Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Rentier capitalism and current financial crisis

Savings, pension plans, etc have flowed into the hands of rentier capitalists: hedge funds, venture capitalists backed by major financial firms, etc. The whole world economy is, to a great extent, controlled by rentier capitalists.

These rentier capitalists just destruct themselves, a hypothesis that Jan Toporowski has defended in his book "The end of finance. Capital Market inflation, financial derivatives, and pension fund capitalism".

Jan's hypotheses are interesting to those who think that financial economy is going to solve all the world's problems.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Web server on a business card

This mini web server is slightly smaller than a business card. There are a lot of tiny one-board servers out there, but this is probably the smallest you can etch and solder at home. Unlike many embedded web servers, files are stored on a PC-readable SD card, not in a difficult-to-write EEPROM.

How-To: Web server on a business card (Part 2) - Hack a Day
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Thursday, September 25, 2008

reply to email spam

You heard the joke at a social dinner some 5 years ago. Was that the last one you were invited to before others found you to be insensitive and ignorant ? A simple e mail to the sender would have been enough without displaying to 's friends and colleagues that she has made one significant mistake in her life and that was imagining than there was honour in us all. Please don't trouble to reply as your opinions do not concern me.

can I transfer H-1 with just receipt number?

Lawyer says NO!

We need a copy of approval notice (I-797). If you hear otherwise from some other lawyer, let me know.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Google Transit NJ NYC

Google transit - NYC, NJ. Lovely!

The Secret Life of a (Very) Social Wasp : Discovery News

Female paper wasps can't perform an "air kiss," hug or shake hands, but like humans, they look each other over and remember individuals for at least a week after first meeting them. They then base subsequent encounters on these first impressions.

Scientists previously thought only humans and other big-brained creatures could remember social encounters over long periods of time, with insects possessing more fleeting memories. Since the paper wasp brain is less than a millionth the size of our brains, some assumptions about social cognition now appear wrong.

The Secret Life of a (Very) Social Wasp : Discovery News
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Three Men in a Boat (by Jerome K. Jerome)

With me, it was my liver that was out of order. I knew it was my liver that was out of order, because I had just been reading a patent liver-pill circular, in which were detailed the various symptoms by which a man could tell when his liver was out of order. I had them all.

It is a most extraordinary thing, but I never read a patent medicine advertisement without being impelled to the conclusion that I am suffering from the particular disease therein dealt with in its most virulent form. The diagnosis seems in every case to correspond exactly with all the sensations that I have ever felt.

I remember going to the British Museum one day to read up the treatment for some slight ailment of which I had a touch – hay fever, I fancy it was. I got down the book, and read all I came to read; and then, in an unthinking moment, I idly turned the leaves, and began to indolently study diseases, generally. I forget which was the first distemper I plunged into – some fearful, devastating scourge, I know – and, before I had glanced half down the list of “premonitory symptoms,” it was borne in upon me that I had fairly got it.

I sat for awhile, frozen with horror; and then, in the listlessness of despair, I again turned over the pages. I came to typhoid fever – read the symptoms – discovered that I had typhoid fever, must have had it for months without knowing it – wondered what else I had got; turned up St. Vitus’s Dance – found, as I expected, that I had that too, – began to get interested in my case, and determined to sift it to the bottom, and so started alphabetically – read up ague, and learnt that I was sickening for it, and that the acute stage would commence in about another fortnight. Bright’s disease, I was relieved to find, I had only in a modified form, and, so far as that was concerned, I might live for years. Cholera I had, with severe complications; and diphtheria I seemed to have been born with. I plodded conscientiously through the twenty-six letters, and the only malady I could conclude I had not got was housemaid’s knee.

I felt rather hurt about this at first; it seemed somehow to be a sort of slight. Why hadn’t I got housemaid’s knee? Why this invidious reservation? After a while, however, less grasping feelings prevailed. I reflected that I had every other known malady in the pharmacology, and I grew less selfish, and determined to do without housemaid’s knee. Gout, in its most malignant stage, it would appear, had seized me without my being aware of it; and zymosis I had evidently been suffering with from boyhood. There were no more diseases after zymosis, so I concluded there was nothing else the matter with me.

I sat and pondered. I thought what an interesting case I must be from a medical point of view, what an acquisition I should be to a class! Students would have no need to “walk the hospitals,” if they had me. I was a hospital in myself. All they need do would be to walk round me, and, after that, take their diploma.

Then I wondered how long I had to live. I tried to examine myself. I felt my pulse. I could not at first feel any pulse at all. Then, all of a sudden, it seemed to start off. I pulled out my watch and timed it. I made it a hundred and forty-seven to the minute. I tried to feel my heart. I could not feel my heart. It had stopped beating. I have since been induced to come to the opinion that it must have been there all the time, and must have been beating, but I cannot account for it. I patted myself all over my front, from what I call my waist up to my head, and I went a bit round each side, and a little way up the back. But I could not feel or hear anything. I tried to look at my tongue. I stuck it out as far as ever it would go, and I shut one eye, and tried to examine it with the other. I could only see the tip, and the only thing that I could gain from that was to feel more certain than before that I had scarlet fever.

I had walked into that reading-room a happy, healthy man. I crawled out a decrepit wreck.

I went to my medical man. He is an old chum of mine, and feels my pulse, and looks at my tongue, and talks about the weather, all for nothing, when I fancy I’m ill; so I thought I would do him a good turn by going to him now. “What a doctor wants,” I said, “is practice. He shall have me. He will get more practice out of me than out of seventeen hundred of your ordinary, commonplace patients, with only one or two diseases each.” So I went straight up and saw him, and he said:

“Well, what’s the matter with you?”

I said:

“I will not take up your time, dear boy, with telling you what is the matter with me. Life is brief, and you might pass away before I had finished. But I will tell you what is NOT the matter with me. I have not got housemaid’s knee. Why I have not got housemaid’s knee, I cannot tell you; but the fact remains that I have not got it. Everything else, however, I HAVE got.”

Three Men in a Boat (by Jerome K. Jerome)
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Monday, September 22, 2008

Eleven reasons America is the new top socialist economy - MarketWatch

Welcome to the conservative's worst nightmare: The law of unintended consequences. Why? Nobody wants to admit it, folks, but the conservatives' grand ideology is backfiring, actually turning the world's greatest capitalistic democracy into the world's newest socialist economy.

A little history: The core principles of conservative economic ideology are grounded in Nobel economist Milton Friedman's 1962 classic "Capitalism and Freedom." Too late to stop President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society, those principles became the battle cries energizing conservatives since Reagan: Unrestricted free markets, free enterprise and free trade; deregulation, privatization and globalization; trickle-down economics and trickle-up wealth to an elite plutocracy destined to rule the new American capitalist utopia.

So what happened? Are you guys nuts? Hey, I'm talking to all you blind Beltway politicians (in both parties) ... plus the Old Boys Club running Wall Street (into the ground) ... plus all you fat-cat CEOs (with megamillion parachutes) ... and all your buddies scamming everybody else to get on the Forbes 400. You are proof of Lord Acton's warning: "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
It's backfiring! You folks turned our America from a great capitalistic democracy into a meddling socialist economy. Still you don't get it. You're acting like teen addicts tripping on an overdose of "greed-is-good" testosterone while your caricature of conservative economics would at best make a one-line joke on Jay Leno.

Here are 11 reasons your manipulations are sabotaging the great principles of leaders like Friedman and Reagan:

Eleven reasons America is the new top socialist economy - MarketWatch
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Make Immigration Work for Working Immigrants

In addition to the reduced waiting times for green cards from H.R. 5882, Congress can take other steps. It can fix the labor certification process for skilled immigrants under which the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) requires companies to engage in expensive and time-consuming advertisements to show no qualified Americans are available for certain jobs. Neither the law nor the original DOL regulations required such advertisements. Yet DOL is using its questionable authority to, among other things, audit thousands of green card cases from the nation’s largest immigration law firm, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy. The Fragomen firm has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court alleging DOL has exceeded its authority. Congressional oversight is warranted.

Cesar Conda :: Townhall.com :: Make Immigration Work for Working Immigrants
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Labor audit frustrates companies

Some of the nation's biggest companies are expected to face delays in securing green cards for some foreign workers due to a Labor Department audit that has sparked anger in legal and business circles.

The Labor Department announced this month that it was auditing labor applications filed by immigration law firm Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy LLP of New York, which the department alleged had improperly advised some clients seeking permanent resident status, or green cards, for foreign workers.

People familiar with the firm said it has about 3,000 green-card applications pending on behalf of companies, including International Business Machines Corp., General Electric Co. and Bank of America Corp.

The audit is expected to delay those applications, the department said. GE said it has 70 applications subject to the audit.

"Our actions on behalf of our clients have at all times been lawful and proper," said Austin Fragomen Jr., the firm's chairman.

Gregory Jacob, the Labor Department's solicitor, said the department routinely audits applications for green cards "to ensure the integrity of the program." The audits typically delay the applications by no more than eight months, he said. The department hasn't indicated that Fragomen's clients engaged in wrongdoing.

Daily Herald | Labor audit frustrates companies
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Sunday, September 21, 2008

why 'Indian philosophy' is adhoc?

What does "philosophy" refer to in our common parlance? Production of theoretical knowledge, of course. Whatever theoretical knowledge Indian traditions produced, in a way, is subordinated to the experiential knowledge. Heuristics, generalizations, tricks, etc, are descriptive. Focussing on arguments concerning the former, without telling what they are after (in this case, experiential knowledge) is just unproductive: that is,their hypothesis that Indian traditions are set of philosophies have not explained any thing at all; or explained only the set of the facts they have chosen to explain in the first place (and therefore, adhoc).


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Scott Adams Blog: My Views on the Dilbert Survey of Economists

As a general rule, I find this argument to be a good approach on a lot of issues. However, I have to disagree with you on this issue because I think there are fundamental reasons why it's impossible for us to copy the health care systems that "work" elsewhere. I'm going to assume that you are talking about the socialized systems that exist in Europe in my argument below.

Having just lived for a year in England, I had a chance to learn a bit about how the NHS (the UK National Health Services) system works. Everyone receives cheap and reasonable health care through the NHS, but the system is always short on funds and looking for good ways to cut costs. Medical care is inherently expensive and even the more socialist governments can't throw unlimited amounts of money at it. Since the NHS is legally required to pay for any approved medical treatment that a doctor deems necessary, they stand to lose a lot of money whenever a brand new and expensive drug/treatment is invented. Thus, they've identified a convenient loophole to the problem: don't approve any medical treatment as "safe" until the patent runs out and a generic brand is available. The consequence for Europeans is that they may not have access to the latest/greatest new medical treatments and are always a few years behind, but they still get good cheap health care that's guaranteed.

The problem, though, is that their system depends entirely on the US. The pharmaceutical industry in Europe is basically dead because there is no longer a market to sell new products. There's plenty of good basic research still done at universities, but no new drugs ever come out of universities directly. University researchers are concerned with scientific research, not fulfilling legal requirements for getting drugs approved and making a profit. There are still big European drug companies out there that invent new drugs all the time, but their entire business models are based on the profits they expect to earn selling new drugs to Americans overseas. Overall, the medical industry worldwide continues to invent new drugs/medical devices and improve our overall lifespan and standard of living, but only because Americans are willing to pay for it.

By now you probably know where I'm going with this. The only way we can successfully copy the European system is if we could find some large external market that's willing to keep paying the huge costs for new, patented drugs. We are that large external market for Europe and no other large market exists. If we copy their system, all these drug companies (both American and European) are either going to go bankrupt or they're going to just manufacture drugs they've already invented. This means nor more medical advances, no new medical technologies, and the same health care available to us when we're 30 as when we're 80. It's not worth it.

Scott Adams Blog: My Views on the Dilbert Survey of Economists 09/17/2008
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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Subprime Crisis

You need to inform yourself. First of all, the housing bubble was primarily fueled by errors on Wall Street, not Washington. The explosive growth of the mortgage-backed security industry created an environment that gave people lots of incentive to do really stupid things, like loan people money without requiring them to invest significantly in what they were purchasing or demonstrate that they had the money to pay back the loan. Secondly, here [businessweek.com] is just one of many available articles explaining that the really big hit has come from borrowers with good credit ratings and sufficient cash flow who simply do not wish to continue to pay the mortgage on a house that is no longer worth nearly what they paid for it. It turns out that you can default on your mortgage and all they can take is your house, not your other assets (who knew?).

Anyway, it's certainly not "authoritative," but here [google.com] is a funny and true cartoon that does a pretty fair job of explaining how the screwed up incentives turned normal people in financial fuck-up machines.

Slashdot | Trading the Markets With FOSS Software?
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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Court detains preacher with 86 wives

A Nigerian Muslim court Monday detained an 84-year-old Islamic preacher with 86 wives after he failed to heed a call by local leaders to divorce all but four of them.

The authorities in central Niger state charged Mohammed Bello with "insulting religious creed" and "unlawful marriages" after local chiefs and Muslim leaders gave him until September 7 to comply with Islamic sharia law, which allows a man to have no more than four wives at a time.

The preacher, who lives with his wives and some 170 children in the town of Bida, pleaded not guilty to the charges at an Upper Sharia Court in the state capital Minna.

Court detains preacher with 86 wives | Oddly Enough | Reuters
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Monday, September 15, 2008

Wall Street's troubles are yours, too

"The problem that has overcome the economy has its most recent roots in the creation of nearly $7 trillion of new residential real estate and consumer debt during the first 6 years of this decade," Daniel Alpert, managing director at investment bank Westwood Capital in New York, wrote in March. "Simply put, this level of debt creation was unprecedented - more than doubling the amount of homeowner and consumer (credit card and auto loan debt, for the most part) debt that existing at the end of 1999."
Wall Street's troubles are yours, too - Sep. 14, 2008
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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Telco Sues Municipality For Laying Their Own Fiber

I think you are missing a very key point, here. It's true that telcos were paid government funds to build a significant part of the telephone network. But it's also true that in the vast majority of cases, those parts are the UNPROFITABLE parts.

Let's say you have a water pumping service, doing business in town, and you're making whatever profits you are making. For this example, we'll ignore the fact that most communities have community water. Business is good, you're expanding to cover more and more houses, starting with the most profitable ones first. (densest neighborhoods)

But then de gubbmint comes in and tell you that you have to do a bunch of stuff in order to continue to do business, because of the benefits to the general health of the community or whatever. For example, since you provide water to some houses in your town, now you have to provide water to ALL houses in your town.

Now, it's not as though you wouldn't love to serve all the houses in the town, but some of those houses are over a mile apart! Just the cost to dig the pipes out that far will cost you over $10,000 per house! Since you are charging $50/month for water service, it's going to take almost 20 YEARS before you even break even on the base cost, nevermind the finance charges you'd incur to borrow the money to deliver the service the gubbmint requires!

And you can't charge the homeowners, either - they aren't buying anything, they didn't ask for it, and making them pay would be onerous on them, too.

So, in circumstances like these, it's very typical for the private company (your water company) to ask for funding to assist in the problem areas. It often comes as a sort of deal: Your water company enjoys a monopoly status, subject to various regulations that you have to perform, in exchange for funding to cover the plumbing for the unprofitable areas.

So the net effect goes something like this:

1) Your company is now a monopoly that must turn in a Profits and Loss statement, along with proof of regular water testing to the city council every month or so. You cover 100% of the houses in the community, and you have no effective competition. One of your concessions is that the municipality can levy taxes via your bills. You have to calculate this bill, and turn over the tax money to the city quarterly.

2) The city has now satisfied its goal of everybody having 100% availability to clean drinking water. It's paid for costs of plumbing by taking out a bond, secured against a tax raised against people's water bill.

3) Everybody who lives in the community now pays a 5% monthly tax on the water bill to cover the cost of plumbing outlying areas. Financially, it's a raise in your bill if you were already contracted with the water company when it was all private, it still brings benefits such as improved local economy resulting from the improved infrastructure.

Telco Sues Municipality For Laying Their Own Fiber
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Thursday, September 11, 2008

USCIS relying on Wikipedia

The USCIS has been known to use an ever-growing number of publicly available sources, including internet sources such as Wikipedia. AILA members have been receiving denials based on the USCIS's use of information found on Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia to which anyone in the world may contribute information. As such, it should not be considered an objective or completely reliable source of information. SCOPS advised that it has notified the service centers and there should not be additional RFEs or denials based upon Wikipedia.

It should be noted that, as a corollary, applicants and petitioners should not try to use Wikipedia as support for their filings or arguments, since it has been deemed an unreliable source.

MurthyDotCom : MurthyBulletin
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The Project Gutenberg eBook of Damm, A book of Calumny by H. L. Mencken.

A pillow for free will to fall upon—but one loaded with disconcerting brickbats. Where the occupants of this last trench of libertarianism err is in their assumption that the pulls of their antagonistic impulses are exactly equal—that the individual is absolutely free to choose which one he will yield to. Such freedom, in practise, is never encountered. When an individual confronts alternatives, it is not alone his volition that chooses between them, but also his environment, his inherited prejudices, his race, his color, his condition of servitude. I may kiss a girl or I may not kiss her, but surely it would be absurd to say that I am, in any true sense, a free agent in the matter. The world has even put my helplessness into a proverb. It says that my decision and act depend upon the time, the place—and even to some extent, upon the girl.

The throwing overboard of free will is commonly denounced on the ground that it subverts morality and makes of religion a mocking. Such pious objections, of course, are foreign to logic, but nevertheless it may be well to give a glance to this one. It is based upon the fallacious hypothesis that the determinist escapes, or hopes to escape, the consequences of his acts. Nothing could be more untrue. Consequences follow acts just as relentlessly if the latter be involuntary as if they be voluntary. If I rob a bank of my free choice or in response to some unfathomable inner necessity, it is all one; I will go to the same jail. Conscripts in war are killed just as often as volunteers. Men who are tracked down and shanghaied by their wives have just as hard a time of it as men who walk fatuously into the trap by formally proposing.

Even on the ghostly side, determinism does not do much damage to theology. It is no harder to believe that a man will be damned for his involuntary acts than it is to believe that he will be damned for his voluntary acts, for even the supposition that he is wholly free does not dispose of the massive fact that God made him as he is, and that God could have made him a saint if He had so desired. To deny this is to flout omnipotence—a crime at which, as I have often said, I balk.

The Project Gutenberg eBook of Damm, A book of Calumny by H. L. Mencken.
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Scott Adams on Dale Carnegie's technique

On day one, our instructor described the method he would use. It was simple to the point of making me think it couldn't work. The Dale Carnegie approach to teaching public speaking is to compliment the speaker for whatever he or she does well, and never mention any flaws.

That's it. That's the entire technique.

The theory is that when you focus on flaws, you don't address the underlying problem of being uncomfortable in front of people. If you tell someone to take his hands out of his pockets, he will, but he'll transfer his nervous habit to some other mannerism. At best, you end up with robotic speakers afraid to do something wrong. I had already taken a few public speaking classes that focused on flaws, and I can confirm that the successful graduates were a bit like R2D2.

Frequently wrong, never in doubt » What Would Dad Say
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Senator Questions Rise In US Texting Prices

Text messaging is a 100 billion dollar industry in the U.S. That's bigger than all the movies, all the music, and all the video games in the entire world put together. The current cost of a single 140 byte text message is 40 cents (which is obfuscated by the fact that the sender AND the receiver are both paying 20 cents each). I can get a letter hand delivered to any doorstep in the U.S. for about the same price. The cost of a text message to the carrier is virtually ZERO. Yet somehow, they are saying that 40 cents is a fair price.

Senator Questions Rise In US Texting Prices
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Friday, September 05, 2008

Money is a unit of measurement

Money is a unit of measurement. It offers a level of abstraction, just like everything else. I don’t see why you need abstract concepts like mithya and maya to explain an abstract concept. Using unknown Indic terms would only lead to more confusion.

Consider this, a village is producing 2 objects, eggs and apples. All you need to know is the exchange. How many apples will I get for an egg and vice versa. Suppose the village produces 5 objects, we now have to maintain a exchange table of 5c2 = 5 * 4 /2 = 10, make it 10, 10 * 9 /2 = 45, n objects results in nc2. I hope you are beginning to see the problem.

This is the exact same problem encountered when you try to relatively measure weight, length, etc. It becomes unwieldy and inefficient. The problems in these areas are solved by standardizing on weight and length and everything else is compared to this standard. If you are considering money as mithya/maya, then length and weight are as well.

In the good (??) old days, Gold was the standard for measuring value and everything was based on that. Since carrying Gold around is somewhat inefficient and cumbersome, paper money came into beign. Any paper money created was backed up by Gold. It carried some value. Now, we have the fractional reserve system and federal banks to screw up with this unit of measurement. If its not standardized (pegged to gold), we have a unit of measurement which is variable. Consider what would happen if we have a unit of length that varies over time. The Govt and Central Bank in addition to stealing large amount of money in the form of taxes, also has a license to print money which is not backed up by production. This creates a stealth tax (inflation or something), which devalues money over a period of time.

The tyranny of Govt doesn’t end there. Govt also screws up the economy by distorting the information. Prices convey information. It is an approximation of how much one values stuff produced. This information disseminates through a complex latticework, known as the market and every person involved in the economy takes decisions, whether to produce or not to (demand and supply), based on this information. If the information is correct, people take good decisions, eg, I would see that people value porn dvds more than apples and would shift my resources in that direction. These information channels optimize resource allocation, which are always fixed. However, Govt interferes with the information channels in hundreds of ways (subsidies, etc), thereby distorting the information that people need. This leads to a lot of people taking bad decisions. Cumulatively, a lot of people taking bad decisions (coz of the distorted information) over a long period of time, is not good, to say the least.

37000 feet and cruising: So I am sick + some learnings and thoughts

Ensure that the entire process is under your control. This is very important. There will be temptations to do that deal with a large company who will get their entire sales force to sell your product. It will be lucrative to get integrated with this large pan-indian bank so that your cash management becomes a trivial problem. Trust me, this will not work. The fact that you want to do any deal with an external party means that you feel that the problem is a difficult one for you to tackle. Wisdom has taught us that the only reason the external party agrees to do the deal is they don't realize how difficult the problem is. In the initial days, it's important for every company to have full ownership and a fool-proof plan they can implement to solve the difficult problems they come across.

Never hire through recruiters. We have found that the best way to hire is through referrals and through job portals. Recruiters are just lousy. If your HR person is using a recruiter or wants to use one, it just means they don't want to put in the effort to do the job themselves. Of course the best hires are people who have worked with other team members in the past.

37000 feet and cruising: So I am sick + some learnings and thoughts
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Ease norms for internet calls, Trai tells govt

Prices of domestic long-distance calls are expected to halve to around 50 paise a minute and those for international calls fall by a fifth if the recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to permit internet service providers (ISPs) to offer unrestricted internet telephony are cleared by the government.

Allowing ISPs to extend their internet telephony operations will effectively create an alternative domestic telephone network and has been criticised by mobile service providers as being unfair.

Two years ago, the government permitted telecom licensees to offer unrestricted internet telephony as part of their licence conditions. None of the mobile operators has done so yet, principally because the service would drive down prices and impact average revenue per user, which is already among the lowest in the world.

ISPs are currently allowed to offer Net calls but subject to certain restrictions such as between two personal computers, one in India and the other anywhere in the world; between a subscriber with a voice over internet protocol (VOIP) phone in India and a subscriber with a similar device in any country; and also between a PC in India and a fixed or mobile number in another country.

If the new policy is accepted, consumers will be able to call through the Net directly to fixed line and mobile numbers across the country and vice-versa. They can do so either through the PC or through a VOIP phone or from a landline fitted with an additional device.

Ease norms for internet calls, Trai tells govt
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Canon officially drops 50D, new point-and-shoots

To be honest, they’re extremely straightforward, even more so than normal point-and-shoots, so I’ll just give you the basics. They all feature optical image stabilization (nice) and the usual shooting modes, face detection, and so on.

Let’s go in alphabetical order, like we found these filed at a liberry. Cameras not shown at actual size.

and A2000 ($200 and $250, respectively)

Both the A1000 and A2000 have 10 megapixels and the same extra features. Difference is the A2000 has 6x zoom instead of 4x, looks better, and has a 3″ LCD instead of a 2.5″.

CrunchGear » Archive » Canon officially drops 50D, new point-and-shoots
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Top Ten Reasons the Nintendo Wii is NOT the Greatest

If you have followed my writing over the past few years, you wouldn’t be surprised to find out that I’m not the biggest Nintendo Wii fan on the planet. When I hear people talking about how it’s the greatest console ever, I just find it extremely difficult to understand how they could possibly think this. Nintendo fanboys sometimes remind me of women with battered person syndrome. The Wii is basically like a busted crack head who beats his wife (the Nintendo Wii fanboy) yet she still loves him for some reason. It simply does not make the least bit of sense. Don’t take my post too personal. I still enjoy certain aspects of the Wii. I just find that it’s a highly flawed system that receives far more kudos than it should have.

Top Ten Reasons the Nintendo Wii is NOT the Greatest : Kezins.com
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Netbooks quickbooks

Real-world people record their real-world transactions: manufacturing, physical movement of goods, and the system records the facts in Accounting. NetBooks is an accounting system at it’s heart, but one without the need to deal with accounting screens. This should not come as a surprise, given Founder Ridgley Evers’s own background: he was co-founder at QuickBooks, the de facto standard for small businesses.

The User Interface is nothing to call home about. You certainly won’t find the lively charts and dashboards seen at Salesforce.com, NetSuite, SugarCRM, Zoho CRM …etc.  But having a simplistic UI is one thing, making it outright boring is another, and hard to use is a capital crime.  In NetBooks you basically navigate through small text lists, then double -click on an item to drill down to more details, wait long (the system, at least the trial one feels very slow) for several overlapping screens to pop up. You have to close or move around some of these pop-ups to see what’s underneath.  And whoever came up with the idea of clicking on those tiny arrows should be banned from web design for life. 

quickbooks| Zoli’s Blog
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Thursday, September 04, 2008

McKnight Principles

As our business grows, it becomes increasingly necessary to delegate responsibility and to encourage men and women to exercise their initiative. This requires considerable tolerance. Those men and women, to whom we delegate authority and responsibility, if they are good people, are going to want to do their jobs in their own way.

Mistakes will be made. But if a person is essentially right, the mistakes he or she makes are not as serious in the long run as the mistakes management will make if it undertakes to tell those in authority exactly how they must do their jobs.

Management that is destructively critical when mistakes are made kills initiative. And it's essential that we have many people with initiative if we are to continue to grow. - William L. McKnight, 3M

McKnight Principles

A Century of Innovation

A Century of Innovation is a celebration of the values and innovative thinking that makes 3M unique. Perseverance, ingenuity and creativity have made 3M's first 100 years a century of success.

For years, people around the world have looked to 3M for products and ideas that solve problems and make their lives easier and better. Our achievements are the foundation of a proud past and the bright future of many innovations to come.

We have a history of investing in the communities in which we operate by providing jobs for local residents and supporting education, the environment, and social and economic development. 3M also is recognized as a leader in environmental protection and a pioneer in pollution prevention.

Much of 3M's rich culture comes from the principles that William L. McKnight, former President and Chairman of the Board, set forth. McKnight believed "management that is destructively critical when mistakes are made kills initiative. It's essential that we have many people with initiative if we are to continue to grow." It is this growth that continues to make 3M a leader in the 21st century.

The 3M Story

Read about the first 100 years of 3M, a global, diversified technology company committed to providing practical and ingenious solutions to help customers succeed.

A Century of Innovation The 3M Story (pdf, 6.82 MB)

The History of Programming Languages

We first saw the "History of Programming Languages" diagram, created by Éric Lévénez, while visiting our French office. We were so taken with the level of detail and the visual impact of viewing 50 years of programming history that we wanted to come up with a way to share it more widely.

O'Reilly -- The History of Programming Languages
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letscall.me - Anonymous phone number - accept calls anonymously

How it works

  • Pick your own url, such as letscall.me/johndoe
  • Instead of giving out your phone number, share your letscall.me page
  • People who want to call you input their phone number on your letscall.me page, and then we will call them and connect them with you.
  • Your phone will ring with the other person's Caller ID - since the other person needs to be receive the call first, they cannot fake their number
  • Talk with the other person as often and as long as you want
  • If you want to block the person from calling you, just tell us their number

Anonymous phone number - accept calls anonymously
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