Early Week Readings: Nov 23, 2015

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Morning coffee and readings:

  • How The Golden State Warriors Are Breaking The NBA (Link)
    • Nate Silver: European sports tend to be more capitalist by nature, while their American counterparts tend to be more socialist.
    • Possible exception is Steph Curry!!!
  • Thanksgiving Flight Patterns (NYT-Upshot)
  • The Keys to Scaling Yourself as a Technology Leader (Firstround.com)
  • Curt Monash’s blog about Xplain.io’s (a company I helped jumpstart and also served as VP of Product Management/marketing until we sold it to Cloudera) technology after it was released as “Cloudera Navigator Optimizer” (DBMS2).
  • Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin Succeeds in Landing Spent Rocket Back on Earth (WSJ)
  • A Car Dealers Won’t Sell: It’s Electric (NYT)
  • Most of What You Learned in Econ 101 Is Wrong (Bloomberg)

Scrum methodology is not complicated, we make it so!

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Scrum is a rage these days with startups and big companies alike. Everyone wants to do “Scrum” or Agile development. They hire scrum purist and want to follow scrum guidelines to the core. Not a good way to start off, especially if you were following no methodology or traditional methodology such as waterfall. I’m not a scrum master by any stretch, but has seen many methodologies come in to prominence and fade once a newer methodology pops up.

If we understand that any project management methodology is just a guideline to develop, deliver and maintain a project successfully then we will realize the commonality and slight differences between them. We will at peace with any newer methodologies that are bound to arise. So what is so special about scrum. I say, not much. Basic premise behind scrum is “take a big problem, break it into smaller tasks that can be accomplished in two/three weeks, deliver/test and iterate”. Yes, it is that simple.

Checkout my presentation on this very subject:


End of the week reads: Nov 20, 2015

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  • Google buys Diane Greene’s startup Bebop, makes her the head of its whole cloud business (VentureBeat)
  • If you are interested in distribution computing/HPC this is a great read from Adaptive Computing.
  • Uber Is Not the Future of Work. Gig-enabling apps are a distraction from the uncertainties that affect far more people: Will workers get paid enough and are their jobs safe? (The Atlantic)
  • Microsoft to release Quantum Computing Simulator to the public, letting you explore the future on your laptop (Link)
  • Snake venom may help save lives in the operating theatre (Economist)
  • The email habits of Tim Cook, Bill Gates, and 11 other successful people (Business Insider)
  • PETA, Ferguson, jihad, Doctor Who, rape, and kitten pics: the toxoplasma of online rage (new statesman)
    • A study of how anger on the internt is born, lives and regenerates.

Mid-week: Nov 10,2015

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  • Netflix open sourced its internal cloud management platform “Spinnaker” that can manage Amazon, Google and Azure (Link)
  • Startup board meetings that suck – by Fred Destin (Link)
  • If you are Mac user this might be interesting to browse for few min to understand the features Apple is bringing to Keynote, Pages and Numbers. I use these programs from time to time, but invariably resort to MS Office 15 for anything I need to share with external parties. Worth reading though (Ars Technica)
  • Coffee drinkers rejoice.
    • How coffee can help you live longer? (Time)
  • Not that it has anything to do with Technology or business, but can’t help wonder the state of mind for the “Satis” mentioned in this article.
  • Lies, damned lies and running a business (Financial Times)
  • Trying to understand Hadoop? Start from here: 16 resources to learn Hadoop (Link)

Mid-Week Reading: Oct 28, 2015

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  • Meet Amazon’s first employee – Shel Kaphan (GeekWire)
  • 10 Awesome pitch decks from world’s fastest growing startups (BuzzFeed)
  • Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella talks about future strategy (ZDNet)
  • Grim reality of climbing Mt.Everest (link)
    • This article also shows why there are so many dead bodies in Everest and never will be cleaned up.
  • Rethinking the Marketing Funnel in a world of social media (link)
  • Google just open sourced its AI engine TensorFlow.. check this blog here.

Kindle Paperwhite and Basic vs Kindle 2 (Original) – gaining some features and loosing some

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I bought the Kindle 2 (3g access) in 2009 when it came out. It costed as much as a tablet these days (i believe I paid around $300). It had no touch screen, but E-ink screen was amazing. I loved the fact that I could load more books and read it like a paper book. Another feature I really loved was the ability to have Kindle read the books using Text-To-Speech. Using TTS I could listen to pretty much any book I loaded into Kindle. It did a decent job of converting the text to voice, no complaints. It was very convenient especially when you were driving. That generation of Kindle had its own set of issues such as navigating the text with the click-wheel and button based menu interface, not very convenient if you had to take notes. I’ve the habit of highlighting and taking notes on any book I read, one reason I don’t really like to sell the books once I’m done with. I always go back and re-read the highlights in the books I just finished. With Kindle 2, taking notes and marking highlights was a lot of pain than necessary.

Then iPad happened, and I started using Kindle App  more than Kindle 2 device. iPad is much more convenient to highlight and take notes using its wonderful touch screen. Over a period, I forgot about the  Kindle 2 all together, it was sleeping in the drawer. Once in a while I would take it out, charge it and use it to read few pages. I never really bothered to turn on text to speech.

Last week, I realized my son (12 yrs old) was spending too much time on his mini-iPad, supposedly doing his “homework” (reading assignments). I was wondering about a way to restrict his access to games, videos and browsing. It hit me that I could buy him the new kindle with touch screen and wifi. He won’t be able to play games or watch videos but can read, use dictionary and take notes to his heart’s content. Amazon selling Kindle for $59 dollar’s doesn’t hurt  either, great price for such a nice device.  So I went ahead and bought two Kindles, a Paperwhite ($119) and Kindle Basic($59), former for me and later for my son.

The device seems to have transformed his reading habits. It has a feature called “FreeTime” using which a parent can control and reward kid’s reading habits. He loves the fact that his Kindle has a touch screen and he can look up words in the dictionary. I also love the fact that my Paperwhite has touch screen and built-in front light, which makes it easier to read in any kind of lighting.

However one of the feature I really liked, Text-To-Speech is completely missing from this new generation of Kindle, doesn’t  have headphone jack either.  A bummer, but I think I can live with that. In general, the Kindles are fine devices if you are primarily interested in uninterrupted reading pleasure, they are meant to be used as such. Now I prefer reading books in Kindle Paperwhite with its touch screen interface rather than using iPad with its harsh back-lighted screen.