I use SAS, a statistical processing software, for most of my work. While the software is very easy to learn, the way it is internally coded is ridiculously bad. It is another good case where the business team is good and knows what most of the users want. But the application is developed by software engineers who have absolutely no idea about those mathematical concepts. They also don’t seem to appreciate good software engineering practices. Extremely unhelpful error logs, bad interface and I can keep the crib going on.
SAS had nearly monopolized the statistical software market. Until R came. Initially R was used only by folks from academia. It had negligible market value once you exited academia. But things have changed a lot in recent years. Open source is a marvel. Lot of packages are available in R. SAS is a black-box. R has the distinct advantage of the analyst knowing what is going on in that package. It is a good competition.
I hope SAS improves their error logs and interface. Otherwise, it is going to lose the market leader position quite soon.
Last Resort is a US TV series (Wiki) . I finished watching all the 13 episodes. I should say that I was thoroughly entertained and mind-blown by this series. It had enough suspense to keep the thrill going on throughout the period when the series ran. Mind-blown because – for a TV series, the subject was very intense.
The most famous TV series generally end up being sitcom kind of stuff; lot of humor(and adult humour) kind of stuff makes the series run for a long time. For a series this intense, and this good, I was dejected to know that ABC decided against continuing for the whole year. Still, the 13 episodes makes it a great watch. The lead actors acted very well.
Sometimes I wish someone starts making such serious drama for Indian televisions. The current set of TV series can make anyone dumb. I heard someone tell the other day that watching the TV series makes one believe that crying and suffering of women is an integral part of Indian culture. Really? Is that what the TV series makes people believe in?
Most of the company-cafeterias that I’ve been to, across various cities in India, I’ve always realized that the cafeterias miss the “healthy” food option. Low-calorie food option is never an option. (Ok – I dont want to include Maggie on that ! That’s hideous). Coffee/tea filled with lots of sugar; roti splashed with ghee/butter; dosa made with recycled oil; the examples can go on forever.
No doubt that there has been a splurge in health issues with the young. I see lot of folks in the information technology sector; middle-aged men and women; and one thing they can all tell is that “cylinder is also a shape”. That’s how many of their shapes are. Paunch and sagging cheeks and what not.
Now, remember, these are people with enough disposable income. I wonder why hotel companies have not exploited this tendency to offer a new varient : fat-free or low-fat food options. In the USA, you could find the calories in each of the menu options in a few restaurants (Manhattan insists this, for example). This can nudge the health-conscious people to pick the menu option that has low calories (and can be expected to be reasonably priced higher).
Home-cooked style, low salt, less oil, less spicy kind of food can find many takers in those places. I wonder when hotel companies will start thinking about those. Or probably a good idea for a new venture?
I am yet to read any of Rashmi Bansal’s books. I’ve been wanting to read all of them for so long. I follow her blog and probably read most of her blogs she wrote the last couple of years (link).
I read her recent article just now. (link). She talks about how to write a bestseller. It is a brilliant article. I agree to her points on what needs to be done to write a best-seller. And it is indeed lame for Economic Times to suggest that if someone goes to IIM, their chances of writing a best seller is somehow higher. That’s utter bullshit. But then, in my opinion, that’s what the readers want to read and they get what they want to read (well – having a preconceived notion !). Somehow, get into IIM. Tra-la-la it is like a genie that transforms everything about oneself and makes any destination a successful one. How lame !
On another point, I felt guilty for not blogging yesterday. Yes. I want to keep writing, even if it ends up being a couple of sentences, everyday. Anything. Something random. I believe that at some point of time, my writing style will improve. I thought of not writing today too. Until I read Rashmi’s article. One more reason to write about her.
It has been almost 45 days since I left my car at the body shop. I drive Ford Figo. I bought it two years back. A nice hatchback to suit the city lifestyle. And it works well for long drives once in a while. I have not many qualms about driving it. The vehicle met with a freak accident two months back. Parked on top of a hill station, vehicle rolled down from the parking lot. Luckily no one got hurt. But the vehicle got pummelled a bit. Finally, after a long wait, got my car back.
The waiting timwhat the centre was pathetic though . Almost four hours.Ridiculous. They did have a tv. I ended up watching federer’s match. But was bored most of the time. How I wish the service centre experience would be good. Utopian thought probably.
PS: first time blogging using iPad. I dont enjoy typing on the iPad.
How I wish I had a teacher like Gilbert Strang(MIT) when I was doing my undergraduate studies. I am currently watching his video lectures in the MIT OCW website. Absolutely phenomenal. The way he paces the lectures, the way he provides intuition – absolutely mindblowing.
I am exactly half-way through the course. It might take me another month to finish the course. But, already, it has enriched my understanding on the subject.
It is interesting to think that while coursera was launched last year – MIT OCW has been around for a while. For someone who wants to learn advanced subjects and lacking the resources/time to do a full-time study in that area, these are brilliant resources to leverage.
Sometimes I wish I’d started doing this earlier. As the adage goes: better late than never !
Sitting in my reading room at my home, I am currently listening to Leoš Janácek’s Sinfonietta. (Youtube) This song seems to be composed in 1926. I’ve never heard about this until last week. The music is extremely good. The first time I heard about this song was when the protagonist of the book that I started reading last saturday was listening to this song, when stuck in a traffic jam. I don’t think this would be a good song to hear in a traffic jam.
Coming to the book, 1Q84 (Amazon) written by Haruki Murakami is a brilliant book. The book probably could’ve been condensed to two-third of its size. But, the book kept my attention throughout. Not the kind of page-turner thriller that one would want to read on a saturday night, but rather a serious (and a tad philosophical) kind of literature that requires one to contemplate what the author is trying to say(and in some cases, what the author is trying not to say).
I still can’t believe that I’ve finished reading the book. This has been my first book by Haruki Murakami. It thoroughly captivated me. I am unable to read anything today – many different images from the book has been coming to me. I took a short nap in the afternoon; ended up dreaming about the Little People. The pace of the book is slow. But the feeling I got reading the book has been splendid. I am considering reading Haruki Murakami’s other books.
Good start to the year, I would think !