Thursday, February 26, 2009

Changes At Webaroo - Now SMS GupShup

Webaroo, which over the years morphed into SMS GupShup, has long been a company I've liked.  (Anand, one of the Kosmix co-founders, and one of the investors in Webaroo, likes them too - check out his blog post on them). 

Webaroo, though, is finally moving their entire team to India.  That means those on the US team who aren't moving over, are moving on.  I believe Rakesh Mathur, their CEO, might also be taking some time off from Webaroo.

This comes after some good traction news from Webaroo -

  • SMS Gupshup has a user base of 12 Million people (I believe this is all in India.  I have the Webaroo tool installed on Firefox, but they don't seem to be working on that any more)
  • Helion Ventures and Charles River Ventures just put another $11 Million into the company, in October 2008.  Very good!


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tuesday Workout

I'd been under the weather, so hadn't worked out on Sunday or Monday.  I forced myself to go for a shorter workout on Tuesday, with excellent results - it felt as if the toxins were getting kicked out.  In only one hour, I had a much bigger sweat going than a 2 - 3 hour session.

Cardio:  Elliptical

Time taken = 60 minutes (1 hour)

Calories burnt = 709

Distance covered = 6.05 miles

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What Else Do Kosmix And Google Have In Common

Kosmix is similar to Google in a few ways - we're both in the search space, our founders are from the same Stanford research group.... and now this. 

I was at a dinner with a few friends, including one from Google, at Palo Alto's Counter Burger (amazing burgers, I kid you not!), when the folks around us noticed what you see below.

vikram singh kosmix

Since then, I've seen folks from Palantir, Facebook, Zazzle, and a couple of other companies with the same jackets

Monday, February 23, 2009

BMW 335i Climate Control - Silly

BMW does a lot of things well.  But there is one problem that really irks me.  And all BMW 3-series cars suffer from this problem.

BMW owners get dual-climate control for the two front-seat people.  But lets be reasonable and assume that most of the time, you want one temperature throughout your car, that the driver would like to control both temperature gauges through his/ her own gauge. But this isn't possible. 

Quite silly!  Honda has provided this (simply basic!) ability for the last few years, and this is one of the things my girlfriend (who drives an Accord) constantly teases me about.

Saturday Workout

Short and quick, with a new element. 

Cardio: Elliptical

Time taken = 10 minutes

Distance covered = 1 mile

Calories burnt = 117


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

Calves - 3 exercises of 3 sets each, for a total of 9 sets.

The leg exercises were new.  I wanted to add to the basic cardio for improving leg strength.  My calves have been sore for a full day now, after that workout!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Bushism Of The Week

"That's George Washington, the first president, of course. The interesting thing about him is that I read three - three or four books about him last year. Isn't that interesting?"
Speaking to reporter Kai Diekmann, Washington DC, 5 May, 2006


You're right, that is a very interesting thing about George Washington

george bush funny

A link to the last Bushism Of The Week

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Workout

Crunches: (morning)

Regular - 7 sets of 20 crunches each = 140 crunches

Left-twist - 7 sets of 20 crunches each = 140 crunches

Right-twist - 7 sets of 20 crunches each = 140 crunches

Total = 420 crunches

Thursday Workout

A much lighter workout today. 


Regular - 5 sets of 20 crunches each = 100 crunches

Left-twist - 5 sets of 20 crunches each = 100 crunches

Right-twist - 5 sets of 20 crunches each = 100 crunches

Total = 300 crunches



Time taken = 10 minutes

Calories burnt = 115

Distance covered = 0.99 miles


Time taken = 16 minutes

Calories burnt = 106

Distance covered = 3.97 miles

Weights: Arms

Biceps - 3 exercises of 4 sets each = 12 sets

Triceps - 3 exercises of 4 sets each = 12 sets

total of 24 sets

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wednesday Workout

Started this evening with crunches - 15 sets of 20 crunches each, for a total of 300 crunches.  That's a recent high.

Cardio - Elliptical:

Time taken = 2 hours (120 minutes)

Distance covered = 13.32 miles

Calories burnt = 1,564

These were new highs for me in terms of pacing (both distance and calories burnt), specially for a 2-hour period.

Weights - Shoulders:

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

I'm getting fitter - this was a tough workout, coming the day after a 2,000 calorie/ 3 hrs and 17 minute cardio workout.  Or perhaps its the fact that I had a good basketball game (Lakers-Warriors) to watch while on the elliptical machine, which kept me from getting bored.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Top Gear Video Of The Week - Porsche Cayenne

How do you know Jeremy Clarkson and James May aren't objective?  Well, when they take the Porsche Cayenne, rave about its off-road capabilities, its road-handling, its speed (0-60 in 5 seconds),  its electronics and gadgets..... and then end by saying its ugly, and hence they would rather walk than drive it.

I agree, when it first came out, I too thought the Cayenne was really ugly.  But it has grown on me.

Tuesday Workouts - With Some New Personal Bests

Started in the morning with crunches:

7 sets of 20 crunches each, for a total of 140 crunches

Cardio in the evening:  Elliptical machine.  Lots of new highs for me for the Elliptical.

Time taken = 3 hours and 17 minutes  (197 minutes)  - a new high

Calories burnt = 2,059  - a new high

Distance covered =  17.82 miles  - a new high

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sir, May I have Another... Layoffs

(Originally posted Jan 29, 2009)

(previous layoff news)

corning logo Corning has had a few lives since its inception.  Its latest includes the glass used in flat screens, both computers and televisions. 

Given that demand for both those consumables has softened a bit, Corning is laying off 13% of its workforce - about 3,500 people

ashland Chemical company Ashland is freezing wages (big surprise), adopting a 2-week furlough program, and, of course, cutting 1,300 jobs

boeing logo Boeing is dive-bombing about 10,000 jobs.  Thanks to its union workers striking, and slowing down their revenue stream even further - very smart, guys

Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday Workout

Cardio only today, on the Elliptical.

Time taken = 2 hours (120 minutes)

Distance covered = 10.99 miles

Calories burnt = 1,271

Bushism Of The Week

"Information is moving. You know, nightly news is one way, of course, but it's also moving through the blogosphere and through the Internets."
Washington DC, 2 May, 2007

funny george bush

A link to the last  Bushism Of The Week

Sunday, February 15, 2009

(Sigh)... More Layoffs

(Originally posted Jan 29th, 2009)

(Previous announcements)

A quick name check to:

brooks automation Brooks Automation - which is cutting 20% of its workforce (350 people), in its second round of layoffs

halliburton logo Halliburton (yes, even Cheney's old company is going to lay off people, known as they are towards their people-friendly policies... NOT)

schlum Schlumberger, not to be outdone by Halliburton, has announced it will lay off 5,000 people... and might have another headcount reduction in 6 months

intel logo Intel, after initially affirming it wasn't going to lay off employees, is cutting 6,000 manufacturing jobs.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A New Era In Detroit - Italian Control

(Originally posted Jan 23, 2009)

Chrysler has a new dance partner.  Fiat, which makes Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo (alfaa!) is taking a 35% stake in the Detroit, USA company. 

fiat logo   chrysler logo

Two important points:

a) Fiat is also cash-strapped. 

b) Fiat has the option to get more (full) control of Chrysler, if it so chooses

Friday, February 13, 2009

Thursday Workout

Started in the morning with crunches:

6 sets of 20 crunches each, for a total of 120 crunches

And yes, that was it.  Yuck.

Layoffs, Layoffs And More Layoffs

(Originally posted Jan 28, 2009)

(Following my previous post on companies announcing layoffs)

The layoff announcements keep coming, and will probably keep coming over the next 6 months.  Some notable ones:

caterpillar logo I had already chronicled how Caterpillar was cutting pay to manage costs.  Well, turns out they should have waited a bit... the cost cutting continues, with another 5,000 layoffs announced (in addition to 2,500 full-time and 8,000 contract employees having already been asked to leave).

united airlines logo UAL, United Airlines' parent, is laying off 1,000 people - it had recently (Q4 of 2008) laid off 1,500. 

sprint logo Sprint Nextel is cutting 8,000 jobs.  Ouch!  I blame their tv ads (I hate the Sprint, and the Verizon ads).

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wednesday Workout

Started the day with crunches: 5 sets of 20 crunches each, for a total of 100 crunches.

And that's it. Disgusting.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Mussoorie, Carlton's Plaisance Hotel

My folks run a bed-and-breakfast in Mussoorie, called Carlton's Plaisance Hotel, up in the Himalayas in India.  I love Mussoorie

Below are a few photos of the Plaisance's side yard, in winter.

carlton hotel mussoorie

This is Bugsie, the playful St. Bernard

carlton hotel mussoorie

mussoorie plaisance hotel

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Top Gear Video Of The Week - Pagani Zonda

The Pagani Zonda is truly an amazing engineering achievement. 

As usual, the top Gear boys have a hilarious review, this time led by Richard Hammond


Monday Workout

Cardio:  Elliptical

Time spent = 144 minutes (2 hours and 24 minutes)

Calories burnt = 1,504

Distance covered = 13.04 miles

Weights: Shoulders

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

Monday, February 9, 2009

Tens Of Thousands Laid Off On Jan 26th

(Originally posted Jan 26, 2009)

Jan 26, India's Republic Day (get out, you Brits!), turned out to be a painful day in the US. 70,000 employees are going to be laid off as a result of Monday's announcements.  Among those making the rounds:

GM logo General Motors is cutting 2,000 jobs in Michigan and Ohio plants

home depot logo Home Depot is laying off 7,000 people, and closing its Expo chain and some other smaller locations. 

texas instruments logo Texas Instruments is laying off 12% of its employees - 3,400 people.  Demand for their chips has softened, given that virtually every downstream sector that is a customer (including cell phones) is experiencing soft demand, and high inventory.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday Workout

A bit of a wimpy workout for a weekend, today.



Time spent = 60 minutes

Calories burnt = 653

Distance covered = 5.62 miles


Time spent = 51 minutes

Calories burnt = 349

Distance covered = 12.39 miles

Total calories burnt between the two = 1,002


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

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

Total = 32 sets of weights

Bushism Of The Week

"Reading is the basics for all learning."
Reston, Virginia, 28 March, 2000

bush funny

I am proud of our past president. 

A link to the last Bushism Of The Week

Friday, February 6, 2009

Staving Layoffs - Controlling Pay

(Originally posted Jan 25th)

Companies are, perhaps predictably, managing personnel costs now by controlling pay.  In most cases, salaries have been frozen, bonuses are being cut or eliminated.  In some extreme cases,  salaries are actually being reduced. 

And given the job climate, the employees can only say, "Thank you, may I have another?"

yahoo image Yahoo has, starting this week, frozen pay raises.  Bonuses have also been cut (but per my sources, hopefully not completely eliminated in all cases).

  amd logo AMD has had layoffs (1,100 people), and the remaining employees are enduring pay cuts ranging from 5% - 20%

circuit city logo And Circuit City's 30K+ employees are all going to lose their jobs, as the chain shuts down.  (Note - I went to one of their stores, and didn't really find things selling for a huge discount.  This isn't like Sharper Image's going-out-of-business sale)

saks logo Having fired over a thousand people, Saks is also freezing wages, and removing 401K contributions for the year

caterpillar logoCaterpillar, which I would say is the most successful autos-related company in today's climate, is cutting pay - up to 15% for regular employees, and up to 50% for executives

yrc worldwide YRC has cut pay by 15% for employees that are non-union, and by 10% for its drivers

hutchinson technology Hutchinson is reducing pay by 5% for its remaining employees

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Wednesday Workout - Another Personal Best

Wednesday, I decided to push for burning a higher number of calories in my cardio workout.  I went on the elliptical, then switched to the bike, then returned to the elliptical again.  So there were some nice breaks in the middle.

Elliptical Total:

Time spent = 157 minutes (2 hours and 37 minutes)

Calories burnt = 1,700 calories

Distance covered = 14.73 miles


Time spent = 52 minutes

Calories burnt = 300 calories

Distance covered = 11.73 miles

So, between the two, I burnt a total of 2,000 caloriesThat's easily my new personal best, for one workout session.

I wasn't too tired, but did feel sore.  This workout isn't sustainable, of course - I can't find this much time on a normal day.  I didn't even get to weights.  But the true test of my continuing fitness that I'm looking forward to - working out again today.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Zao Noodle Bar Palo Alto - Review

A couple of my friends really like Zao (Zao Noodle Bar, University Avenue, Palo Alto, California) -they say it is tasty, healthy, convenient, and decently ambienced.  And now for something completely different....

When you carry food back from Zao, you take with you something overlooked, but that might be the two best things they have to offer - their plastic bags and their plastic bowls.  These are tough, resilient, stylish, and microwave-able (the bowls, I mean). 

The bags are much better for carrying things than the bags you'd get at Safeway.  You can use them for quite a while, too - they have longevity, I kid you not.

And finally, they're great for odor containment.  I carry an extra Zao's plastic bag in my car at all times.  That way, whenever I get takeout from any restaurant, or pack my shoes in after a really long workout, I can always put it in the Zao's bag, and make sure the car doesn't smell.  

zao noodle bar

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Monday, February 2, 2009

Saturday Workout - Some Personal Bests

I set some personal bests this Saturday.  Woohoo!

Cardio: Elliptical

Time = 158 minutes (2 hours and 38 minutes) - personal best

Distance = 15.02 miles - personal best

Calories burnt = 1,745 - personal best


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.

So a total of 32 sets of arms. 

I was tired, and kept dozing off during the Federer - Nadal Australian Open Finals match.