Of dreams and clouds


Of Dreams I dreamed last night of having received a new kind of laptop. One that looks like a harmonium (see photo)! The front panel (the one which is pushed to play the harmonium) extends upwards to double as a screen for the laptop! The USP of the entire thing was that the laptop could play melodies using the built-in harmonium – all you had to do was to program the melody.



Of Clouds On one of the shows that I watched, I had the host asking how long it would be before an average Fortune 500 or 1000 company would be using the Cloud computing.

My guess is 5 years, no sooner. Yes, it provides cost savings but its not easy for companies to get rid of old hardware.


Number crunching through clustering


Separating your data into buckets is useful in a lot of problems especially fraud detection. How do you mathematically ‘cluster’ your data? One statistical way is the K-means clustering.

Without delving into too much statistics, here is a spreadsheet you can use to do this for your own data.

This sheet accepts pairs of two variables – for example age versus
number of sick leave applied, by a group in a year. Thereafter it
categorizes this data into buckets, the number of buckets being
specified by you. Once the sheet gives you bucket classification, you can analyse it for problems. You should see the following cases as worthy of further attention:

  1. too many datapoints falling in a single group
  2. only one or two datapoints in a single group
  3. any point that does not belong to the group its in (this is only
    possible if the data has a subjective background)

This method can be used to sample data for further analysis wherever
there is simply too much data to analyse. In our example it can be
used to isolate people who may be feigning sickness to take leave. In
a test for people with different levels of capability it can be used
to grade scores etc. It may also be used to solve the needle in haystack problem.


India closed

I have been forced to pull out the ‘bloggers not for Advani’ picture.


BJP (the opposition party) just can’t figure it out. It’s not endearing itself to people by doing this. Burning buses, bringing the Metro to a halt: we all hate price rise but this is not the right way to get yourself heard. Who will pay for all the damaged property? What image are you creating in front of the outside world that is watching?

If the BJP wants to show something to the people – here is challenge for them. Let them improve customer satisfaction at government offices. It’s not impossible, and at least its productive. We visited the MTNL office in Delhi today to buy a simple SIM card. There was a 5 window process, and amidst talking to us, the lady suddenly left – later we realised she had gone for lunch. She needed to sign the form, something that takes 10 seconds – and we had to wait for an hour just for that. She could at least have warned us! They have a one hour lunch – can you imagine such luxury in today’s world – 30 min. is the norm everywhere with most people just using 15 min. That too, leaving exactly at 1 PM she came back after 2.05 PM.

Well, let the BJP handle this and they will have my vote for sure.


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