Friday, June 29, 2007

Offshoring... blame the tax code?

Now we get to the fun part.

The tax code is written in a way that allows companies not
to pay the full 35% U.S. corporate tax rate on foreign
income when that money remains invested overseas.

Backing up a step, here's how it works before the loophole:
A company earns $100 million abroad in Lowtaxistan where the
corporate tax rate is 20%. The foreign subsidiary pays that
money to the U.S. parent. The parent then pays $35 million
to the U.S. government and takes a credit for the 20% (or
$20 million) payment to the Lowtaxistan government. So the
net to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service is $15 million.

But here's how it works with the loophole: The U.S.
subsidiary simply keeps the money offshore and certifies to
its accountants that the money is invested overseas. It
never remits the money to the parent and so never pays the
$15 million extra to Uncle Sam.

Do the math yourself. Which is better?

a) A factory in Lowell, Mass., that will generate $100
million in pre-tax profit that nets $65 million, or

b) A factory in Lowtaxistan that will generate $100
million in pretax profit that nets $80 million.

Hillary is opposed to offshoring:

HowToForge: The Perfect Desktop - Ubuntu Studio 7.04

Howtoforge - Articles on Linux. Very well made.

The Perfect Desktop - Ubuntu Studio 7.04

Ubuntu Studio is a special Linux distribution tailored to the needs of audio, video, and graphic enthusiasts or professionals. Because Ubuntu Studio is based on Ubuntu, you are not limited to this area, but can install any application that is available for Ubuntu, thus turning Ubuntu Studio in a normal desktop for everyday use. This tutorial shows how you can turn Ubuntu Studio 7.04 into a full-fledged replacement for a Windows desktop. The advantages are clear: you get a secure system without DRM restrictions that works even on old hardware, and the best thing is: all software comes free of charge.

Convert Physical Windows Systems Into Virtual Machines To Be Run On A Linux Desktop

Also,, Nothing But Unix.

James Randi, Oprah, Phil Donahue, Media and so on..

James Randi on Oprah Winfrey

James Randi (born August 7, 1928), stage name The Amazing Randi, is a stage magician and scientific skeptic best known as a challenger of paranormal claims and pseudoscience. Born Randall James Hamilton Zwinge, in Toronto, Canada, Randi is the founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation and its famous million dollar challenge offering a prize of US $1,000,000 to anyone who can demonstrate evidence of any paranormal, supernatural or occult power or event, under test conditions agreed to by both parties.
While inheriting a billion dollars is still the easiest way to land on our list of the world's wealthiest, it certainly isn't the most common. Almost two-thirds of the world's 946 billionaires made their fortunes from scratch, relying on grit and determination, and not good genes.

Phil Donahue is the MAN. I have a whole new respect for Donahue. Bill yelled at the top of his lungs to get his point through but in the end made himself sound like an idiot. Just because Bill O'Reilly was yelling at Donahue doesn't make him right. Like Phil said "loud doesn't mean right" He always does that on his show to make him feel like he's winning the argument.

Remember Phil Donahue's show on MSNBC a few years back that was supposed to be the liberal alternative to the conservative and popular Bill O'Reilly on Fox? Remember MSNBC cancelled Donahue's show, although his ratings were rising because they felt Donahue's show, during a time of war, might turn out to be, according to a study MSNBC had commissioned, a "possible nightmare scenario where the show becomes 'a home for the liberal antiwar agenda at the same time that our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity?'"

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Caspio Bridge Overview

Custom Web Applications, No Programming

Experience a powerful new way to quickly create database-powered applications without programming. Building high-quality web forms, data searches, reports and web applications has never been easier.


Draw and Share:

My Uninstalled Life:

To Do List management:

Tagging Outlook:

Library Web Chic:

Monday, June 25, 2007

Games to Stretch Your Brain

Sick of "puzzle" games that challenge you to see how many red gems you can line up in a row? Bored with brain games that don't let you match your wits against other players? This summer's lineup of brain-teasing video games includes some brilliant titles that stretch your mind power to its limits, asking you to think laterally to beat the computer or just out-strategize your friends.

Credit Card terms - India

For the traveller: In case you are travelling, please pay up your bill amount before you leave the city. In case you drop your cheque in any drop box outside your city, you will be charged a processing fee of 1 per cent of the bill amount, subject to a minimum fee of Rs 100. Some banks don't even accept outstation cheques.

Forex payment: While cards offer you the convenience of carrying out foreign exchange transactions, you are charged a mark-up of 3 per cent for this privilege.

Crossing the limit: You might be happily surprised when your bank honours a payment that crosses even you credit limit. But then, there is a catch, you will be charged 2.5 per cent for the amount that is in excess of the limit. Yes, your reputation is protected in front of the merchant establishment. But it comes at a price.

Drafting dues: The facility of dialling in and ordering a demand draft against your credit limit is available. But it comes for a pretty packet as well, another 2.5 per cent of the draft value, subject to a minimum of Rs 300.

Picture imperfect: Beware of additional frills such as "image cards". Banks charge an amount of Rs 150 or so for affixing your image on the card. However, this does not apply to "photo cards", which are free.

Nothing is free: You might be tempted to transfer from one bank to another under zero per cent balance transfers. However, remember that there are "handling charges of 2 per cent" in the fine print.

Of course, these are some general fine print and can vary from bank to bank. But then here is something that is common to all, since May 11, 2007, most of the above charges will also attract a service tax of 12.36 per cent.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Writing, Marketing




My name is G. Navdeep Raj, I am 18. I live work, and study in Bangalore, India. I’m relatively young to be doing what I’m doing. But if it’s any consolation I’ve thought about nothing but Design the time I was 11.

I took what I loved most and I made it my profession. And I think that’s the best way to describe me as a person. I’m very proud of the success of White Squid. Especially the fact that I took the road less traveled and arrived a little later, but on my own pure and untainted terms. I’m doing it my way.

Apart from my duties, I enjoy photography, experimenting here and there with whatever style presents itself. I picked up a Nikon Coolpix 8700 in mid-2005 and hope to be get professional with it very soon.

Deziner Folio

Bloggers Choice Awards

Collaboration, comments, ajax, etc

Tech Writer Voices: Podcasts on Technical Writing

WordPress Comments System built with Yahoo! UI -- This is used in DjangoBook


PHPVOIP replicated the above -- as a plugin.


Joel on Software: And on Diverse and Occasionally Related Matters That Will Prove of Interest to Software Developers, Designers, and Managers, and to Those Who, Whether by Good Fortune or Ill Luck, Work with Them in Some Capacity (Paperback)

DokuWiki Simple Template

Apache POI - Java API To Access Microsoft Format Files

Apache - Open Source ERP - OFBiz - Open For Business

Databases - SQL Server growing, Oracle + SQL Server + DB2 = 85% of market

Apache Forrest - A publishing framework.

Documenting projects with Apache Forrest

Occam's Razor - Avinash Kaushik - Writes about data visualization of massive datasets - Six data visualizations that rock

The Virtual Database Tier

In this Artima interview, JBoss CTO Sacha Labourey explains the concept of a virtual database tier, and how virtual database tools can help access data from multiple legacy databases.

Nutritional Supplements

Clifbar and Mojobar:


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Why Wal-Mart Will Help Finance Customers

But financial-services experts view this as a positive for the industry that might inadvertently clean up some of its usurious practices. Wal-Mart caters to customers with little or no access to banking services, people who are often described as the "unbanked" or "underbanked." According to ACNielsen, 42% of Wal-Mart shoppers have yearly household incomes of less than $40,000. Many of these consumers pay high fees to subprime and payday lenders for cashing checks and receiving credit. Bank consultant Ely says that those money services and transmitters ought to fear Wal-Mart's expansion. "Wal-Mart will bring increased efficiency and bring down prices," says Ely.

Wal-Mart already has brought on a bonanza of savings for consumers. Wal-Mart says it conducts more than 2 million money-services transactions a week. Last year, customers who used Wal-Mart's services saved an average of $450 a year, or nearly $40 per month, the company said. The opening of additional Wal-Mart MoneyCenters will put more than $320 million back into customers' pockets, according to the retailer. Plus, some consumers are acquiring new financial skills. "As we piloted the card, we were happy to see how quickly our customers began using it to manage their money," says Thompson. "They immediately understood the value and how to take advantage of benefits, such as direct deposit or loading their paychecks in our stores. The acceptance has been exciting to watch because it means we've met a real need for our customers."

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Meet India's richest real estate baron

Promoters of the dozen top listed real estate developers in the country, including DLF Ltd, which will be listed next month, are worth a massive Rs 125,845 crore (or over $30 billion).

However, the lion's share of this net worth (derived on the basis of the latest m-cap) lies with DLF's K P Singh and his family -- Rs 77,915 crore (around $19 billion) based on the allotment price of Rs 525 per share and their shareholding of around 87.3 per cent in the company.

According to BS research, this makes K P Singh the fourth richest Indian by today's market capitalisation, after Mukesh Ambani, Anil Ambani and Sunil Mittal. He overtakes Wipro's Azim Premji, who ranks immediately after him.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Web 2.0 index

NineSigma: Nurturing 'Open Innovation'

Why should a company pursue an open innovation strategy?

Here's one example of the benefits. We had a client who was selling laundry detergent in prepackaged pouches. The problem was that the plastic pellets holding the liquid detergent were leaking, staining the packaging, and so sales were tanking. The company had its packaging people working on it, the manufacturing people were working on it, the supplier of the plastic pellets was working on it, and no one could come up with a solution. Our search turned up a small, unheard-of company in Britain that was packaging agricultural concentrates—herbicides, pesticides, that kind of stuff—in a similar type of film. They had had, and solved, a similar problem along the way, and their solution could be adapted to our client's problem. So our client's solution came from a company that no one had heard of in an unrelated industry.

But if you define a problem too narrowly, do you risk limiting the very promise of the open innovation approach? How do you cast a wide net but not catch junk?

First, you need to clearly identify a client's most pressing problem or problems. Then you need to translate the problem into basic science or technology terms. So, for instance, when P&G wanted to solve the problem of wrinkled cotton, we didn't send out a request for proposals saying we were looking for a solution to wrinkling because if you describe the problem in terms of its applications, the only solutions you get are from people working in that industry. So instead we talked about surface chemistry and hydrogen-bonding across fibers—the language of science and tech that is understood across industries.

40 Fastest-Growing Software Companies

The biggest public software companies are increasingly relying on acquisitions for growth, as they pick off weaker competitors or startup companies that have decided not to go it alone. In addition to their desire to get bigger, those doing the acquiring say they are responding to a move on the part of enterprise customers to reduce the number of vendors with which they do business.

Full story: How software's fastest growers got to where they are

Slide show: The list 1-40

Graphic: How software companies' financials compare

The Large Stake of U.S. Small Business in an Expanding Global Economy

A Trade Agenda for U.S. Small Business

America’s small companies need a trade policy that expands their freedom to sell, invest and buy in a growing global economy. In general, U.S. small businesses can grow and compete most effectively in a domestic economy that avoids uncompetitive tax rates and burdensome paperwork and regulations. Small businesses also need flexible labor markets that allow them to hire the workers they need to meet the needs of their customers. Comprehensive immigration reform and an increase in visas for highly skilled workers would enhance the ability of U.S. companies to meet global competition.

On the trade front, U.S. small businesses benefit when the United States signs bilateral, regional, and multilateral trade agreements that reduce trade barriers with our major trading partners. Those agreements not only reduce barriers to trade but they also establish predictable and enforceable rules that increase transparency when smaller U.S. companies venture abroad. Free trade agreements with the countries of Central America, Chile, and other trading partners have already stimulated an increase in U.S. exports and have opened up new opportunities for U.S. companies to reach new customers, just as the North American Free Trade Agreement has expanded opportunities in Canada and Mexico. Absent trade agreements, Congress should reduce remaining U.S. trade barriers unilaterally.

What U.S. small businesses do not need are higher trade barriers to our domestic market or more federal subsidies to supposedly promote exports or foreign investment. Punitive tariffs against a country such as China would threaten to drive up costs for U.S. small businesses that import intermediate products from that country. A trade war would also jeopardize export opportunities in growing markets abroad. Antidumping orders and other tariffs against such imports as steel or agricultural commodities drive up costs for domestic producers, many of them small businesses, who use those imports in their final products.10 For the same reasons, a dramatically weaker U.S. dollar, while benefiting certain U.S. exporters, would drive up the costs U.S. small businesses pay for imported energy, parts and capital machinery.

Nor do U.S. small businesses need a larger share of federal subsidies for international trade. While small and medium sized companies do qualify for such programs as the Export-Import Bank and the Market Access Program, they account for a small dollar share of total federal support. U.S. companies do not need federal subsidies to compete effectively in global markets. Our research at Cato has shown that U.S. exporters have outperformed their counterparts in Great Britain, Germany, France, Canada and Japan even though the share of U.S. exports receiving government support is much lower than exports from those countries. Most U.S. export subsidies go to firms that do not experience subsidized competition abroad.11 U.S. and global markets are currently awash in private capital ready to finance new trade and investment opportunities. Federal export subsidies do not promote more exports but only reshuffle the export pie in favor of larger U.S. companies, crowding out smaller exporters.

If Congress and the administration want to increase opportunities for U.S. small businesses to compete and thrive in a global economy, they should work together to reduce barriers to international trade and investment wherever they exist.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Exploring the Mind-Body Orgasm

Komisaruk: Orgasms have been described as being elicitable from any part of the body -- the mouth, the nipples, the anus, the hand. It leads us to think that there is a general orgasmic principle of building up excitation from different parts of the body leading to a climax and a resolution -- not necessarily ending in ejaculation, but a feeling of an orgasmic experience.

Whipple: We have documented in our laboratory that women can have orgasms from imagery alone without touching their body. The point is that women can experience orgasms and sexual pleasure from many forms of stimuli. It does have not have to be through genital stimulation.

WN: What are we learning about these non-genital orgasms?

Whipple: That they're real. We may have to reconsider what people define as orgasms, and not just have it defined in the genitals. We find that certain of the same brain areas are activated during orgasms experienced by imagery only (as during genital orgasms).

Komisaruk: It broadens our perspective on the potentialities of the body and brain. If we understand better how we can generate such pleasure from all different parts of our bodies, that increases our potential for sensory experience.

WN: Do you think there might come a time when orgasms really get detached from the genitals?

Komisaruk: It's happening right now. People have described orgasms through imagery, nose orgasms, knee orgasms. Although it sounds strange, the reports are believable. Now, people can show our book to someone who doubts it, and it can serve as a validation. Time will tell how prevalent non-genital orgasms are.

Komisaruk: In terms of sexuality, the holy grail is: Why does an orgasm feel so damned good? I think we're getting there.

It's hard to sustain prejudice and bias

It's hard to sustain prejudice and bias against an abstract group when you develop relationships with individuals and discover they're just like you. It doesn't matter if they dress up like ponies, or refuse to conform to a societal idea of gender norms, or eat pancakes for dinner. Geek lovers know better than to try to impose their sexual preferences or standards on others -- including your friends -- and are more likely to love and let love.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

What Happens When the Boom Goes Bust?

According to the National Association of Home Builders, the average price for a new home in 1980 was $76,400. By 2005, it had climbed to $295,100.

That's incredible! $218,700 in caaash ...
Before you get too excited thinking about investing in real estate and flipping houses, ponder this: Over a 25-year period, that $218,700 gain comes out to a 5.6% annualized return.

Think about that. If your stock investments had grown at just 5.6% annually over the past 25 years, you'd be kicking yourself. And with good reason -- during that time, the S&P 500 earned 10.3% annually -- almost double the average gains in housing. Ford (NYSE: F) (12.3%) would have more than doubled the average house's return, while McDonald's (NYSE: MCD) (16.2%) would have nearly tripled it, and Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) (27.3%) would have more than quadrupled it. Even AMR (NYSE: AMR), which operates in the cutthroat and sometimes struggling airline industry, churned out a 10.1% annualized gain from 1980 to 2005.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

BoxCloud: Dead-simple file sharing

BoxCloud's "drag and share" functionality makes sharing files a snap through a small application you install on your desktop. You decide what to share simply by dragging files from your desktop over your BoxCloud buddy list. Once shared, your contacts can then access your files through any standard web browser -- they don't need to download or configure anything.

BoxCloud adapts to the way you work

You work on your desktop, not on a server. With BoxCloud, your files are shared directly from your computer which means you don't have to change the way you work or wait for long upload times. You share a file or folder just once but can revise it a 1,000 times -- your contacts automatically get the latest version of everything. For times when you do need to version your files, BoxCloud provides simple file versioning that allows you to do just that.

No holds barred

Share as many files with as many people as you wish. There are never any file size, storage or bandwidth restrictions. Well, the only restriction is the size of your hard drive and the speed of your internet connection.

Take back your data

We take your privacy and confidentiality very seriously. We believe the best way to guarantee your privacy is by letting you manage and store your own data. None of your content is ever stored on our servers. Period.

Five Myths About U.S. Kids Outclassed by the Rest of the World

The usual hand-wringing accompanied the Department of Education's release late last year of new statistics on how U.S. students performed on international tests. How will the United States compete in the global economy, went the lament, when our students lag behind the likes of Singapore and Hong Kong in math and science? American fourth-graders ranked 12th in the world on one international math test, and eighth-graders were 14th. Is this further evidence of the failure of the nation's schools?

Not exactly. In fact, a closer look at how our kids perform against the international "competition" suggests that this story line may contain more than a few myths:

Friday, June 08, 2007

The Ultimate Net Monitoring Tool

Narus' product, the Semantic Traffic Analyzer, is a software application that runs on standard IBM or Dell servers using the Linux operating system. It's renowned within certain circles for its ability to inspect traffic in real time on high-bandwidth pipes, identifying packets of interest as they race by at up to 10 Gbps.

Internet companies can install the analyzers at every entrance and exit point of their networks, at their "cores" or centers, or both. The analyzers communicate with centralized "logic servers" running specialized applications. The combination can keep track of, analyze and record nearly every form of internet communication, whether e-mail, instant message, video streams or VOIP phone calls that cross the network.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Tech CEOs Predict Swelled Use of Offshore Talent

Admitting that finding, hiring and retaining qualified employees is their biggest operational challenge, nearly half of fast-growth technology CEOs said they are tapping overseas markets for talent.

Sixty-seven percent of the technology CEOs surveyed, consistent with the 66 percent in the 2006 survey, said high-quality employees are the biggest contributors to company growth. Finding, hiring and retaining the best employees, however, is continually their biggest operation challenge, cited by nearly half (48 percent) of CEOs, and up from 41 percent in 2006.

This talent shortage has caused tech-company CEOs to increasingly pull out all of the stops to lure in new hires. Sixty-nine percent said they relied on equity compensation and stock options, though down from 71 percent in 2006; 51 percent offered flexible hours, up from 29 percent in the prior study; and 38 percent offered training programs and educational opportunities, up from 35 percent in 2006. Only 31 percent of CEOs said they offered workers a career path, up from a previous 28 percent.

"When it comes to talent, supply and demand are out of balance, making employees more like consumers," explains Jeff Alderton, a principal of Deloitte Consulting.

"And like consumers, if employees with those in-demand skill sets are not receiving the satisfaction they seek from their work place, they will find it elsewhere—with the competition. This will put an even greater strain on employers for available talent."

Technology CEOs said they are increasingly turning to overseas talent to compensate for this shortage of qualified workers, with nearly half (45 percent) stating they are currently offshoring. This percentage will only increase, as 55 percent of respondents said they are planning to offshore in the next five years, so much so that in five years, 30 percent of these tech-company CEOs planned to have one-tenth (10 percent) of their workers offshore. Twenty-seven percent planned to have up to one-fifth of their work force (20 percent), 19 percent expected to have almost one-third (30 percent) and 15 percent expected to have up to 40 percent of their work force situated in other countries.

Long term competitive disadvantage: Automobile Industry

Two sources close to UAW leadership say that the union is willing to negotiate a deal at least on health care that would greatly reduce the $1,500 to $1,800 per car disadvantage in health-care costs that General Motors (GM), Ford Motor F, and Chrysler Group (DCX) each suffer.

What U.S. immigration policies mean to GoogleWhat U.S. immigration policies mean to Google

Our experience with American immigration policy dates back to one of our founders: when he was six, Sergey Brin's parents fled the Soviet Union in 1979 and settled in the United States. Today, there are literally hundreds of examples of immigrants and non-immigrant foreign workers playing a vital role in our company.

In particular, employees who are holders of H-1B visas -- which allow foreign-born workers with specialized skills to work in the U.S. on a temporary basis -- have helped lead the development of Google News and orkut. Immigrants from countries like Canada, Iran, and Switzerland now lead our business operations, global marketing, global business development, and data infrastructure operations. Without these talented employees and many others, Google would not be where it is today.

As Congress grapples with various immigration reform proposals, Laszlo Bock, our Vice President of People Operations, testified today before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration about the practical impact that the U.S. immigration system has on Google. (Laszlo's mother Susan, who fled Communist Romania when Laszlo was a child, was there too. She was welcomed by Rep. Zoe Lofgren, the chair of the committee, and she received an ovation from everyone present at the hearing.)

In his testimony, Laszlo said that, due to limits on the number of H-1B visas, Google is regularly unable to pursue highly qualified candidates. This year, an estimated 133,000 visa applications were filed by H-1B candidates in the first two days of the filing period for only 65,000 available spots. Over the last year alone, the artificially low cap on H-1B visas has prevented more than 70 Google candidates from receiving H-1B visas. Therefore, Laszlo said, "We would encourage Congress to significantly increase the annual cap of 65,000 H-1B visas, to a figure more reflective of the growth rate of our technology-driven economy." He also urged Congress to address the backlog of employment-based green cards for highly skilled workers.

Check out the full text of Laszlo's testimony or watch the video of his opening remarks to the committee below.

Goin' Postal is a chain of well over 200 retail shipping & receiving stores that has its corporate headquarters in beautiful Zephyrhills, FL. As well as offering consumers and businesses access to all the main carriers such as FedEx, DHL, UPS, and the United States Postal Service, Goin' Postal also offers other business related services such as copying, faxing, mailbox rentals, cards, unique gift items, and office supplies. While Goin' Postal is not affiliated with the United States Postal Service, it is joining forces with the Post Office in the new Approved Shipper Program to better serve the public together. Many of our customers and store owners are, in fact, present and past Post Office employees.

Founded and led forward by the Price Family, the company exceeded its business plan projections by turning a consistent profit within its first 2 years of operation. Goin' Postal is now in the process of "going national" with new stores opening, and scheduled to be open, all across the nation. To find locations near you, please visit our "Locations" page.

With rapid expansion plans, we have grown from a single store which opened in Florida in late 2002 and was alone until mid 2004, to a chain of numerous Goin' Postal stores across the United States. We had well over 100 Goin' Postal stores open by the end of 2005, and are anticipating that we will have close to 250 stores by the end of 2006

Our aggressive growth is outpacing ALL of our competition including the big names we have all come to know.

Goin' Postal bases its business ideals around the American family, and the American dream that those families are working toward. All of our independent, franchised stores are owned and operated by families who have placed their faith in our leadership, training, and support. We are glad to say that every member of our extended Franchisee Family is meeting or exceeding their expectations for their new business venture, and some are already opening their second and THIRD Goin' Postal stores!

10% increase in city parks could offset global warming until 2080s

"Green space collects and retains water much better than the built environment. As this water evaporates from the leaves of plants and trees it cools the surrounding air in a similar way to the cooling effect of perspiration as it evaporates from our skin. Urban areas can be up to 12°C warmer than more rural surroundings due to the heat given off by buildings, roads and traffic, as well as reduced evaporative cooling, in what is commonly referred to as an ‘urban heat island’," said Dr Ennos.

For their study, the team took Greater Manchester as their model, and used Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping to build up a picture of the conurbation’s land use.

The team then worked out the impact of an increase in the amount of green space on the urban climate as well as on water retention.

The research also examined the effect an increased green space has on the amount of rainwater urban areas capture and retain; towns and cities lose a large proportion of rainwater through what is termed ‘run-off’ where precipitation quickly leaves the surface and drains away into streams and rivers, eventually returning to the sea.

"We discovered that a modest increase of 10% green space reduced surface temperatures in the urban environment by 4°C, which would overcome temperature rises caused by global warming over the next 75 years, effectively ‘climate proofing’ our cities,” said Dr Ennos.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Lady Vanishes

Two biographies search for the real Hillary Clinton.

A Struggle Between Efficiency And Creativity

Traditionally, 3M had been a place where researchers had been given wide latitude to pursue research down whatever alleys they wished. After the arrival of the new boss, the DMAIC process was laid over a phase-review process for innovations—a novelty at 3M. The goal was to speed up and systematize the progress of inventions into the new-product pipeline. The DMAIC questions "are all wonderful considerations, but are they appropriate for somebody who's just trying to...develop some ideas?" asks Boyd. The impact of the Six Sigma regime, according to Boyd and other former 3Mers, was that more predictable, incremental work took precedence over blue-sky research. "You're supposed to be having something that was going to be producing a profit, if not next quarter, it better be the quarter after that," Boyd says.

For a long time, 3M had allowed researchers to spend years testing products. Consider, for example, the Post-it note. Its inventor, Art Fry, a 3M scientist who's now retired, and others fiddled with the idea for several years before the product went into full production in 1980. Early during the Six Sigma effort, after a meeting at which technical employees were briefed on the new process, "we all came to the conclusion that there was no way in the world that anything like a Post-it note would ever emerge from this new system," says Michael Mucci, who worked at 3M for 27 years before his dismissal in 2004. (Mucci has alleged in a class action that 3M engaged in age discrimination; the company says the claims are without merit.)

There has been little formal research on whether the tension between Six Sigma and innovation is inevitable. But the most notable attempt yet, by Wharton School professor Mary Benner and Harvard Business School professor Michael L. Tushman, suggests that Six Sigma will lead to more incremental innovation at the expense of more blue-sky work. The two professors analyzed the types of patents granted to paint and photography companies over a 20-year period, before and after a quality improvement drive. Their work shows that, after the quality push, patents issued based primarily on prior work made up a dramatically larger share of the total, while those not based on prior work dwindled.

Defenders of Six Sigma at 3M claim that a more systematic new-product introduction process allows innovations to get to market faster. But Fry, the Post-it note inventor, disagrees. In fact, he places the blame for 3M's recent lack of innovative sizzle squarely on Six Sigma's application in 3M's research labs. Innovation, he says, is "a numbers game. You have to go through 5,000 to 6,000 raw ideas to find one successful business." Six Sigma would ask, why not eliminate all that waste and just come up with the right idea the first time? That way of thinking, says Fry, can have serious side effects. "What's remarkable is how fast a culture can be torn apart," says Fry, who lives in Maplewood, Minn., just a few minutes south of the corporate campus and pops into the office regularly to help with colleagues' projects. "[McNerney] didn't kill it, because he wasn't here long enough. But if he had been here much longer, I think he could have."

Six Sigma: So Yesterday?

Joie De Vivre

Evolution is some how a word that misleads you. It makes you think that we are evolving towards something better.

Adding to it, We are self aware. This self awareness made us special and superior to the rest of the species we were told.

But how does self awareness makes you superior? Thought is a by product of self awareness. Does that make us superior? How and why? Why are we so sure?

What makes you superior?

You can build better buildings than an ant can?That makes you superior only if the ant is comparing its hill with your building.But the ants dont care. You are the one who is comparing.

What if the ant says,Hey I can trace food with my antenna thats 100 meters away. You cant find that cookie crumble in your sofa. What if the ant says, Hey I can lift a weight thats 100 times my body weight. What if the ant says, Hey long before you thought of socialism, communism
and found religions, we discovered living a selfless life, to live for a society.

The thing is, your metrics for superiority are your metrics. Not the ants. Ants dont even have metrics. Actually that makes them too superior because you can NEVER beat them. No matter how complex a thing you evolve into.

Prakash Dantuluri is thoroughly enjoying life. Based in Hyderabad, teaches Tinglish, reads Losing My Virginity (and lots of books) loves alpha's sense of humor (which I haven't looked at yet), has several other blogs: The Great Indian Dream (fail-over blog, in case GoI censors blogspot?); some posts: Scented Erasers, SMS relationship building, Hyderabad Bloggers meet, Kodi Pandem (cock fights), Role of Media, Advertising, unsung heroin of society, vipassana, distributes diwali crackers to kids in slums and so on ...

Monday, June 04, 2007

Revenue generation: US techies on top

A highly skilled and cost-effective workforce may be a major driver behind India's emergence as the global back-office of IT industry, but it still has miles to go before it catches up with global giants in terms of productivity.

A comparison of revenue contribution by employees of top five players in India and the US in this space shows that an American IT professional contributes nearly ten times higher to the company's turnover than his Indian counterpart.

Among the top five Indian IT firms -- TCS, Infosys, Wipro, Satyam Computer and HCL Tech -- TCS is the biggest in terms of annual revenue, but Azim Premji-led Wipro steals the show in terms of revenue per employee.

But even Wipro's per employee revenue of just over 51,000 dollars gets dwarfed when compared to the Fortune 500-listed IT companies in the US, where an employee contributes at least 1,00,000 dollars to the company's annual turnover.

The figure for TCS stood at close to 48,000 dollars, with annual turnover of 4.3 billion dollars and head count of over 89,400 employees at the end of last fiscal.

Wipro had annual revenues of 3.5 billion dollars and total head count of over 67,800 people last year.

Infosys' per employee contribution was close to 43,000 dollars with total revenue of 3.1 billion dollars and over 72,200 employees.

The average revenue per employee (ARPE) of the five largest IT earners in India stood at 42,000 dollars last fiscal year, against 4,10,000 dollars in the top five in the US -- HP, IBM, Dell, Sun Microsystems and EDS.

India's labour output will still lag Asean's by '15: ILO

The Indian economy may match the economies of the Association of South East Asian Nations in size by 2015, but in terms of labour productivity it will trail this grouping of 10 nations by a little under 20 per cent, according to a recent report by the International Labour Organisation.

The country is unlikely to match Asean productivity even after it overtakes the group in terms of size.

"If India overtook Asean around 2029, its level of labour productivity would be around a quarter of Singapore, half that of Malaysia, around 40 per cent less than Thailand and about the same level as Indonesia," said Steve Kapsos, a member of ILO's Economic and Social Affairs Unit, which drafted the report, in an e-mail response.

To be sure, the productivity gap has been steadily declining, from 70 per cent in 1990 to 33 per cent in 2006, a trend that gathered pace after the East Asian financial crisis in 1997.

"The challenge to Asean is not just that both China and India are growing faster. More importantly, their labour productivity levels are increasing more rapidly," the report said. China recently overtook Asean in terms of output per worker.

In recent times, only Myanmar and Vietnam have registered higher growth among Asean countries.

Asean countries worry that exports from China and India will flood their domestic markets, squeeze them out of global markets, and that the two giants will attract all the investment flows to Asia.

Higher-income countries, on the other hand, fear that if these large emerging economies can acquire and master new technologies, their exports may soon dominate the global high-tech export industry.

What is Citizenbay?

Citizenbay is a new, interactive guide to your neighborhood, where you can share useful information with your real-life neighbors and create networks within your community.

Once registered, you will be able to:

  • Add yourself to the Citizenbay map,
  • Meet your neighbors and make new friends,
  • Share what’s hot and not in your neighborhood,
  • Share and stay informed with all good deals and useful news,
  • Promote and find all events of your neighborhood and city
  • ... and much more ...

Citizenbay is the free guide to your neighborhood – keeping you up to date with the latest goings-on, from micronews to show listings.

After you’ve scoped out what important things are going on in your neighborhood, why not meet your neighbors? Citizenbay is a great way to meet people in your city who share the same interests.

Rewiring Neuroscience: nine-radical

In the early 1990s, our long accepted (cc 1926) understanding of how a nerve encodes and conveys information was unexpectedly overturned by experiments on fast flying bats and insects. Around 1995, we began to realize we no longer knew what neurons actually do.

This is heavily advertised by Google.

What is Lecturefox?

It’s all about the joy of learning.

Lecturefox is a free service. You can find high-quality classes from universities all over the world. We collect without exception lectures from official universities, and we have a special interest in lectures from the faculties computer science, mathematics and physics. In the category faculty-mix you can find miscellaneous lectures from other departments like electrical engineering, chemistry, biology, psychology, economics, history and philosophy.

The Infinite Thinking Machine (ITM) is designed to help teachers and students thrive in the 21st century. Through an active blog, an Internet TV show, and other media resources, the ITM shares a "bazillion practical ideas" for turning the infinite universe of information into knowledge. We showcase examples of innovative instructional methods, talk with leading experts, and share real stories from the classroom to improve how we think, learn, teach, and live. And we try to have a little fun along the way.

Our shows and website are an important way to spark dialogue and help educators explore a wide range of innovative ideas. We rely on the collective wisdom of many experienced educators to select interesting ideas to share, but we cannot validate these practices beyond that. Also, please keep in mind that any mention of products, ideas, websites, and organizations does not represent an endorsement by the producers or sponsors.

Ideas to help teachers and students thrive in the 21st century.

Sunday, June 03, 2007



Visual artist and photographer.

Here you will find a selection of my best photographs. A larger collection can be viewed on flickr.

All photographs are taken by myself (also the ones with me in them) and all post-processing is done by me.

I am self-taught.

I decided to become a photographer in May of 2005.

There is nothing i would rather do.