My Easel

August 18, 2007

Stayin’ alive

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aditya Sengupta @ 1:22 am

I found these very touching videos through this blog, which in turn I found a couple of hours ago through someone else’s blog. The blog itself is highly recommended reading. It’s not often I ask you to read a blog without having followed it for a while, but the posts there, the first few ones at least, are captivating.

(For those who haven’t figured it out already, the title is from the song by the same name by the Bee Gees, again- highly recommended)


August 16, 2007

Google: 9 Notions of Innovation

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aditya Sengupta @ 10:47 pm

I found this great podcast on iTunes U. This is Marissa Mayer, Vice President of Search Product and User Experience at Google, talking about what she calls the ‘9 Notions of Innovation’. I found a video on Youtube as well:

Here is a gist of the main talking points during the presentation:

  1. Ideas come from everywhere
    Google expects everyone to innovate, even the finance team
  2. Share everything you can
    Every idea, every project, every deadline — it’s all accessible to everyone on the intranet
  3. You’re brilliant, we’re hiring
    Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin approve hires. They favor intelligence over experience
  4. A license to pursue dreams
    Employees get a “free” day a week. Half of new launches come from this “20% time”
  5. Innovation, not instant perfection
    Google launches early and often in small beta tests, before releasing new features widely
  6. Don’t politic, use data
    Mayer discourages the use of “I like” in meetings, pushing staffers to use metrics
  7. Creativity loves restraint
    Give people a vision, rules about how to get there, and deadlines
  8. Worry about usage and users, not money
    Provide something simple to use and easy to love. The money will follow.
  9. Don’t kill projects — morph them
    There’s always a kernel of something good that can be salvaged

Anyone who knows me or has followed my blog (I’ve posted on life at Google earlier) will know just how much I respect the Google culture. I find it unsurprising that an entity that follows such a path towards innovation gains so much success and respect. My personal favourites are #2, 7 and 8. Although each point is one that I think should be followed everywhere, I see a particular need for these points to be highlighted amongst the people I work with, or don’t, or can’t. You get the idea. I wish this approach to innovation, and the Google philosophy, were more prevalent.

Here is the original stream. Click the play button below:

To attribute this as best I can: this cast is hosted by the Stanford Technology Ventures Program.

August 9, 2007

K9 Express (part 2): Encounter of the first kind

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aditya Sengupta @ 12:48 am

A fair bit has been said in jest about animals that roam the halls of engineering colleges in Bombay. Here is proof. From my own class. No kidding. This dog strolls in during a lecture and decides to take a bit of a nap.

Well, the dog wasn’t alone. These guys didn’t mind taking 40 winks themselves:

Methinks this does not bode well for the professor. To be fair, it was the fag end of a very long day

August 6, 2007

The Real Fake Steve Jobs

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aditya Sengupta @ 10:30 pm

The latest buzz on the blogosphere is the unmasking of Fake Steve Jobs– the anonymous blogger who, for more than a year now has assumed the self-interpreted persona of Apple CEO Steve Jobs. A very creative interpretation at that.

‘The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs’ is one of my favourite blogs- the kind one looks forward to each day. Funny, nay- hilarious in its parodical portrayal of Steve Jobs. And the blog is popular too. 700,000 hits last month. His readers have included, at one point or the other, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs himself. The real one.

Well, I’m not too happy about the fact that he’s been unmasked. I enjoyed the intrigue. And from what I can see from the post that did the dirty deed, not a lot of people are happy either. Read the comments.

So who is FSJ? Daniel Lyons. A reporter for Forbes. Read this for a more thorough account. His real blog is here. His colleagues at Forbes have been having a blast through all this.

Through all this, I hope that this does not dilute FSJ’s voice. He claims it wont. He promises to come back ‘badder than ever‘. Well, in FJS’s very own inimitable style, peace and love. Namaste!

August 5, 2007

Math Puzzle

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aditya Sengupta @ 9:04 pm

I’m usually pretty good at pointing out the flaws in mathematical puzzles that give contradictory answers… the types that give you results like 1 equals 0, you get the idea.

I just found this one that has had me stumped:

First we set:

x=0.999999999…… (infinitely recurring)

Multiplying both sides by 10, we have,

10x=9.999999999….. (infinitely recurring)

subtracting the first equation from the second one,

10x – x = 9.999999999…… – 0.999999999…….


9x = 9

We divide both sides by 9 to get,

x = 1

so do we have, from the first statement,

1 = .999999999….. ?

Apparently, this is true! No kidding. Yeah, I was pretty surprise as well. I expected to find a hitch in the proof, an inconsistency of some sort. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. I looked it up online even. You’d be surprised how popular this issue is on the web. Amongst mathematicians at any rate. Wikipedia has a pretty exhaustive, and somewhat exhausting article about this here. The image you see at the beginning of the post is from there. So is the alternative proof that follows:

\begin{align} 0.333\dots          &= \frac{1}{3} \\ 3 \times 0.333\dots &= 3 \times \frac{1}{3} = \frac{3 \times 1}{3} \\  0.999\dots          &= 1 \end{align}


Oh, here is another interesting piece of information I found while looking up this puzzle. Though quite a few of you probably know about this: Any recurring (non-terminating repeating) decimal can be converted to a fraction. Use the method in the first proof.

Here is a related page with some other elegant examples.

(Update: I hit the publish button before I meant to post. Here is the ending)

This puzzle illustrates the somewhat philosophical issues in our interpretation of mathematics. While we inherently believe that the number .999999999….. has a last 9 at infinity, one must realize that there is no last 9 and that the expansion of the number never ends. Stating that there is something at infinity is meaningless. We often treat infinity as if it were a number, or a location (a point on a number line). This is something we need to get past.

This entire discussion curiously reminds me of a particular strip from Calvin and Hobbes. This one:

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