less conversation, a little more action please
All this aggravation ain't satisfactioning me
A little more bite and a little less bark

24 Writers, please get on with it and kick Heroes in the nuts. How can you take this ratings beating sitting down?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Visa Deal - A Post Mortem

The more I think about this, the more I realize that all that preoccupation/stress/tension (whatever you call it) and negative energy that I exposed myself to vis a vis the Visa Stamping was all for nothing. The situation definitely wasn't insurmountable and it would have behooved me to be calm to determine a course of action that ensured I got back to the US in time. I had the right ideas - neither was delaying my flight impossible nor was the expense to go to Delhi prohibitive. Why then was I so preoccupied with the thought of getting this under control, so much so that I flipped out a couple times? There is a lesson in all of this for me and that is to be calm no matter what the circumstance. It is only when I am calm that I come up with the best ideas to fix my problems. Besides, if all it takes is money to relieve stress, I am down to spend it...

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Super Bowl XLI from Mumbai

It's Half Time, it's raining cats and dogs in Miami, Prince is singing one of my favourite songs, the chics are hot and the Colts lead the Bears 16-14. I been been awake save for a couple of hours just so I can watch the game. This might be the Super Bowl of turnovers though - 6 already. Well, I hope this 1/2 Time Show gets over quickly so I can watch a little more of the game before I completely pass out. Nice fireworks at the end of the singing - TIGHT!

After the Cowboys Offense didn't show up for the rest of the game, the outcome was inevitable. The Colts have won Super Bowl XLI by a score of 29-17. Congratulations Tony Dungy, Peyton Manning and the Indy Colts. It is 8:30 in the AM on this bright Monday morning and as the confetti falls to the turf in Dolphins Stadium, I am ready to hit the sack to enjoy a "morning" of relaxed sleep. The snoozes have gotta wait for the trophy presentation, which I will do while sipping a cup of flavourful Indian tea. I'd jump around if I had the energy but I'll do that when I wake up. Peace out!

The pitfalls of hubris, condescension and aggression

My dad and I had a very long chat about communication styles and made some interesting observations about each other's styles. I'll share the ones he made about me. The first one was obvious - I don't talk about things I know little about. If I don't know something, I admit my ignorance and excuse myself from the discussion. The second one was a little more subtle - if I know I am right, I ensure that the other person knows that too, which can sometimes lead to animosity and a protracted debate.

Wikipedia is my ally; when I have time to spare and a computer at hand, I read! The curious spark is ignited by something usually on TV, either House or Frontline; most of the knowledge being acquired with no intent on retention or regurgitation. Now that I think about it, what I read isn't quite that random because I only watch programs on topics that remotely interest me. No surprise then that I am beginning to form opinions on these topics ranging from politics to medicine to the human condition, opinions that I openly express during discussions and arguments.

Routine stuff isn't it - you read, form an opinion, express it; why am I writing about this? Well, the devil doesn't only lie in the details, he also lies in the way the details are conveyed. If I have acquired anything at Microsoft, it is Courage of Conviction. When I know I am right, I tend to state my point aggressively and with authority, something that can alienate my audience. I don't know what the intent of the aggressive posture is, but I do know that it can lead to a disgust for my opinion which is certainly unintended. Ironically, once I know a lot about something, my arguments are extremely logical and backed by facts; I could potentially convince others of my point of view without any need for aggression. So what remains then is a need to alter the way I deliver my message, something that I know is definitely within my grasp.

You live, you listen, you learn...