Thursday, November 24, 2011

Remembering the Bystander Effect this Thanksgiving Day

The Bystander Effect " is a situation where "people refuse to intervene when a crime is being committed - also referred to as the as "Genovese syndrome. The Wikipedia page for the Bystander effect gives examples of incidents that have been affected by this effect. On the website of the Charter of human rights and freedoms says :
Every person must come to the aid of anyone whose life is in peril, either personally or calling for aid, by giving him the necessary and immediate physical assistance, unless it involves danger to himself or a third person, or he has another valid reason
My story stems from a recent trip to New York on the 2167 Acela Express. Across the aisle were a elderly couple. Since they were already on the train I think they got on the train in Boston. Before the train arrived at the Newark, NJ - Penn Station (NWK) the Amtrak conductor told them that thier station was approaching. As soon as the train stopped the husband went to get his bags and their age showed as he shuffled slowly towards the door. I was on my computer using Acela's wifi  and noticed the lady was getting up very slowly towards the door. My brain was telling me that since the train stops for less than 2 minutes they were going to miss their stop. No one including me was getting up to help them. I sprang from my seat only when the husband cried out that the train door was closed. I gave him the emergency phone to call for help but we could not determine how to operate it. I ran towards the conductor  who was in another compartment and by this time the train had just started moving. I am not sure about the Amtrak rules here but the conductor made a motion towards her walkie-talkie but changed her mind and said she will some by shortly.

This couple were over 80 years old and were pretty calm despite missing the stop. I asked them if they wanted to make a call and they did not have a phone. My phone did not have a signal but soon the conductor came along and kindly offered her phone to them to make a call. The train stopped at the next scheduled stop which is Philadelphia and the couple were now helped by me and a few other passengers and I hope they got the next train back. It was the lady's 80the birthday and they were traveling to New Jersey to attend a funeral.

My 2 takeaways here are :

  • When you see someone in trouble especially in a situation like this don't hesitate to help immediately. I could have done that as soon as I saw they were unable to get down by themselves and save them time and distress.
  • I have missed trains/ stops in my life and I don't think I took the situation in as calmly as these couple. I must remember to do that when faced with a unusual situation.
This situation is not for personal situations alone . In the Harvard Business Review   article "What every leader needs to know about followers "- Barbara Kellerman (2007) says that bystanders who follow leaders trend to drag down the organization. Her definition of bystanders is people who observe but do not participate. I am definitely planning not be a bystander. how about you?

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Know who is willing to work for non-profit wages on short-term project. - needed ASAP to help drive traffic to a fun-raiser for Ssubi Foundation, the brain child of Laura Luxemburg, supporting 1/2M Ugandans of Luweero by supplying meds, ed, farm, & jewelery center to become sustainable. We need a social media intern to drive attendance to "THE CIRCLE", a play written by actress, Tina Lifford, an amazingly powerful adventure of 7 women, ages 17-70. Think "Vagina Monologues" meets "Love Letters". For more information, contact project website :

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Madhuri Dixit Moving back to India

Famous Bollywood actress Madhuri Dixit who currently lives in Denver, CO is moving back to India. She tweeted the news out a few hours ago and her fans in India will be overjoyed ( unless of course her Twitter account got hacked;) Just speculating here) She is currently having a culinary fight with famous masterchef Sanjeev Kapoor on the "Amul Food Food Maha Challenge" on Foodfood channel. This makes sense since she is now participating a lot in movies and TV shows and the 8375 miles and about 20 to 25 hours travel tme is quite a commute.

 I was in India July-Aug of this year and the economy there is booming, we also hear of a lot of entrepreneurs also moving back to India . In my mind the barriers to a good standard of life in India are traffic and corruption and mashuri has to worry about neither - I think. Good luck Madhuri! Here is a song that all of us sang to in India from the movie Tezaab in 1988 .

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Opportunities during a Hurricane : My story

My first foray into online advertising was in 2003. Google had just introduced 'Adwords" and Hurricane Isabel was poised to strike. I got my Google Adwords account and seriously pondered what I would sell online. My only online marketing experience at that time was having Affiliate links to Barnes and Noble in 1999 and Amazon.
I did what every entrepreneur should do - be first to market and also take a risk. My first ad campaign had a  budget of $75 and used the keywords " Hurricane", " Hurricane Isabel" to advertise for all things the book "The Magic School Bus Inside A Hurricane by Joanna Cole ". These were the early days of Adwords and online advertising and the only competition I had for my ad was another ad that advertised a Carribean beach resort .

Business wise this was a poor decision on my part. During a Hurricane people are looking for information on disasters and maybe a ad selling emergence supplies may be a good idea but an ad selling books ( no matter how good) was a bad idea.

Learning wise that was the best $75 I could have spent for some real world online advertising experience. I was hooked. Instead of giving up I began to teach myself SEO and online advertising. Working on weekends and often late at night I built a great small business "shapra llc" and became a nights and weekend entrepreneur. The arrival of my second son and later the advent of Social Media prevented me from focusing on this business and the rest is history.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

[APPEAL] Postpartum psychosis & a salute to Heather Coleman

Tom Jackman of State of NOVA Blog of the Washington Post posted an article today on my friend Heather Coleman. Heather tells her story of the affect of postpartum psychosis on her personally. Please read the article on Washington

"Postpartum depression affects between 12 and 20 percent of new moms in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, though some mothers’ support groups think the number is higher. The symptoms can range from mild to severe, and can be an indicator of mental illness."

Heather has told her story to " warn both new mothers and their families of the serious dangers of postpartum syndrome." and also needs your help :

a) Help DC Police let Officer Boone of Forestville connect with Heather Coleman ( Chief Lanier you must help) 
b) Track down the Mr. James and Sister from Richmond  with the phone number 240- 216-XXXX who helped heather.

Thank you all in advance for your help. Heather I salute you.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Visiting Tirumala atop 7 hills on pilgrimage

The Tirumala Venkateshwara temple is 3200 ft above sea level, and is about 10.33 sq miles in area. It comprises seven peaks, representing the seven hoods of Adisesha, thus earning the name, Seshachalam. The seven peaks are called Seshadri, Neeladri, Garudadri, Anjanadri, Vrishabhadri, Narayanadri and Venkatadri. It is around 500 km (310 mi) from Hyderabad, India  where my parents stay.

Legend has it that anyone visiting this temple will be cleansed of all their sins. Since my childhood we have visited this temple once every few years and the last time I had visited here was in 2007,

Learn about the temple at the website of the temple :
The Wikipedia page of the Tirumala Venkateshwara temple  provides a interesting read.

Some points of interest from the wikipedia page:

  • Most visited temple with over 30-40 million visitors a year
  • Second richest pilgrimage center  in the world ( just moved to 2nd place after the discovery of wealth at Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Kerala
  • Origins almost 300 BC
Due to the large volumes of pilgrims there is usually a wait to see the deity. I have spent on an average 3 to 5 hours each time I have visited to worship here. Another highlight of this visit was the trek to the top almost 11 kilometres with about 3550 steps that are steep at times. I am proud to say my 5 year old also trekked with me and I must confess he and my daughter beat me in both speed and agility while climbing.

Here are a few pictures from the scenes during the climb and feel free to ask me any questions on this temple and the pilgrimage.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Friday, May 27, 2011

Monday, May 23, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Stark and unexpected lesson in personal safety

Today was a very eventful day- It began with a visit to the White House and ended with a realization that your world is controlled sometimes by forces that you have no control over.

I am a regular listener to WTOP ( other than when I am listening to Jack Diamond on Mix 107.3) and hear the every day headlines like "Fairfax woman wakes to man's hands around her neck" or Dog shot after attacking school children on bus, and usually being human beings we always assume it is happening to someone else.

We had some friends over and were our usual selves joking chatting and generally making a lot of noise and then we decided to move from the Family room to the dining room. We heard the door sensor beep and that was unusual as everyone was right there. Looking into the family room we saw the deck door was slightly open and a stranger was standing there.He said his wife was beating him and he was running away from her. My first reaction was how did he get to the deck which has no staircase and is quite high from the ground. my first reaction was to get him out of the house and so I heard him say things like " my daughter goes to school with your son " I told him that I wanted him out of the house immediately. it helped that the house was crowded and he was outnumbered and he left through the front door. We called 911 and we did not see which direction this person went. As soon I mentioned intruder to the 911 operator she immediately asked me for details and description and said the Police were looking for a person of interest . Within a few minutes the detectives arrived along with a sniffer dog.

At the time of writing  the police appear to know who they are looking for as he allegedly fled from a accident scene and he has not been caught yet. I think he scaled the walls to climb the deck and was running away from the sniffer dogs chasing him. When it started raining he may have tried the deck door and open it.

We are lucky we had invested in a  Security system that let us know when the door was opened alerting us. You can never be too prepared.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Really ! 800 yards from the Pakistani Military Academy - Osama Bin Laden's last hideout

In an article on NDTV on the Osama Bin Laden's death there are two things that headlined my attention

  • Osama was just 800 yards from the Pakistan Military Academy
  • Bin Laden's killing at a compound near a city that is home to the military academy, a brigade and thousands of army personnel could prove to be an embarrassment to the Pakistani military
Having grown up in India I am quite surprised that he could live in a house in what seems to be a close knit community ( I am going by pictures on TV) and Google maps without detection for so long. Granted we do not know yet how long he was living here, granted press reports say the house was built  not more than 6 years ago. Maybe he had several of such houses built ( reportedly costing 1M). This did not look like a mansion and the surrounding houses seem typically for any South Asian town.

In NDTV the Pakistan Ambassador to the UK Wajid Shamshul Hasan said that he thinks that the Pakistan knew about Osama's whereabouts in Pakistan only about a week to 10 days.

 Interesting to see reaction from  India that this death of Osama so close to the Pakistan Army base vindicates India's assertion that Pakistan has been a haven for terrorists.
Congrats to the US teams that worked over 4 years to track this very carefully and patiently and kept it from leaking.

A 6 ft four man with all his medical needs in a small town ( where people talk) went unspotted ? Come on !

Update :

It seems that the fact that the house did not have any phone or internet and also the residents burned their own trash aroused suspicion.
As the Economist said The long and bloody decade that began on September 11th 2001 is not quite over. But it may at last be drawing to an end.

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

NOVA commuters - Watch the Dulles underground station debate very closely

plan_view of Dulles airport Station
If you are a regular commuter on the Dulles Toll Road and Route 267 to Leesburg you should be paying attention to the debate underground or overground. The budget debate affects you even if you are probably not going to the airport by metro.

To Build the station underground or not,  is a $300 Million question 
The Virginia transportation secretary said tolls would increase as a result of the decision, and the state would not tolerate it.
Reason for building underground and incurring these costs:
  • "Better for baggage-laden travelers, who will not have to trek 1,150 feet to an aboveground station to stand in steamy Washington summers or icy winter winds ("
  • "Preserves the architectural vision of the masterful Eero Saarinen that has made Dulles a design icon worldwide"
  • People will not use the metro ( 5000 riders a day)
The alternative is an aerial station in front of Parking Garage 1 across from the Main Terminal.
When i drive to the Washington Dulles Airport my favorite parking spot is Garage 1. I do not wait for the bus but use the already existing underground tunnel to get to the terminal. I think the difference is about 2 minutes between having the station underground or overground.
Takeaway :
As a user of the Dulles Toll Road and a frequent user of the Dulles Airport my vote is for saving $300 Million and building the station overground ( see National and BWI) for examples. When I leave for India ( I visit frequently ) we have enough baggage that would prevent us from taking the metro anyway so we won’t be affected whether the station is underground or overground.
Since to get to the silverline I have to go into DC and then change to the orange line which increases the time by over 1 hour. The silverline will be a boon for light luggage travelers from DC and other stations along the orange line and I doubth they would change their mind if the station was overground.
In other news if you want to go from Gaithersburg  ( Montgomery County) to BWI Airport (  or BWI airport to Gaithersburg) for $5 check this new ICC bus route

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Arriving May 3rd GT Express . Send Bullock cart

Road work equipment - Nagaram India ( manthani)

The title of this post is  paraphrased from real telegrams that my family used to send when we made our annual vacation visits to my parent's place of birth in a rural village in the suthern state of India Andhra Pradesh. Every year till we went to high school we would make the journey from which ever city we lived in at that time to these adorable villages using autorickshaws, taxis, trains, buses culminating in a bullock cart ride for about 10 kms.

There are several points to this post other than nostalgia

a) Communications :it was not very long ago that radio(not the car radio) was an important tool for news worldwide. Compare that to today half (47%) of all U.S. adults get at least some local news 

and information on their phone or tablet.

I have used telegrams into the late 80's in India. This website i found through a Google search tells you telegrams can still be sent

Till I came to the US 12 years ago i was a avid letter writer. Some days i wish I had continued the habit ( the USPS will certainly be happy)

During our vacations we would also send an advanced letter to my grandfather to expect us during a certain month. This letter would travel the same route we did using almost the same modes of transport till it reached a bus stop 10 kms away (Begampeta village) their the parttime postman who was also the village Dhobi (village level small business doing laundry)picked up the sealed mail bag and walked the 10 miles to deliver the mail to the village. In the later years the postman  got a bicycle.

During these visits as a kid I would remember the year when the village got electricity. My grandfather had a radio before electricity powered by a 9v eveready battery.Today if Twitter has a fail whale my adrenalin starts flowing.

2) Transport. I am really lucky . How many of you can say that you have learnt the art of driving a Bullock cart specially when you were less than 10 years old. I did and its a amazing experience. Happiness i guess is very relative, you are either satisfied that you are doing reasonably very well or be unhappy that the joneses have something you don't have.

The memories of getting on the GT Express train traveling across India and experiencing the innovative vendors on the train and on stations en route selling food, news papers, tea or coffee, sweets. Snake charmers, parrots that tell your fortune all of these were exciting for us and I do not think I ever thought I wish I was on a plane ( BTw as I write this I am on a plane with wifi) We would get off the usually 24 hour train ride and get on a bus. Did you know the way to reserve a seat was to run as the bus pulled in and throw a piece of your belonging through the window of a running bus to stake a claim . Fights over seats were not uncommon. We looked forward eagerly to the bullock cart ride. The people carrying bullock cart is different from the picture above. it would have a thatched roof and hay on the floor and a blanket thrown on top . The hay was to cushion your bottom. There were no roads only bullock cart tracks. Traveling in this fashion rattled every but of your body which no other form of transport has done for me again.

Today I drive a Toyota Camry Hybrid on the Dulles Toll Road. Buses now  go several times a day to our ancestral village and cell phones are the predominant way to communicate.

View Larger Map

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

1.2 M Tweets during Oscar night says @tweetreach

The Tweetreach blog has a interesting post on tweets during the Oscar Awards night with a nice infographic

We tracked more than a million tweets during this year’s Oscars telecast (along with partner Mass Relevance). So what did Twitter think of the show? Here’s our analysis of key moments and tweets from the show.

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Twitter got pretty excited when:

  • Melissa Leo dropped the f-bomb during her Best Supporting Actress speech

  • Toy Story 3 won Best Animated Feature

  • Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross won Best Original Score for The Social Network

  • The cast of Harry Potter, Twilight and other films were autotuned

  • Oprah announced the Best Documentary Feature award (and when Banksy didn’t win for Exit Through the Gift Shop)

  • Natalie Portman won the Best Actress Oscar

  • The King’s Speech won for Best Picture

Other spikes were when:

  • Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake presented the animated awards

  • James Franco dressed as Marilyn Monroe

  • Christian Bale won Best Supporting Actor

  • Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi’s performed the Oscar-nominated song from Tangled

  • Colin Firth won the Best Actor Oscar

  • PS22 sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow

National Sleep Awareness Week (March 7-13th, 2011) it's time to help put an end to poor sleep habits right now!

Quote startLess than half of Americans admit to getting a good night's sleep.Quote end

 According to a study released by the National Sleep Foundation, only 42 percent of Americans admit to getting a good night's sleep. That's less than half! Like so many others, bloggers often forego sleep in favor of balancing family, friends, and work. Add on the time spent tweeting, updating Facebook, or checking into Four Square and the average blogger has very little time left for themselves.

The makers of the Sound Asleep™ Comfort Pillow are asking bloggers nationwide to join them in celebrating National Sleep Awareness Week by participating in the first ever One Week to Better Sleep Blogger Challenge. Developed with busy bloggers in mind, this weeklong health challenge is designed to help spread the importance of getting a good night’s sleep.

Not a blogger? That’s ok, take the challenge anyway! Visit the One Week to Better Sleep Blogger Challenge onFacebook ( to ‘like’ the page and join the challenge roster.

Step 1: Follow the seven nightly rules during National Sleep Awareness Week.

Step 2: Blog about the experience.

Step 3: Grab a challenge badge and share.

Sneak peak at challenge highlights: 

  •     Night #2 No alcohol or caffeine….
  •     Night #3 No sugary snacks…
  •     Night #7 No TVs or laptops…


The challenge runs Monday, March 7th through Sunday, March 13th. Come join and get healthy!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Peer-to-peer Healthcare from Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project

Going online to find health related information is not as prevalent as we think. More people rightly look for health professionals and then family. Good report to see.

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Many Americans turn to friends and family for support and advice when they have a health problem. This report shows how people’s networks are expanding to include online peers, particularly in the crucible of rare disease.

The most striking finding of the national survey is the extent of peer-to-peer help among people living with chronic conditions. One in four internet users living with high blood pressure, diabetes, heart conditions, lung conditions, cancer, or some other chronic ailment (23%) say they have gone online to find others with similar health concerns. By contrast, 15% of internet users who report no chronic conditions have sought such help online.

My first SEO book 2003 Shari Thurow

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Today is the birthday of Dr. Alice Hamilton first woman appointed to the faculty of Harvard University

Great feature from the census department.

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Profile America -- Sunday, February 27th.  Today marks the birthday of a remarkable woman doctor -- Alice Hamilton, born in 1869.  She was the first woman appointed to the faculty of Harvard University, where she taught for many years.  At the same time she became a leading expert in the developing field of occupational health.  Hamilton was a pioneer in the field of toxicology, studying job site illnesses and the dangerous effects of industrial metals and chemical compounds on the human body.  After receiving many honors, she died at the age of 101.  In the U.S., there are 170,000 medical scientists, more than half of them women.  You can find these and more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau, online at


Searchial Marketing by @eyeinfo This is the first copy

My first Storify story FredNMT3 Conference

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Differences Between Mobile and Tablet Advertising - @eMarketer

An Adobe-sponsored study found flashy iPad ads were more engaging and effective than their static print counterparts, and earlier research from UM and Time Inc. indicated that videos were the most desired feature of iPad ads.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Vote for Epic Change

Message from Founder of

In parallel with our current efforts to support Mama Lucy's dream to build a secondary school, we've begun to reach out for grants to support the future of Epic Change. We recently applied for a $25,000 grant from WeMedia and we'd love your vote in support of our application. It literally takes less than 2 minutes.
To vote, click the "I agree" icon on our application here. You'll need to register in the upper-right hand corner to make your vote count. It's quick and simple. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out.

recycling rocks

Robots in my house

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Happy Birthday, #SBBuzz! #sbbuzz today 8:00 – 10:00 PM EST

I really love the #sbbuzz tweetchat that Pam O Hara and Michelle Riggins of started this according to me the first small business tweet chat. They have been busy cooking something new up at and I was thrilled to see this post about today's #sbbuzz chat

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When we started the #sbbuzz chat 2 years ago today, our primary goal was to connect with other tech savvy small business owners and work together to tackle the myriad challenges that the onset of social media, cloud computing, mobile technology and virtual collaboration present to small businesses.  We never anticipated that this effort would result in such amazing conversations, so many new friends and business opportunities, and even a few new employees.  We count this project as a HUGE success.

To commemorate the anniversary, we will be hosting our first #sbbuzz chat of 2011 this Tuesday, February 8th from 8:00 – 10:00 PM EST. Please join us for a fun look at where we as a small business community have come and where we are going.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Humor on Super Bowl weekend with this Cloris Leachman Video

Network Solutions® launched a raucous mockumentary video featuring the antics of Go Granny played by Academy Award winning actor, Cloris Leachman. This is the first time the leading web services company is releasing an internet video campaign during Super Bowl weekend, which will also be aired across key social channels including: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, BlogHer and a dedicated video page at

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Facebook luring status updates with free wifi access to Facebook only in the air

Seems a little restricted to allow free access to Facebook only. Will be interesting to watch. When Google gave free internet they did not have any restrictions. Go Google !

Amplify’d from

Seven carriers -- AirTran Airways, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, US Airways and Virgin America -- are giving free access to the social networking site over their inflight Wi-Fi service.

"Facebook continues to be the number one website visited by travelers using Gogo at 30,000 feet," said Jim Berrien, the chief revenue officer at Aircell. "Our commitment is to offer great inflight experiences to our users, and unique marketing opportunities to advertisers."


Super Bowl, the mother of all shared events : Dallas News #sb45

Great article in the Dallas News on how social media is being used for SuperBowl 45 written by THEODORE KIM. You should definitely go to read the entire article : an extract is below.

Did you see tweets from @visanfl ?

Last year, the NFL upped its Twitter engagement and, for the first time, tried to curate discussion about the Super Bowl by tagging all of its game-related tweets with the moniker #sb44.

This year, the league launched a section of its website devoted entirely to Twitter. It even has a sponsor: credit card giant Visa.

Amplify’d from

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers are stoking the passions of millions on Facebook. Athletes are tweeting out Super Bowl party plans.

And companies from Coca-Cola to Mercedes-Benz USA have unveiled elaborate social media strategies that just a few years ago might have seemed nonsensical.

Consider Super Bowl XLV in Arlington the Social Media Super Bowl, the first in which tools like Facebook and Twitter will play such a central role in advertising, promotions and fandom.

Social media is by no means a recent phenomenon. Yet only in recent years has it gained the kind of mainstream foothold on Madison Avenue and among fans that has turned it into a transformational force. It has, in essence, changed how fans, companies and athletes interact with each other.


Super Bowl, the mother of all shared events : Dallas News #sb45

Great article in the Dallas News on how social media is being used for SuperBowl 45 written by THEODORE KIM. You should definitely go to read the entire article : an extract is below.

Did you see tweets from @visanfl ?

Last year, the NFL upped its Twitter engagement and, for the first time, tried to curate discussion about the Super Bowl by tagging all of its game-related tweets with the moniker #sb44.

This year, the league launched a section of its website devoted entirely to Twitter. It even has a sponsor: credit card giant Visa.

Amplify’d from

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers are stoking the passions of millions on Facebook. Athletes are tweeting out Super Bowl party plans.

And companies from Coca-Cola to Mercedes-Benz USA have unveiled elaborate social media strategies that just a few years ago might have seemed nonsensical.

Consider Super Bowl XLV in Arlington the Social Media Super Bowl, the first in which tools like Facebook and Twitter will play such a central role in advertising, promotions and fandom.

Social media is by no means a recent phenomenon. Yet only in recent years has it gained the kind of mainstream foothold on Madison Avenue and among fans that has turned it into a transformational force. It has, in essence, changed how fans, companies and athletes interact with each other.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Believing and knowing that India is a free country unlike Tibet, where there is suppression and religious freedom

I chanced upon this article and thought you may like a perspective from an Indian newspaper on Tibet. I would love to visit Tibet specially the train that goes from Beijing to Lhasa the world's highest railway, a 710-mile line that crosses the vertiginous Tibetan Plateau and forges a steel bond with the once-secluded Buddhist holy city of Lhasa.see article in NYT

Disclaimer: This blog is my own, contains my opinions and observations and do not necessarily reflect those of Network Solutions or its clients.
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Karma Topden former Indian ambassador to Mongolia on Sunday explained that Ogyen Trinley Dorje’s flight to India eleven years ago was fallout of the mounting pressure from Chinese to support Gyaltsen Norbu, Panchan Lama – the second highest spiritual head next to Dalai Lama that had been appointed by communist regime. “ The Karmapa did not want to be put in this position of going against the Dalai Lama. So he decided to leave Tibet,” said Topden.
Going further Topden gave series of other reasons for Karmapa’s escape from Tibet, when he reached Dharamsala in January 2000, to meet Dalai Lama.  Topden who is also Spokesperson of Karmapa Reception Committee in Sikkim, said that Ogyen  was keen to receive oral teachings according to Karma Kagyu tradition from gurus of his lineage who had also received them directly from the 16th Karmapa directly, his predecessor, as they now reside in India. “The third reason was that he wanted to see the Dalai Lama and to receive His Holiness' blessings” said Topden.

Funny but realistic @economist cover

Friday, January 28, 2011

3 fold increase in people connecting computers to their TV Study says

I got this from @mediaPost research newsletter and I used to do this often i.e connect my computer to the TV but I no longer have to. I use either the Wii or mt Sony Bravo connect box to watch Netflix. I have a internet switch so I can add another device if need be and I am not sure if it is going to be the Roku box or Google TV.

My decision will be based on the number of Indian channels that will be offered for free on any box.

Do you watch internet Tv on your computer or on the TV?

Amplify’d from




TAGS:  Research, TV, Television, Computers


According to SideReel, an independent Web TV destination with a base of more than 10 million monthly unique users, 40% of respondents had connected their computer to their TV in the past month, a three-fold increase over last year's results. 60% of people connecting a device to a TV connect their computer, and 5% use a box like Roku, Boxee or Google TV.

The survey was conducted to identify usage patterns in the areas of social media, Web TV, and the use of connected devices. The average user age in 2009 was 26, and in the 2010 results, 29, but the report notes that there is no correlation between age and time spent watching online.

Average TV User Age (Winter 2010)

Age Group









Source: SideReel, January 2010

SideReel CEO, Roman Arzhintar, noted that "... for many, traditional TV watching is starting to supplement online watching, rather than the other way around."

Time Spent Watching Online TV


% of Respondents

> 5 Hours


5-20 Hours


Source: SideReel, January 2010

Social Media is important, but only for 25% of online TV watchers. While 29 % used Twitter, none of the check-in services including GetGlue, Miso, Clicker or Foursquare have significant usage among SideReel's TV watchers. Only 10% of users want to broadcast what they are watching or want to watch to their friends. Only 25% of SideReelers want to know what their friends are watching - down 50% from last year.

 24% of SideReel visitors subscribe to Netflix. 70 % of users who stream video via the Internet to their TV do so using Netflix. 30% of users stream video other than Netflix to their TVs.

Viewing and Connected Devices (% of Respondents; Previous Month):

  • 42% watched TV on a connected device via Netflix, or hooked computer to TV to watch
  •  40% streamed video to their TVs
  • 24% subscribe to Netflix
  • 30% stream video other than Netflix on their TVs

 Users who watch more than 10 hours per week are less likely to have cable than users who watch less than 10 hours online - these are likely tomorrow's cord cutters, or cord trimmers.  72% of SideReel users watch more than five hours of TV online per week.

30% of SideReel users own an iOS device. 16% own an Android device. More than 5% of SideReel users have an iPad - impressive for a new device.

Ownership of Mobile Devices (SideReel Users)


% of Respondents Owning



iPod Touch






Source: SideReel, January 2010

For additional information about the survey and SideReel, please visit here, or for the infographics, go here.



The survey was conducted to identify usage patterns in the areas of social media, Web TV, and the use of connected devices. The average user age in 2009 was 26, and in the 2010 results, 29, but the report notes that there is no correlation between age and time spent watching onlin

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Stirring the debate again : Who Will Win the Android vs. iPhone Race? @emarketer

I think the spot that Apple wants to be is in the hands of people all over the world which is android's reach. The real competition is now getting on as many phones and android not being tied to a particular phone does that. I haerad yesterday that Blackberry may get the ability to run Android Apps, which is good for BB users.

On the other hand there is no real reason for Apple to compete with Android. They are earning great profits, they have happy and passionate raving fans as customers. Just like Mac, the iphone develops its own audience that can only grow albeit not as fast as the android. Again android is open source and there are no Wall Street pressure on that so they can innovate and experiment more.

See this funny pic

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US Smartphone User Share, by Operating System, 2009-2012 (% of total)
eMarketer estimates that after exploding from just 6% of the US smartphone market in 2009 to 24% in 2010, Android will continue to gain share through 2012, when 31% of all smartphone users will own a device running the Google OS. That same year Apple’s share of the market will hold steady at 30%, up only slightly from 2009.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Google makes it harder for spammy on-page content to rank

In a note from Matt Cutts on the official Blog , Google refutes some of the buzz around web spam myth. Matt Cutts also explains what web spam is . The article is a good read and definitely wanted to make you aware of it as well.

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January brought a spate of stories about Google’s search quality. Reading through some of these recent articles, you might ask whether our search quality has gotten worse. The short answer is that according to the evaluation metrics that we’ve refined over more than a decade, Google’s search quality is better than it has ever been in terms of relevance, freshness and comprehensiveness. Today, English-language spam in Google’s results is less than half what it was five years ago, and spam in most other languages is even lower than in English. However, we have seen a slight uptick of spam in recent months, and while we’ve already made progress, we have new efforts underway to continue to improve our search quality.

Just as a reminder, webspam is junk you see in search results when websites try to cheat their way into higher positions in search results or otherwise violate search engine quality guidelines. A decade ago, the spam situation was so bad that search engines would regularly return off-topic webspam for many different searches. For the most part, Google has successfully beaten back that type of “pure webspam”—even while some spammers resort to sneakier or even illegal tactics such as hacking websites.

As we’ve increased both our size and freshness in recent months, we’ve naturally indexed a lot of good content and some spam as well. To respond to that challenge, we recently launched a redesigned document-level classifier that makes it harder for spammy on-page content to rank highly. The new classifier is better at detecting spam on individual web pages, e.g., repeated spammy words—the sort of phrases you tend to see in junky, automated, self-promoting blog comments. We’ve also radically improved our ability to detect hacked sites, which were a major source of spam in 2010. And we’re evaluating multiple changes that should help drive spam levels even lower, including one change that primarily affects sites that copy others’ content and sites with low levels of original content. We’ll continue to explore ways to reduce spam, including new ways for users to give more explicit feedback about spammy and low-quality sites.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pizza companies getting ready for SuperBowl cheese off

Whether you are into sports or not , this is a interesting story of the biggest pizza event of the year and face off with Pizza Hut, DOminos and Papa John's

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Pizza Hut, which moved its headquarters from Addison to Plano last week, expects to receive 1.3 million orders for at least 2 million pies, spokesman Chris Fuller said Thursday. That would be a gain of nearly 20 percent over last year’s Super Bowl estimate of 1.7 million Pizza Hut pizzas. Last Super Bowl, the chain had about 6,200 U.S. restaurants (not counting counter-style outlets in malls and airports). It has a similar number now, which averages out to about 300 pies per store.

Meanwhile, Papa John’s, one of Pizza Hut’s main rivals and the nation’s No. 3 chain, expects to sell 1 million pizzas in the U.S., according to John Schnatter, founder, chairman and co-chief executive of Louisville-based Papa John’s International Inc. That’s up from 900,000 pizzas sold last Super Bowl -- the biggest sales day in company history. With about 2,800 U.S. outlets both years, including about 50 in Dallas Fort Worth, that works out to about 340 pizzas per outlet.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

We are all Men of a Certain Age : TNT getting more interesting

Southland on TNT I chanced upon the TNT show " Men of a Certain Age" as I was exploring the VOD ( Video on Demand) on DirectTV., the fact that Ray Romano was in the series showing his grey hair was why I stopped to look at this TV serial. After a few episodes I am now officially a fan. The story line has a happily married Scott Bakula Andre Braugher trying to get out of living under the shadow of his celebrity dad , Ray Romano is divorced ( Not his fault actually in the story) and getting to date again and Andre Braugher Scott Bakula living life large as a bachelor. They meet regularly for breakfast and kid each other just like regular guys. The story is realistic as well as very entertaining and I cannot wait for them to appear in the VOD ( I do not have TNT in my channel line up) of course full episodes are available online

This is my story so far as to why I started paying attention to TNT and a few weeks after my discovery of TNT's drama "Men of a certain Age" comes this email from Klout announcing that I had been chosen to preview Southland. as a Klout influencer, I got a link to the preview and a nice talking card with it's own Police siren and a Southland shirt which I wear a lot nowadays. ( Read disclosure about the Klout influencer)
I watched an episode yesterday and Southland is interesting. It is different in the sense that there is no excess glamour and seeing it made me feel like I was watching a real police reality show. Based in Los Angeles and starring Among others REgina King who also  starred in the comedy "Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous,". I felt like this was shot by a camera following real police officers.
From the website : About Southland

From Emmy Award winners John Wells, Ann Biderman and Chris Chulack comes a raw and authentic look at a police unit in Los Angeles. From the beaches of Malibu to the streets of East Los Angeles, "Southland" is a fast-moving drama that will take viewers inside the lives of cops, criminals, victims and their families.
Michael Cudlitz ("A River Runs Through It") plays John Cooper a seasoned Los Angeles cop, assigned to train young rookie Ben Sherman (Ben McKenzie, "The O.C."). Cooper's honest, no-nonsense approach to the job leaves Sherman questioning whether or not he has what it takes to become a police officer.

Michael Cudlitz ("A River Runs Through It") plays John Cooper a seasoned Los Angeles cop, assigned to train young rookie Ben Sherman (Ben McKenzie, "The O.C."). Cooper's honest, no-nonsense approach to the job leaves Sherman questioning whether or not he has what it takes to become a police officer.

Cudlitz and McKenzie are joined by other cast members, including Regina King ("Ray," “Jerry Maguire”), who plays Detective Lydia Adams. Adams lives with and is the primary caregiver of her mother. Her partner, Detective Russell Clarke (Tom Everett Scott, "Boiler Room") is an unhappily married father of three. Michael McGrady ("The Thin Red Line") plays Detective Daniel "Sal" Salinger. Sal oversees fellow gang detectives Nate Moretta (Kevin Alejandro, "Drive," "Ugly Betty") and Sammy Bryant (Shawn Hatosy, "Alpha Dog"). Arija Bareikis (“Crossing Jordan”) plays patrol officer Chickie Brown, a single mom who dreams of being the first woman accepted into SWAT
I may not have started watching this if not for the prompting from Klout and that is more so because I feel like there are many Police dramas to watch. But this one seems different. Hope to watch another episode next week and report back.

Are you watching TNT? what is your opinion? What dramas do you recommend TNT or otherwise?

Buy from Amazon :
Men of a Certain Age: The Complete First Season
Southland: The Complete First Season (Uncensored)