Saturday, January 31, 2009

Friday Workout

Cardio:  Elliptical

Time = 87 minutes (1 hr 27 minutes)

Calories burnt = 1,059

Distance covered = 9.01 miles

Weights: Shoulders

4 exercises of 4 sets each, for a total of 16 sets

Friday, January 30, 2009

Blue Screen Of Death - Microsoft Layoffs

(Originally posted Jan 23, 2009)

Microsoft profit dropped 11% - thats quite huge.  And finally, the long-rumored layoffs are coming.  5,000 people in the next few months.  (1,400 have already been asked to leave) 

It isn't a huge number for a company of Microsoft's size (about 5%), but it is a little unprecedented.  This is the software behemoth's first-ever layoff (at least as far as I know.  I'm not counting layoffs from acquired companies, of course.

Microsoft has a process where under-performers are constantly weeded out, a la Intel.  This will probably continue, and might even get increased - so who knows the true employee turnover to come?

And another (not unexpected) wrinkle - Microsoft is still hiring.  I have a (really smart!) friend who has just joined their Search team.  This makes sense, of course, but doesn't make it easier for those laid off to swallow.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sony - Layoffs For The Official Number One

Sony is shutting down one of its two Japanese TV factories, and laying off 2,000 people (about 3%) of its workforce this year.  That's quite painful, but not unexpected in today's climate.

The funny comment though comes from Kaz Hirai, Sony's head of Computer Entertainment.  His contention is that Sony's PS3 is the "official leader.." in the gaming industry. 

Let's see.  There are three main players in the gaming industry - PS3, Microsoft's XBOX 360, and Nintendo's Wii. 

Good ol' Kaz says the Wii is operating in a different world, and hence doesn't count.  I'm a serious gamer, and I don't look at the Wii as a machine I would buy (although it has a few games, like Super Mario Galaxy, that are very good).  But this is a bit silly. 

Even if we gave Kaz a bit of a point here, the Xbox 360 is still outselling the PS3 2:1.  That's not small change.  His argument here?  That Microsoft still hasn't shown it can stay around for 5 years.

Of course, Microsoft recently announced the 360 is not going to be replaced any time soon - that it's life-cycle is going to be well above 5 years.  And having owned both the Xbox, as well as the Xbox 360, I can say that their customer service is quite good.  I've had both my Xbox, as well as my 360 replaced free of charge for different reasons.  The service was quick and efficient. 

So, my dear Hirai-san, please check your facts.  You aren't the official leader if you're lagging behind your only two competitors in sales as well as installed base.

The World Hasn't Ended... Yet

(Originally posted Jan 18, 2009)

Yes, the world hasn't ended.  The economy is still not completely in the toilet.   But some early signs are coming...

- Google had a layoff - the big G has laid off 100 HR folks.  Makes sense, since they aren't hiring.  they've also shut down their recently opened Austin office.

- Steve Jobs is sick, and has taken 6 months off.  Apple stock got clobbered as a result.  And suddenly the prospect of a religion without its chief prophet has become all too real


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Top Gear Video Of The Week - Ariel Atom

This week's Top Gear video - the Ariel Atom, manufactured by a small <10 person company in Somerset.  This car is amazing.  Or is it even a car?

It has a supercharged Honda civic type R engine, with 300 hp , but due to the Atom's low weight (500 kg), it effectively generates 600 bhp/tonne. 600 bhp/tonne.  Let me say that another way - more than a ferrari enzo.

The Atom was quicker than the Porsche Carrera GT around the Top Gear track!


Take a look at the way it beat up on Jeremy Clarkson's face

ariel atom

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Monday Workout

Cardio: Elliptical

Time = 120 min  (2 hours)

Distance = 10.85 miles

Calories burnt = 1,250


Biceps - 3 exercises of 4 sets each, for a total of 12 sets

Triceps - 3 exercises of 4 sets each, for a total of 12 sets

Monday, January 26, 2009

Mussoorie Hotel, Carlton's Plaisance

Some more photos of the Carlton's Plaisance hotel in Mussoorie in India.  (Previous photographs are here).

These photos are in winter.  Mussoorie is absolutely beautiful then!

mussoorie hotel carlton

This is the front lawn, which has swings, and a canopied area to sit under (when the weather is good, of course)

carlton hotel mussoorie photos

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Not Even One Laptop Per Child

(Originally posted Jan 9, 2003)

OLPC, or One Laptop Per Child, has laid off half its workforce (~32 people).  The remaining employees will also probably get pay cuts.


one laptop per child

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Saturday Light Workout

Quite light today - just cardio on the elliptical, for 1 hr 15 minutes, 800 calories.

Bushism Of The Week

"Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB/GYN's aren't able to practice their love with women all across the country."
Poplar Bluff, Missouri, 6 September, 2004


A link to the last Bushism Of the Week

Friday, January 23, 2009

Robert Scoble At Kosmix

Robert Scoble, of Scobleizer fame (along with quite a few others, of course), is at the Kosmix offices today.  Cool.


Thursday Workout

Cardio - Elliptical

Time = 90 minutes (1 hr 30 minutes)

Calories = 1,018

Distance = 8.72

Weights - Shoulders

4 exercises of 4 sets each, for a total of 16 sets.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Wednesday Workout

Cardio - today was biking. 

Time = 112 minutes (1 hr 52 minutes)

Calories = 658

Distance = 24.87 miles


Biceps - 3 exercises of 4 sets each,  total of 12 sets

Triceps - 4 exercises of 4 sets each, total of 16 sets

28 sets in all.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New Yahoo CEO - Carol Bartz

Yahoo has finally made a move this month.  Carol Bartz, Autodesk's  limo-riding,  abuse-spewing, performance-enhancing former CEO is going to be Jerry Yang's replacement.

It didn't take long for Sue Decker to resign

carol bartz yahoo ceo

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Monday Cardio

Cardio on the elliptical. 

95 minutes (1 hour 35 min)

1,100 calories

9.4 miles

Faster than my normal rate.  And two bottles of Gatorade - one the regular Gatorade, the other a G2

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Bushism Of The Week

"I understand small business growth. I was one."
New York Daily News, 19 February, 2000

george w bush funny

So here, we learn that G-dub may not be a human after all, but a startup gone mad.  Makes sense.

A link to the last Bushism Of The Week

LiveJournal Dying

(Originally posted on Jan 7th, 2009)

LiveJournal today announced a "restructuring" in their US (San Francisco) office.  All product and engineering team members are gone, top to bottom.  Only technical operations (keep those servers humming, boys!), legal, admin and customer service teams are staying... as of now. 

SUP, the Russian internet startup that bought LiveJournal in 2007 for $30 Million, will probably start consolidating all tasks in Russia.  LiveJournal is quite popular, but just like all other social networks (except MySpace), has failed to figure out how to make money.


LiveJournal is just the latest social network to start going under.  Some others I've covered (a sample of the pain in social networks) are:

Quite painful, unfortunately. 

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Wednesday Workout

I had a couple of visitors over the last week, so didn't manage to work out for a few days.  Decided to dive back in violently:

Cardio:  Elliptical

Time taken = 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes)

Calories burnt = 1,524

Miles covered = 13.33

Weights:  Shoulders

4 exercises of 4 sets each, for a total of 16 sets.

I realized a few things:

a) Gatorade is far superior to Vitamin Water, or Propel Fitness Water.  G2 (Gatorade's new drink) is even better - less calories, same minerals.  During last night's workout, I had one bottle of G2, and one of Propel.  I could feel the difference in my leg muscles, after I moved on to Propel.  After I had finished, I drank a bottle of Vitamin Water (orange flavor - yum).  But it took its own sweet time in helping out.  

So my two cents - if you know your workout is intense, stay with Gatorade or G2.

b) I shouldn't dive back in with this long a cardio workout after a few days' rest.  It was a little painful at the end.

c) My speed of recovery has improved tremendously.  The first time I did 2.5 hours of cardio, I could barely lift any weights afterwards.  This time, (after about a 15 minute break), I had a full weights workout.  I started with lighter weights, but by the end of the workout, was lifting at almost my normal capacity.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Layoffs And More At Alcoa


The economic downturn, including the Automotive companies' woes, are seriously hurting basic commodities.  Aluminium producer Alcoa is going through some pain, including:

  • Laying off 13.5K - 15K employees (13 - 15%).  Also freezing salaries, and new hires, and eliminating contract positions 
  • 50% reduction in capital expenditures in 2009
  • Cutting 750K tonnes/year of output (18%)
  • Selling four business units

Hopefully these measures keep the rest of their employees safe in 2009.

Whats New At Cuil?

Last time we checked,  Cuil had lost their VP of Product, Louis Monier.  How are they doing now?

Unfortunately, their traffic doesn't seem to be doing too well.  They botched their launch slightly;  they had great PR, got a lot of traffic, couldn't handle it, and didn't have the best results for searches. 

Cuil does still have a following.  But as the two charts from Quantcast and Compete show, below, their current strategy of incremental improvements has not won back their launch audience yet.


cuil traffic


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Friday, January 9, 2009

iPhone At Walmart

Finally, the iPhone has made its appearance at Walmart - a little late to take full advantage of Christmas shopping.

What I find really hilarious is the price - after all the breathless rumors about the iPhone price getting slashed for Walmart's sake, it turns out the discount is 1%.  For the 8 GB phone, that means a $2 discount.  For the 16 GB phone, thats a $3 discount.

Hahahahaha.  Who would put up with the lines at Walmart for that discount?  I'll tell you who - people who were shopping at Walmart to begin with. 

iphone walmart

Advantage Walmart - it gets to sell the iPhone, right next to the Google-phone.  And gets bragging rights about the lowest price for an iPhone

Advantage Apple - the discount doesn't even register, and other retailers won't care enough to quarrel with Steve and co.  At the same time, this is another 2k - 3k outlets to sell the iPhone, which is great.

Advantage the Consumer? - Seems rumors of a price decrease are still around;  and the iPhone has a fat enough (and growing) profit margin to allow for a nice price drop in the near future.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Bushism Of The Week

Old G-dub is hilarious.  I'll post up my favorite Bushism each week - something that never fails to make me laugh.

For this week, how about a relatively recent statement?  This is from May 2008....

"I'll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this oval office"

george bush funny 

Uhhh..... true?  Not really, I think we all know about the bad job he's done.... or do we?  Maybe there's a lot more hidden out there!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Who's A Cash Cow? More Layoffs At LifeScan

Can you spell C-A-S-H C-O-W?  J&J spells it L-I-F-E-S-C-A-N.

I had covered LifeScan's last layoffs in October.  Seems there was more to come. 

Another 10% of the company, specially in the US division in Milpitas, is being shown the exit door, including the entire Business Development department.

one touch ultrasmart

LifeScan is doing well compared to the rest of the Blood Glucose Meters companies, specially in the US.  They are a $2 Billion company with manufacturing and operations in Milpitas (California),  Inverness (Scotland - at the tip of Loch Ness),  Mayaguez (Puerto Rico), and marketing and sales arms around the world.  And now, they are considered ripe for rationalization.

This makes sense, if you think of LifeScan as a cash cow.  J&J can continue to reap the profits from R&D mostly done 5 - 10 years earlier  (not talking about incremental changes to the product, of course),  as well as Business Development deals put in place as early as 10 years ago - including one that is supposed to be the product of the near future, out of Australia. 

With this in mind, only functions necessary to continue operations satisfactorily are needed; the rest can either be consolidated within J&J headquarters,  or gotten rid of altogether. 

The Business Development team has some outstanding people.  I'm sorry they need to look for new opportunities in this job environment.

Tuesday Workout

Another light workout on cardio today, but made up a bit with weights.

Cardio - Elliptical:  84 minutes (1 hr 24 minutes),  870 calories,  7.57 miles)


Biceps - 4 exercises of 4 sets each for a total of 16 sets

Triceps - 4 exercises of 4 sets each for a total of 16 sets

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

"Ridiculous" Is Spelt "Maybach Landaulet"

The Mayback Landaulet, or 57S, is a study in over-the-top luxury.  What qualifies it as over-the-top?

  • Is it a 612 hp, 738 lb-ft of face melting torque?
  • Champagne cooler and 2 silver flutes, held by an automatic clip? (what?)
  • Reclining rear seats?  Leg rests?
  • 40 inches of rear legroom?  (where's my business class seat?)
  • Retractable hard top.... only for the passenger?  (what? why can't the chauffeur have an open roof as well?)
  • Illuminated vanity mirrors (ooh, how pretty we are)

No.  Those are run of the mill (cough).  What is over the top is the black star granite, sourced from India, that is in the passenger section.  Granite.  Stone trim.  Shaped to fit the car's interior. 

This is ridiculous.  I love it.

maybach top

maybach open top

Maybach 62 Landaulet interior

maybach interior

maybach champagne



maybach seats

Monday Workout

Sunday was a complete rest day.  Monday, light elliptical:

55 minutes, 635 calories.  This machine didn't show distance, unfortunately

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Saturday Workout

A little bit of a rest day, to give my tweaked back some rest. 


77 minutes (1 hr 17 min)

438 calories

19.68 miles

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Increased Page Rank

This blog,  Capoeirista  has a Page Rank = 2 now, an increase of 1 

PR increase is a painful process.

vikram singh

Ning And Glam - Cost Cutting Time

Ning and Glam Media are two companies that have a lot of funding - over $100 Million each. 

Ning is also a lean company - they have a lean staff, and everyone works really hard (even by Silicon Valley standards).  I visited their office a couple of weeks back.  They have a normal office as startups go, except for the enormous monitors each person gets.  If you work at Ning, watch Hulu at your desk, no need for a big screen tv!


And Glam has all sorts of claims of success.  CEO Samir Arora is a consummate salesman and PR guy. 

glam media

But such are the times, both of these companies, awash in capital, are cutting down on costs.

Glam is reducing everyone's salaries - 3% - 15% for the employees, 25% - 60% for Samir and some top execs and sales people.  They're replacing this with a variable bonus element.  It is a good idea... but might still lead to some top people defecting.   Glam has also started delaying payments to partners and publishers even further.  Hopefully, this doesn't drive any partners out of business, or causes them to scale down their business - because that would come back to haunt Glam.

And Ning is rumored to be readying itself for layoffs, or other cost cuts as well.  This is completely unconfirmed, but several valley folks (none of whom work at Ning) are talking about it, as is  Hope its not true, but......

Scary times, my friends.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Friday Workout

Yesterday turned, inadvertently, into a rest day.  Caught up Friday.

Cardio:  90 minutes (1.5 hours),  1,111 calories,  9.47 miles

Weights:  Back.  4 exercises of 4 sets each, for a total of 16 sets