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New Year Resolutions for 2009!

New year resolutions are like once-a-year caffeine kicks with a high that lasts for a couple of weeks or if you get lucky, a month. This year I have decided to do them in a different way. If it works, I’ll have my idea patented and won’t have to work for the rest of my life. If not, NYR’s are a bummer anyways.

If you came to this post itching to uncover ammunition that you could ridicule me with for the rest of year(that’s what happens when you rant out your resolutions and give up on them by the end of January, trust me), then I am afraid to disappoint you. It’s taken me 30 years and I have learnt my lesson. No more making new year resolutions and ranting them out while they’re still half baked. Nope. No more.

Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t have any. I do. The only difference is I am going to reveal them as and when I’m done with them. So, if you are really interested in finding out, I’d recommend you set yourself a reminder alongwith a link to this post, for this day next year. I promise you there will stuff that I’ve accomplished or else I’ll do whatever you ask me to. I swear.

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Rocking! Flash version of Doom

Played Doom after a long long time today. Brought back some fun college memories. Somehow those simple single shooter games were a lot of fun. The ones today are fun too but take a whole lot of learning or maybe it’s just me growing old 🙂

Anyways, here’s the link to the flash version.

Doom – The Flash Version

It rocks because now I no longer have to waste time trying to find the installable whenever I have a craving for Doom nostalgia.

P.S.: You’ll need to install the latest version of the flash player. Version 10.

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The fundamental rule of economics rocks

Bloomberg reports, “Crude oil for January delivery dropped $3.84, or 9.6 percent, to $36.22 a barrel at 2:47 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement since June 29, 2004. Futures touched $35.98 during today’s session. Prices have tumbled 75 percent from a record $147.27 on July 11. The January contract expires tomorrow.”

Finally those countless hours spent during my school-going age trying to cram those boring economics theories have paid off. I don’t recollect having seen or heard of a more classic example of the simple albeit very powerful rule of economics.

When demand exceeds supply prices prices sky-rocket and vice versa and that’s exactly what happened since the 3rd quarter of 2005 up until the middle of this year. Gas prices doubled from $2 per gallon to $4. Reason: People were cashing in on the real-estate boom, taking out second mortgages and spending that dough on buying everything they had ever wished for. Direct and Indirect demand for gas was way beyond available supplies.

Then the lightning bolt hit. The financial industry collapsed and brought down everything with it. Markets recorded their highest drops in history and millions lost jobs.  Consumption tanked and here we are. 75% price-drop – 6 months – who would have thought? We are talking about liquid gold, people. No one saw this coming and there is nothing else that can explain the free-fall.

The rule works and I am a believer.

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After a long long time – MS comes up with something cool!

A couple of weeks back I was pleasantly surprised by MS’s generosity when it upped the 2GB skydrive to 25 gigs. 25 gigs!! That’s more than I’ll ever need when it comes to online storage(and I am sure its only going to grow).

Today I’d say I am simply amazed. It’s been a very very long time since I was awed by one of Microsoft’s product. I’d say every since I saw Windows, I am talking version 3.1 that probably only dinosaurs like me would have used. I’ll come to the point. I am talking about Microsoft Essentials Beta. It’s the offline companion of Windows Live a.k.a the re-branded(impressively) version of Microsoft’s web-apps.

For now it’s got IM, e-mail, photos, movies and blogging. The e-mail client is works like outlook for your live/hotmail id and the pictures/movies tool’s just like Google’s picasa and goes without saying that it lets you push your pics to your skydrive(25 GB’s remember). The one that I like the most is the blogging platform. It’s like a mini-MS-word that let’s me publish posts and pages to my WP blog. Super-cool!

This is my first post using Live Writer. Cheers.

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Wine in baby bottles

Wine in baby bottles?? Innovative or Unimaginative?? Funny or stupid?? I mean give me a break.

I could never ever in my wildest dreams bring myself to suck booze out of a baby bottle in public, let alone opening up shop where other people could do that. Even if I were suffering from a obsessive compulsive disorder or drinking out of a baby bottle at age 30 why would I wanna pay an exorbitant price (not-yet-open -hyped-NY-restraurant.. duh..) to do that? Who in their right mind would?

For sanity of the NY public at large, I really hope this new fondu place does intend to be an 18 and older place. Just thinkabout it, doesn’t the idea of sucking on a baby bottle in front of your impressionable children and scarring them for life sould like a very very idea to you? or worse, in front of your mom and dad on her 60th birthday celebration? Eeeeewww.. can’t get creepier than that.

I for one am sure not going to this place. How about you?

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Buy Books From Your Local Bookstore, Now

A beautifully written letter from the president of author’s guild.

December 11, 2008. I’ve been talking to booksellers lately who report that times are hard. And local booksellers aren’t known for vast reserves of capital, so a serious dip in sales can be devastating. Booksellers don’t lose enough money, however, to receive congressional attention. A government bailout isn’t in the cards.

We don’t want bookstores to die. Authors need them, and so do neighborhoods. So let’s mount a book-buying splurge. Get your friends together, go to your local bookstore and have a book-buying party. Buy the rest of your Christmas presents, but that’s just for starters. Clear out the mysteries, wrap up the histories, beam up the science fiction! Round up the westerns, go crazy for self-help, say yes to the university press books! Get a load of those coffee-table books, fatten up on slim volumes of verse, and take a chance on romance!

There will be birthdays in the next twelve months; books keep well; they’re easy to wrap: buy those books now. Buy replacements for any books looking raggedy on your shelves. Stockpile children’s books as gifts for friends who look like they may eventually give birth. Hold off on the flat-screen TV and the GPS (they’ll be cheaper after Christmas) and buy many, many books. Then tell the grateful booksellers, who by this time will be hanging onto your legs begging you to stay and live with their cat in the stockroom: “Got to move on, folks. Got some books to write now. You see…we’re the Authors Guild.”

Enjoy the holidays.

Roy Blount Jr.
President Authors Guild

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IIT's Recipe for success (I'd say disaster)

Dear IIT chieftains,

I read this article in the TOI and could not keep myself from writing this letter to you.

Maybe it won’t sound so strange 50 years from now, but today it sure does. Think about it, a Doctor of Medicine degree from the Indian Institute of Technology(IIT) !! To me it’s like saying I did my Master of Computer Applications(MCA) from the National Institute of Design(NID). For a moment lets assume that NID did have an MCA program and that I were proud to have pursued it, would the multinational tech giants really have cared for a techie from a design school? Perhaps they might have if all the other tech grads from all the engineering colleges in India had been taken. So, NID’s program would be setting itself up for failure right from the get go because it will only attract wanna be techies that can’t get in elsewhere.

Cmon people! Don’t you guys have anything better to do than to take a handful of India’ top tech colleges that are known worldwide and set them up for failure?? Why do we need to try and make the IIT’s like the MIT? Why aren’t we proud of the IIT’s the way they are? Besides the last time I checked MIT wasn’t churning out Ivy league doctors or was even thinking about it.

Haven’t you guys learnt from your MBA mistadventure? Even after years of having the MBA program you’re nowhere near the IIM’s and I’ll bet that even the fortune teller parrot on the street will predict that you’re not going to get there in the foreseable future.

Let’s be honest, if the IIM’s were to announce that they are venturing into engineering, won’t you guys roll on the floor laughing at their naivity? So, why do you guys want to risk losing everything espcially when you guys have more on your plates right now than you can possibly chew?

“On the other hand, IIT-Roorkee director S C Saxena said the 54% expansion to accommodate OBC students and mentoring new IITs meant that they already had more than what they could handle.”

I know you didn’t ask for my opinion but as a die hard aficianado of the IIT’s, I am obligated to say, please listen to your very own,

“Educationist and former director of IIT-Chennai P V Indiresan, who has spent a large part of his life in the IIT system, said the institutes had been synonymous with excellence and they must not start any programmes unless they got very good faculty for the same.”

let the IIM’s do their job, AIIMS their and you on yours. If you must do something, why not give MIT a run for it’s money to the no. 1 spot in the world?

Sincerely,

Die-hard IIT fan

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Black Friday Mania

Black Friday – the one and only day of the year when the prices for everything under the sun hits rock bottom. The day when only a fool would do anything other than go looking for a deal a.k.a bargain; for the items on his wishlist. Atleast that’s what the corporate power houses and their savvy marketers will have us believe.

Over the years, year after year, they have steadfastly ensured to go all out on their campaign to market Black Friday, via TV ads, flyers, web-sites and all the other gimmicks in the marketing handbook. It seems to have paid off since Black Friday has become this cult whose following is nothing short of that of the disco ferver in the late 70’s. Jammed packed parking lots by 6.00 AM in the morning are a testament to the mania.

People line up at stores the night before, willing to battle sub-zero temperatures for eight long hours, hoping to save a couple of hundred bucks, despite being well aware of the fact that the so-called “doorbuster” deals will only last long enough to be grabbed by the handful few who bust into the door – literally. The odds are almost as bad as those of winning a million dollar lottery.

This particular black Friday it was almost as if people had entered this time warp where they had fogotten the faltering economy, the depressive markets and the record high job losses. There were scores of people walking away with shopping bags that they could hardly hang on to.

Maybe its just me that’s missing the point. The point that since things are cheaper than they will ever be in the coming 364 days, its the best time to buy all that you thin you’ll need. In my defense, I have just one question that I’d like to ask; Does anyone know what the prices were on the day before thanksgiving? I am willing to bet that the odd-ball who did go shopping that day, would have noticed that 95% of the “black friday” deals were listed at the same price as they were the day before thanksgiving. The only things that were new on “black friday” were the “Only for today” cut-outs and flyers.

Alas! In the never ending game of wits between buyers and sellers, I’d say this one goes to the latter.

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Get high on anti-oxidants

Get high on antioxidants. Antioxidants help eliminate cell-damaging free radicals that play a role in Alzheimer’s diseases and other disorders. Here’s da list.

Top 20 foods with antioxidants
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Talk about politicial promises

Why do politicians make promises that they:

1. Have no intention of keeping

2. Know they can’t keep no matter how hard they try

I guess, it’s because people like you and me expect them to make such promises. So, why are we moronic  enough to want to hear something that we know to be a lie. I guess it’s because we like to hurl away our most precious constitutional gift to the illusionist who does the best job at faking sincerity because we are just plain old indolent enough to bother to investigate the men that we are handing over our futures to.

The Americans have paid a price for their indolence. Their economy is in a state that is being compared to worst known depression of all time. But is Obama what he really promises to be? Only time will tell. I pray that he is, for his own sake, for the sake of the country that elected him and for the rest of world that has hailed his accession to the most powerful position in the world.

Below is a snippet of the article that got me thinking.

clipped from www.portfolio.com
Hard to believe that at this point in the 2000 presidential election campaign, the debate was whether the candidates could pay off the national debt faster. Vice President Al Gore promised to do it by 2012; Governor George W. Bush of Texas pledged 2016.

Bush was elected, of course — or at least he was selected by the Supreme Court. On January 22, 2001, the first business day of his administration, the national debt stood at $5,728,195,796,181.57, according to the Treasury Department’s to-the-penny tally.

On October 29, 2008, the most recent day for which information is available, it had ballooned to $10,525,823,144,117.64. Rather than pay down the debt, Bush has overseen it grow 83.8 percent.

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