Over the years, the technology kept changing, and I was unable to have this blog keep pace with it. I recently reverted to a ‘basic’ template because the old feature-rich template wouldn’t work, and neither did I have the time or inclination to make it work. However, ‘The Wayback Machine’ does have a record of this blog, the way it was when it looked perfect.
Apart from looking perfect, the information was easily available up front. The current visitor is encouraged to have a look: especially at the post which pulls interesting posts from across the categories to give a bird’s eye view to this blog. If you want to determine, at a glance, what this blog is about, the current layout is helpless – please click here.
I received an email sometime back to setup contacts with the names ICE1, ICE2, ICE3 etc on my cellphone. This stands for ‘In Case of Emergency’ and can be used by rescuers to call my near and dear ones in case I am involved in an accident.This makes emergency contacts easy to identify – many people for example normally save their spouse’s name not under ‘Wife’ but under her name for example.
I first thought this might be some new idea drummed up by someone, and not really well known. However, I found the concept on Wikipedia, which convinced me to its legitimacy.
I decided then to setup these ICE contacts – I created a new contact with my wife’s number, but with the name ICE. I did the same with a couple of other close contacts that could be used in case by wife isnt close to the phone.
However, as a side effect of this, whenever I got a call from my wife, the cellphone stopped displaying the contact name – rather it would show only the number. I guessed this must be happening because the software finds two different contacts for the same number – and gets confused. I was surprised that the software makers did not include a simple piece of code which would display any one (or the first one) of the two contacts found.
Obvious solution was to store wife’s number only once – and that too with ICE name, and use that also for everyday calls. Another way was to rename the existing contact – if my wife’s name is Tara, I can name the contact as ‘ICE Tara’ or ‘ICE Wife’. Both were unacceptable to me – I was looking for a more elegant solution.
A couple of days later, the answer came to me: on the ICE contact, add a ‘1’ at the end of the phone number. For example, if the area code is 423 and phone number is 512345 then store it as 4235123451. You an use any other digit also in stead of 1. Thats it!
Why does this work? Mobile phones do matching from the right side when a call is received. Hence, it would recognize Tara, but fail to match ICE. What happens then if you call the ICE number? No problemo, the call goes through because telephone networks ignore any digits after the number!
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.
I am trying to get off a post from my new Nokia N97 – its wonderful being able to compose anywhere. Everything except the photo editing was done using the phone, including the photography. Since I had to take the photo to the PC for editing I uploaded also using the same. The photo without more ado:
Want to share today the importance of uttering the Lord’s Name even once (as a Gurmukh – follower of the ways of the Guru, with body and mind in unison):
ਨਿਰਬਾਣ ਕੀਰਤਨੁ ਗਾਵਹੁ ਕਰਤੇ ਕਾ ਨਿਮਖ ਸਿਮਰਤ ਜਿਤੁ ਛੂਟੈ ॥੧॥
Cleansing yourself of lust, sing the praise of the Creator; contemplating Him in meditation, even for an instant, one is saved. ||1||
Here, the Guru talks about singing the praise of the Creator – even for a ‘Nimakh‘ (instant). Nimakh is composed of two punjabi words – Nim (falling) and Akh (eye). Hence Nimakh refers to the period of blinking of the eye.
Sukhmani Sahib has the following verse:
ਜਾਪ ਤਾਪ ਗਿਆਨ ਸਭਿ ਧਿਆਨ ॥
Chanting, intense meditation, spiritual wisdom and all meditations;
ਖਟ ਸਾਸਤ੍ਰ ਸਿਮ੍ਰਿਤਿ ਵਖਿਆਨ ॥
the six schools of philosophy and sermons on the scriptures;
ਜੋਗ ਅਭਿਆਸ ਕਰਮ ਧ੍ਰਮ ਕਿਰਿਆ ॥
the practice of Yoga and righteous conduct;
ਸਗਲ ਤਿਆਗਿ ਬਨ ਮਧੇ ਫਿਰਿਆ ॥
the renunciation of everything and wandering around in the wilderness;
ਅਨਿਕ ਪ੍ਰਕਾਰ ਕੀਏ ਬਹੁ ਜਤਨਾ ॥
the performance of all sorts of works;
ਪੁੰਨ ਦਾਨ ਹੋਮੇ ਬਹੁ ਰਤਨਾ ॥
donations to charities and offerings of jewels to fire;
ਸਰੀਰੁ ਕਟਾਇ ਹੋਮੈ ਕਰਿ ਰਾਤੀ ॥
cutting the body apart and making the pieces into ceremonial fire offerings;
ਵਰਤ ਨੇਮ ਕਰੈ ਬਹੁ ਭਾਤੀ ॥
keeping fasts and making vows of all sorts –
ਨਹੀ ਤੁਲਿ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਬੀਚਾਰ ॥
none of these are equal to the contemplation of the Name of the Lord,
ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪੀਐ ਇਕ ਬਾਰ ॥੧॥
O Nanak, if, as Gurmukh, one chants the Naam, even once. ||1||
Guru Gobind Singhji, in Benti Chaupai feels:
ਜੋ ਕਲਿ ਕੌ ਇਕ ਬਾਰ ਧਿਐਹੈ ॥ ਤਾ ਕੇ ਕਾਲ ਨਿਕਟਿ ਨਹਿ ਐਹੈ ॥
Those who meditate even once on the Supreme Destroyer (God), the death cannot approach them;
Once a person visited Kabir’s home, telling his wife about wanting to meet him. She replied that he was away at the moment and sought the reason for the man’s visit. The man informed her that his entire body was painful, and that he was in great agony. Wife told him to recite ‘Ram’ thrice. He did so, and his pain vanished. He happily thanked his wife and went away.
Kabir was returning, when he saw this man leaving his home, merrily. On being asked by Kabir, the man narrated his story. Kabir went inside his house and gave his wife an angry look. The wife was surprised, she asked him the reason. Kabir told her: “By uttering Ram just once, an entire village can be cured, and you have cured one person by having him recite thrice. This is a sacrilege of the sacred Name.”
This same thought is echoed by Kabir in Sri Guru Granth Sahib:
ਕਬੀਰ ਸਈ ਮੁਖੁ ਧੰਨਿ ਹੈ ਜਾ ਮੁਖਿ ਕਹੀਐ ਰਾਮੁ ॥ ਦੇਹੀ ਕਿਸ ਕੀ ਬਾਪੁਰੀ ਪਵਿਤ੍ਰੁ ਹੋਇਗੋ ਗ੍ਰਾਮੁ ॥੧੧੦॥
Kabeer, blessed is that mouth, which utters the Lord’s Name. What to speak of the body, and the whole village as well. ||110||
It may be prudent, to obtain bye-in from the person who will be looking for the needle in the haystack. Especially if this is a boring task you will need to explain to the person why it is necessary to find the needle and how it fits in with the vision/mission.
In case this is a repetitive scenario, you may want to track how many times each resource has failed to find the needle and penalize the one at the top. If this specific scenario is not repetitive you may want to club with similar scenarios where the group overall is repetitive. This can also be subjected to statistical analysis (more on the statistical analysis in another post here).
One way, as I suggested earlier, is to create a verification procedure that is shorter than looking for the needle in the haystack itself. Ask a peer to carry out the verification – call him the “supervisor” (he will be better motivated this way).
Another way to handle this problem is through the usual reward/punishment strategy. Either offer a reward for finding it, or offer a punishment for not finding it. The reward does not have to big, neither does the punishment need to be huge. Token punishments are enough. For example, a task required everyone to fill up a template, and one person to consolidate each Friday. People would need reminders, etc – so we decided that whoever is the defaulter the highest number of times would get the task of consolidating for the next few weeks. Then on to the next defaulter.
One of the problems I have faced repeatedly in not just project management but in a wide variety of scenarios (even at home) is what I call the ‘Needle in Haystack’ problem. Say I am the manager of a project where the task is to find a needle in a haystack. I assign the task to Mr.X. He comes back after three days and tells me there is no needle in there. I am confronted with three possibilities:
He actually spent three days actively looking for the needle and was unable to find it. There is indeed no needle in there.
He actually spent three days actively looking for the needle and was unable to find it. There is a needle there, only he was unable to find it (the methods may be not very efficient for example).
Mr.X went on a movie watching spree 🙂
The real problem here however, is that in order to find out which of the scenario is factual, I will have to find the needle myself – and maybe spend three days myself. There is no benefit obtained through delegation.
One course of action, obviously, is to seek evidence from Mr. X. A bus ticket from office to the haystack for example.
Another is to find a way to verify if there is a needle or not, in say 3 hours. In most cases one of these solutions is possible, but is hard to find. In the next few postings on this topic I will share case studies around this, to give you some ideas around it. There is no magic wand though, everyone needs to invest thought.
Its a commonly held misnomer that the Indian National Anthem ‘Jana Gana Mana‘ was written by Tagore in praise of George V. Tagore who had the guts to refuse knighthood, would not write in praise of any George.
The anthem was written as Ode to God – intentionally to let the British think its in praise of King George V. This is a common route that poets take against to mock the establishment.
Tagore was a well read person. He was once asked what he would write as the anthem for the universe. Tagore replied that that had already been written by Guru Nanak. He was referring to the following:
ਗਗਨ ਮੈ ਥਾਲੁ ਰਵਿ ਚੰਦੁ ਦੀਪਕ ਬਨੇ ਤਾਰਿਕਾ ਮੰਡਲ ਜਨਕ ਮੋਤੀ ॥
Think of the sky as a plate, the sun and the moon are the lamps. The stars and their orbs are the studded pearls.
ਧੂਪੁ ਮਲਆਨਲੋ ਪਵਣੁ ਚਵਰੋ ਕਰੇ ਸਗਲ ਬਨਰਾਇ ਫੂਲੰਤ ਜੋਤੀ ॥੧॥
The fragrance of sandalwood in the air is the temple incense, and the wind is the fan. All the plants of the world are the altar flowers in offering to You, O Luminous Lord. ||1||
ਕੈਸੀ ਆਰਤੀ ਹੋਇ ॥
What a beautiful worship service this is!
ਭਵ ਖੰਡਨਾ ਤੇਰੀ ਆਰਤੀ ॥
O Destroyer of Fear this worship is worthy of You.
ਅਨਹਤਾ ਸਬਦ ਵਾਜੰਤ ਭੇਰੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
The Unstruck Sound-current of the Shabad is the vibration of the temple drums. ||1||Pause||
ਸਹਸ ਤਵ ਨੈਨ ਨਨ ਨੈਨ ਹਹਿ ਤੋਹਿ ਕਉ ਸਹਸ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਨਨਾ ਏਕ ਹੀਤ ॥
You have thousands of eyes, and yet You have no eyes. You have thousands of forms, and yet You do not have even one.
ਸਹਸ ਪਦ ਬਿਮਲ ਨਨ ਏਕ ਪਦ ਗੰਧ ਬਿਨੁ ਸਹਸ ਤਵ ਗੰਧ ਇਵ ਚਲਤ ਮੋਹੀ ॥੨॥
You have thousands of Lotus Feet, and yet You do not have even one foot. You have no nose, but you have thousands of noses. This Play of Yours entrances me. ||2||
ਸਭ ਮਹਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਹੈ ਸੋਇ ॥
Amongst all is the Light-You are the source of that Light.
ਤਿਸ ਦੈ ਚਾਨਣਿ ਸਭ ਮਹਿ ਚਾਨਣੁ ਹੋਇ ॥
By this Illumination, that Light is radiant within all.
ਗੁਰ ਸਾਖੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਪਰਗਟੁ ਹੋਇ ॥
Through the Guru’s Teachings, the Light of knowledge shines forth.
ਜੋ ਤਿਸੁ ਭਾਵੈ ਸੁ ਆਰਤੀ ਹੋਇ ॥੩॥
That which is pleasing to Him is the lamp-lit worship service. ||3||
ਹਰਿ ਚਰਣ ਕਵਲ ਮਕਰੰਦ ਲੋਭਿਤ ਮਨੋ ਅਨਦਿਨ ਮੋਹਿ ਆਹੀ ਪਿਆਸਾ ॥
My mind is enticed by the honey-sweet Lotus Feet of the Lord. Day and night, I thirst for them.
ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾ ਜਲੁ ਦੇਹਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਾਰਿੰਗ ਕਉ ਹੋਇ ਜਾ ਤੇ ਤੇਰੈ ਨਾਇ ਵਾਸਾ ॥੪॥੩॥
Bestow the Water of Your Mercy upon Nanak, the thirsty song-bird, so that he may come to dwell in Your Name. ||4||3||
Guru Nanak penned this when he reached Jagannath Puri (in 1510 AD), and watched the Arti (worship service) and noted its futility. He preached that God is omnipresent, his scent in everything and in every being – not housed in a small temple with destructible idols and extinguishable lamp.
There are many groups of people which claim that there is a disconnect between science and religion. I do not however see any disconnect – I will start from a scientist’s point of view.
Albert Einstein did not believe in God. However, attributing to quantum mechanics he did say “God does not play dice.” He was refuting the quantum theory (which is based on chance). We can “normalize” that to mean that even if God exists, He is not actively involved in running the world (does not interfere with what is happening according to His laws). The same thought is expressed by the tenth Guru in Jaap Sahib: aalisiay karm, aadirsay dharam which means “O Lord, You do not need to make any special efforts to do what You want to do”.
Science has made much advances, and will continue to do so. However, its a challenge as of today to define exactly when the universe was created: scientists believe that its impossible to find out what existed or happened before the big bang. Also, its not known how the universe will end: depending on the total mass of the universe, one of the following three things will happen:
The universe will continue to expand for ever, like it does today
The universe will, at a certain time, stop expanding and start contracting
The universe will continue to expand and contract as in the above two options, but infinitely for ever
Which one of these will actually happen can be predicted if we knew the total mass of the universe, however – we currently don’t.
Exact same thoughts are echoed by the Guru:
About never being able to find out when the universe was created:
ਥਿਤਿ ਵਾਰੁ ਨਾ ਜੋਗੀ ਜਾਣੈ ਰੁਤਿ ਮਾਹੁ ਨਾ ਕੋਈ ॥
ਜਾ ਕਰਤਾ ਸਿਰਠੀ ਕਉ ਸਾਜੇ ਆਪੇ ਜਾਣੈ ਸੋਈ ॥
Neither the yogi nor any one else knows the lunar day, week day season and the month. The Creator who creates the world, He Himself Knows (the time).
About never being able to find out the total mass of universe:
ਕੇਤੀ ਦਾਤਿ ਜਾਣੈ ਕੌਣੁ ਕੂਤੁ ॥
How much the Creator has Created, who can know?
About the fact that the universe has been created many times (each time a new expansion after the previous contraction):
ਕਈ ਬਾਰ ਪਸਰਿਓ ਪਾਸਾਰ ॥
Many times, the universe has expanded by Him.
I also find it more than a coincidence that while scientists call the moment of creation big-bang (having to do with sound), the Guru has the following to say:
ਕੀਤਾ ਪਸਾਉ ਏਕੋ ਕਵਾਉ ॥
You created the vast expanse of the Universe with One Word
which has also to do with the uttering of a sound.
Another similar thought from the Adi Granth:
ਤੁਮਰਾ ਲਖਾ ਨ ਜਾਇ ਪਸਾਰਾ ॥ ਕਿਹ ਬਿਧਿ ਸਜਾ ਪ੍ਰਥਮ ਸੰਸਾਰਾ ॥੩੯੩॥
The limits of Your creation cannot be known, nor how in the beginning You created the Universes.
Update Dec 30th 2009: I recollected another thought this morning:
ਪਹਿਲਾ ਪਾਣੀ ਜੀਉ ਹੈ ਜਿਤੁ ਹਰਿਆ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਇ ॥
First, there is life in the water, by which everything else is made green
Darwin’s theory was not promulgated until 1858, which agrees: life started in the sea.
Update from 8th Nov 2012: Perhaps I have missed one of the most important facts. Scientifically, for around 1 billion years after formation – the universe was filled with gases (Hydrogen and Helium). The Guru echoes the same:
ਅਰਬਦ ਨਰਬਦ ਧੁੰਧੂਕਾਰਾ ॥
अरबद नरबद धुंधूकारा ॥
For endless eons, the universe was only dark gases.
Update from 14th July 2015: This page is probably the most revisited post of this blog. Another evidence:
ਸਾਚੇ ਤੇ ਪਵਨਾ ਭਇਆ ਪਵਨੈ ਤੇ ਜਲੁ ਹੋਇ ॥
साचे ते पवना भइआ पवनै ते जलु होइ ॥
Sācẖe ṯe pavnā bẖaiā pavnai ṯe jal hoye.
From the True Lord originated the air, and from the air came water.
ਜਲ ਤੇ ਤ੍ਰਿਭਵਣੁ ਸਾਜਿਆ ਘਟਿ ਘਟਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਮੋਇ ॥
जल ते त्रिभवणु साजिआ घटि घटि जोति समोइ ॥
Jal ṯe ṯaribẖavaṇ sājiā gẖat gẖat joṯ samoe.
From water, He created the three worlds; in each and every heart He has infused His Light.
In 1780s, Cavendish found that water is made of Hydrogen and Oxygen, both constituents of air. Guru Nanak wrote this verse above prior to the year 1539.
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