Thursday, December 29, 2005

Reactive Vs. Proactive Language.

While reading the habit 1 of Stephan Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, one interesting fact that I noticed is that our language gives away our proactive and /or reactive nature in us. The language that we use naturally reflects whether we are acting proactively or reactively. So it is interesting to note the language that we use, be self-aware, to step aside from our own selves and to notice the language that we are using.

If we are being reactive, Covey suggests that we will be using language that usually absolves us from responsibility. Our language will suggest that we are the victim of the situation, environment or our conditioning, rather than the feeling of being in control.

We make so many generalized reactive statements that reflect the deep buried reactive nature and the conditioning that we have received over the years. These statements are so generalized, we tend to accept these as part of our nature or the way the world is. Consider statements like,
“There’s nothing I can do”
“They make me so mad”
“That’s the way I am”
“I don’t have the time”
“They do that to me”
“I have to do this”
“I can’t, that’s me”

Then there are reactive statements that that put us at the mercy of others, where we shun away from responsibility and blame everything on the other person or a particular factor.
“If only my wife was more understanding…”
“If only my boss was not a jerk…”
“If only my work didn’t take up all my time…”

Another way to identify the reactive language is to identify the have’s in our language. These have’s put away our happiness or our effectiveness to be based on the out come of some other incident, or an occurrence. This language puts the problem out there. It is in effect saying that we are being limited by something out there, something that we do not have at the moment. That is statements like:
“I’ll be relieved when I have my loans paid off”
“I’ll take a vacation when I reach my targets”
“If I had a degree”
“If I had a better job”
“I’ll start exercising after the workload eases”
“If only I had a more understanding wife”

Such language, as mentioned earlier absolves us from responsibility. The whole intention is to shift the responsibility away from us. But in the process, it radiates that we are not able to chose our response and that the situation or the other party or the environment is driving us. It emits the notion that we are helpless, victimized. We tend to blame factors external to us for all our problems and miseries. It puts the problem out in the circle of concern, away from the circle of influence. And we become to engross by this, this becomes internalized and we start to believe and act according to the victims’ mindset.

As the chapter on being proactive suggests, if you listen carefully for one full day, to your own language and to the language of those around you, we will better understand this.

So if this is the language of reactive mindset, then what is the language of proactive mind?
Covey suggests that proactive language, embraces responsibility and takes charge of the situation. Nothing is left to chance. If something is being done, it’s not because we are forced to it, but because we choose to do it. Remember, we are response-able, free to choose our response. So we are not victims, but we are the masters. And proactive language exuberates this.

Proactive language puts our actions within the circle of influence. It does not put the problem ‘out there’. It identifies the part of the problem that is ‘in here’. It will identify parts of the solution within direct control or indirect control areas. It will sound like this:
“Let’s look at what we can do”
“Let’s choose a different approach”
“I will do this”
“I am in control of my own feelings”
“I can do this”
“I choose”
“I will”

And proactive language will consist of the “be’s” instead of the “have’s”. It will focus on what we can be, or what we can do, rather than depending on the outcome of something else. Such as “I can be more loving”, “I will be more compassionate”, “I can be more understanding”, etc. When we focus on things within our control, things within our circle of influence, we are concentrating on being rather than having.

So, watch your language and identify your reactive and proactive moments. And then, you can work on converting the reactive moments to proactive moments through the advise given by Stephen covey in his best selling book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Be Proactive

I had finished reading this chapter more than 48 hours ago. But since I was on vacation, and I promised my wife that I’d stay away from computers during the vacation, I could not post this earlier.

The first habit of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Covey, is titled Be Proactive. It is the first habit, which will move us from dependent state to the independent state, and it is the first step of the private victories that we are to achieve.

The word proactive is perhaps one of the most widely used buzzwords today. We talk about proactive approach to anything and everything. So what does it mean? Before reading Covey's definition, for me proactive meant foreseeing the future and acting based on this foresight. Now for me, this required the ability to foresee the future, or at least a glimpse of the future and to take action to meet the needs of the future. While this may be somewhat correct interpretation of Pro-activity, Covey provides a more simpler and meaningful definition.

Proactive means we are responsible for our own lives, our own actions, and our own decisions. We have the ability to choose our response. We have the ability to choose our response, free from our emotions, based on our values. We have the ability to be our own creator.

This is somewhat in contrast to what we have been taught. There is a deterministic model, which teaches us that we are determined by what has happened to us; by the conditioning that we have received. Genetic Determinism says that we have inherited our behavior; Psychic Determinism says that our upbringing determines our behavior, and Environmental Determinism says that the environment around us is determining our behavior. All of these theories suggest that we are determined by these factors and that we are not the ones responsible for our own selves. This is lame! But there are a lot of emphasis placed on these factors that we have gone to the extent that we have started to define mankind as animals that respond to stimuli.

If we are blindly responding to stimuli, based on the conditioning that we have received, to say the least is very un-human. As humans, we posses few abilities that distinguish us from the rest of the animals. And these capabilities give us the inexcusable responsibility of selecting our response to the stimuli. Covey talks about four such human endowments: Self Awareness, Imagination, Conscience and Independent Will.

Self Awareness is our ability to think about our own thought process. We have the ability to step aside from ourselves and to look at our own self from out side. This is the ability that allows us to separate our minds from our feelings and gives us the ability to choose.

Imagination is our ability to create in our minds something beyond the future. We have to ability to visualize something that is not the present. Something that we WANT the future to be.

Conscience is our deep awareness of right and wrong. The deep buried principles in us that we have come to accept without question.

Independent Will is our ability to act, to choose the response, free from other influences.

As humans possessing these qualities we have the ability to choose our response to stimuli, without just reacting based on our conditioning. We have the ability to look at our own thought process and imagine the response that we want to select, validate that response from our conscience and choose the response, free from other influences such as emotions and feelings.

The proactive person will act based on values, not impulses or emotions. When we act based on our emotions we become reactive, allowing the emotions to guide us, not our values and principles. As the saying goes "No one can hurt you without your consent." As Covey puts it, it is not what happens to us that hurt, but our response. What matters most is not what happens to us, but how we respond.

As humans we should act, not be acted upon. But most of the time, we wait for the right circumstances to act. We wait for the right time to come, we wait for some external factor to change to act. But, if we are proactive, we will also create the circumstance rather than wait for it to happen.

If we do not act, we will be acted upon. If we do not act, we are inviting others to act upon us. By being reactive, we are allowing the others who stimulates us to act upon us. When we are responding to a stimuli, to trigger the response, others come to learn about the stimuli that they should give us.

Circle of Concern and Influence

There are things that concerns all of us. Out of all those things that we are concerned about, there are things that we can do something about and there are things that we cant do anything about. The things that we can influence are the Circle of Influence. If we are proactive, we will focus our energy on our Circle of Influence. We will work on things that we can have an effect on. But reactive persons will focus their energy on Circle of Concern out side their Circle of Influence. The end result is simple, their energy is not going to yield any results.

All problems and situations that we face into three categories.

Direct Control problems are problems that we have direct control over. These are problems that can be solved by working on ourselves, our behaviors, our habits. These directly fall under our circle of influence.

Indirect Control issues are concerning other peoples' behavior. We can influence them through our methods of influence. Still these fall under our circle of influence.

No Control issues are things that we can do nothing about. Things such as our past, situational realities, national economy etc. fall under this category. We have to accept these as such. We must learn to adopt to them and to live with them. Accepting this fact puts our response within the circle of influence.

No matter in what category the problem belongs to, our response should fall into our circle of influence. By choosing our response we are expanding our circle of influence. One way that we can expand our circle of influence is by working on our selves, on our being. On my being.

There is one important point made in this chapter. That is while we choose our response, we are accepting the result to that action. Though we can choose our response, we cannot choose the consequence of our action. The results to any action is governed by natural and universal law. The choice is in the circle of influence, but the results are in the circle of concern. When we pick one end of the stick, we pick up the other as well. I find this aligned with my beliefs. As Buddha has taught, all our actions carry with them consequences. His teachings are all about choosing actions which does not have bad consequences.

A few valuable lessons:

Past mistakes are also out in the circle of concern. You can't undo them or recall them. But accept them, and learn a lesson. Acknowledge a mistake as soon as it becomes evident. Correct it and learn the lesson.

If you make a promise, keep it. When you make a decision, stick to it.

Know that we are responsible - Response - able.

Act or be acted upon.

Basically, we are own creator!

Footnote:This is the chapter summary of Steven covey’s & Habits of Highly Effective People, Habit 1 – Be Proactive, as understood by me. I am placing this content in this blog following Covey’s advice on how to make the maximum out of reading the book; by reading each chapter with the intention of teaching someone it’s contents. I have instead, written the content here in the blog.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

7 Habits of Highly Effective People


I just started reading 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. This is my second time that I am reading this book. The first reading was about three years ago, at the time I was really not that bothered about developing effective strategies in my life; at a time when my life was centered around seeking fun & pleasure and was having plenty of it.

But this time around the situation has changed. Now I am actively interested in developing effective and efficient habits / strategies. And I just remembered that 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey was lying in my book shelf. So I dug it out. And this time around, without just reading it through, I will be putting into practice the "Application Suggestions". Also, this time around, I am determined to delve deeper into the content and ponder and reflect upon myself as I go along. This will help me in internalizing the habits into my life; well not as exactly as they are, but as they appeal and agree with my values. Hopefully, it will help me clarify my values further.

Covey suggests two paradigm shifts that will increase the benefit that the reader can reap from the book. The first one is to not to treat the book as a 'book', but to rather treat as a companion on the long run. That is as our understanding deepens, to come back to the book time and again to expand our knowledge, skill and desire. Putting it into perspective, in this second reading I am able to understand the concepts more deeply and broadly. I remember on the first reading there were things that I just skimmed through, without thinking about it ever again. But this time around, every sentence speaks directly to my mind, makes a more deeper sense. And I am glad that I came back to reading it.

The second paradigm shift that we are to focus on is to transform ourselves from the role of the reader to the role of the teacher. Covey suggests that we read the book with the purpose in mind of sharing what we learn within 48 hours of us reading it. This will give our mind a signal to comprehend the subject matter since the mind is looking forward to sharing the knowledge. And without it first understanding the material it knows it cannot attempt the second task.

So this is the approach that I am going to adopt in this second attempt. I will share through this blog, my understanding of each habit as I finish reading each chapter. Hopefully someone out there will benefit from that. AND I hope that I wont get sued for copyright infringement!

But before I start sharing my understanding of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, I think it is appropriate to set the ground. I mean, Covey does not start talking about the habits straight away. Before we attempt to understand, adopt and internalize the 7 habits, we have to understand a few things about ethics, values, principles, paradigms etc.

Paradigms and Principles

Covey starts out by describing the Inside-Out approach. In his analysis he talks about how our perceptions affect the way we see the world. He compares our perceptions to the lens through which we see the world. He talks about two paradigms of personal development, the personality ethic and the character ethic. The character ethic concentrates on developing values such as integrity, humility, fidelity, courage, justice, patience, etc. This school of thought says that the foundation of personal success is through the development of these basic character ethics. But, such development takes time and effort.

But as the world progressed, we became obsessed with doing things faster and in instantaneous ways. So the time consuming character ethics took a back seat and more instant success formulas came popular. These quick fix methods concentrated on our personality, on what the others saw in us, on ways to project ourselves as required in the eyes of the society. Though not all these methods were bad, most of them lacked substance and only offered temporary solutions. Although, personality ethic tried to encompass the character ethic as part of its offering, it treated character as a small part of the total approach, not as the cornerstone. I mean, for how long can you pretend to be someone that you are not. It's only a matter of time till you get exposed and show the world the real you! Personality ethic is very beneficial, if you develop your character first! Your primary greatness flows out of developing values that are in agreement with the natural laws of the universe. In other words, by developing goodness in our character to the level that the world is naturally easy with you. Once you achieve this level of primary greatness, you can achieve the secondary greatness of fame, recognition and fortune via the techniques of personality ethic. When your character is based on values, your personality will shine easily.

According to Covey 7 Habits of Highly Effective People encompass many strategies of effectiveness. They are the basic habits that allow us to be effective - to do the right thing. Once we discover the right thing to do, we can look for ways of doing it right; ie. Efficiency.

Our values and ethics represent the way we see the world. They represent our paradigms. The models that we apply to the things around us, how we understand things, how we perceive and interpret the world. Covey compares paradigms to maps. This helps us to understand a basic difference between paradigms and reality. Map is not the territory. It is some sort of representation of the territory. So it is essential that we find the correct maps before we attempt to find our way using a map. If you have the wrong map, all other techniques will be of no use. Hence it is essential that we get the map right. All of us have many different maps in out heads. But there are two basic ones: maps on the way things are or realities and map on how things should be or values. All our interpretations of the world are decipher through these maps. And we go on to assume that the way we see the world is the way the world really is or should be! There is an excellent example that we can try out in the book that helps us realize this. Basically the lesson is, we see the world based on the conditioning that we have received over the years, as childhood experiences, as traditions, and training and education, etc. What we actually see, is what our mind is trained to see. And how we see the world affects our relationships with the world, how we treat and feel about the world. And our behavior is governed by it. I think this explains how different people tend to be more proactive, more entrepreneurial, more lazy, etc given the same opportunities.

We have to experience a paradigm shift inorder to break away from the traditions, from the way we were doing things, if we want to achieve a significant breakthrough. All significant breakthroughs have taken place after experiencing a paradigm shift. And making paradigm shifts to happen is not an easy task. Sometimes paradigm shifts are instantaneous. We come across a "Aha" experience. But sometimes, these shifts are slow and happen over time. If we really think hard about our past, on what we were, I am sure all of us will be able to understand at least one or two paradigm shifts that we have experienced over time or instantaneously. But when we want to make a quantum leap, we have to shift our basic paradigms. The paradigm shift that Covey attempts to make in us in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is that there are natural principles that govern effectiveness, which are unchangeable and real. As the saying goes "It is impossible for us to break the law. We can only break ourselves against the law".

There is one more thing that we have to understand. Paradigms are not the reality. Just as maps are not the territory. They are just an attempt to describe the reality, just as maps attempt to describe the territory. Sometimes the territory would have changed since the last update of the map. This means that the map is not insync with the territory and needs updating. There are times when our values may be different from the principles. In such cases we need to deeply look at the world to understand the principles. If we take a deep look at social cycles, we see the same principles surface from time to time and giving birth to new interpretations. But the basic principle remains unaltered. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People contains examples of these.

Basically principles are fundamental guidelines for humans. They are the territory. They are not values. Values are maps. Values sometimes violate the basic principles. Principles are not practices; practices are specific actions, they are not universal. But principles are! The closer our paradigms and values are with the universal principles, the better off we are.

Covey says that the way we see the problem is the problem. When people see the success of a well principled person, they try to to emulate the success by adopting the same techniques. But because of the difference in the value systems, they do not necessarily work on the other person. We attempt to concentrate on quick fix without attempting to treat the underlying issues. We attempt to adopt "outside-in' remedies to our problems, when we actually need "inside-out" solutions. When the change required is from within us, we attempt to change the other. When the problem is within us, we see the problem as out there. When we need to find a solutions for ourselves, we try to give solution to others. We have to start with ourselves. The problem is not out there, it's within us. By changing ourselves we can find the solutions.

When we think that the problem is out there, we are telling ourselves, "there's nothing I can do about it. I have nothing to do about it. something out there needs to change." So we feel helpless, victimized. We allow others to give solutions to us. We feel that we don't have any control over the situations. We are controlled by the environment. But, even for a second we do not think "maybe the problem is not out there. maybe I can do something about it." If we can change this paradigm shift, we will attempt to address issues, by looking at what we can do about them. We will start to think, maybe I need to look at this in a different way. Maybe, I need to change. I personally have many experiences of this nature. Everytime I disagree with my wife, I start off thinking that I am right and that she is wrong. If I keep at it, I come to the absolute conclusion that I am right; there's no fault on my side. So I put my defense walls up and wait for her to come to my feet. When it doesn't happen I get irritated and I start to feel victimized. When we finally talk about it my wife comes up with her side of the things and then I start to see my mistakes, how I could have handled it differently, etc. This time around, I hope that I will be able to realize the mistakes on my own. That I will identify my contribution to the problem and correct it, rather than waiting for her to correct herself.

I plan to shift my paradigms to a more deeper, meaningful "inside-out" approach. I shall correct myself before I try to correct others.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Strange Conincidence

Today, in the morning I was thinking about a friend that I have not spoken to for a long time: Manjula. The last time I saw him was at his wedding and after that he moved to Aussie in a hurry and since then I had not spoken or mailed him. Although once, I asked a mutual friend to send me his new email address, I never followed it up, when I did'nt get it. So, I decided to follow it up and get his mail and to write to him once I got to office.

Surpised was I to get am IDD call on my way to work. And I was even more surprised to hear that it was Manjula! Strange coincidence. It was really good to hear from him.

Is this some kind of proof that Intention - Manifistation works?

Monday, December 12, 2005

Spookys World


Allow me to welcome my bro to the world of blogging. He's blogging at Spookeys World.

I have always considered him a more eloquent writer. So this should be interesting to watch how his blog is coming along. From the first two postings that he has done seems like he's on to some interesting topics!

Welcome to the world of blogging bro!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Inspiring thoughts

I got these in a chain mail. But since I found it to be inspiring and valuable, I thought of posting them here.
  • Time Management - Value your time Â… It is a diminishing resource
  • Vision - Nothing happens unless first a dream
  • Strategy - Those who are victorious plan effectively and change decisively. They are like a great river, that maintains its course, but adjusts its flow.
  • Innovation - If there is a better solution, find it.
  • Teamwork - Teamwork is the ability to work together towards a common vision. It is a fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.
  • Momentum - A little push in the right direction can make a big difference.
  • Opportunity - When one door closes, another opens. Seize the opportunity while the path remains lit.
  • Possibilities - Our thoughts and imagination are the only real limits to our possibilities.
  • Growth - The rung of a ladder was never meant to rest upon, but only to hold your foot long enough to put the other foot higher.
  • Focus - Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you fail to focus on your goals.
  • Service - Success in business and service go hand in hand.
  • Attitude - If it is to be Â… it is up to me.

And a few more quotes:

  • Your attitude determines your altitude
  • Whatever the mind of man caconceiveve and believe, it can achieve

Be inspired!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

He who makes no mistakes makes nothing

This is a proverb that should be taken seriously by all those who are scared to make decisions. For this has counters the biggest failure that most of us have, Failure and Mistakes. Fear of failure is the most common factor that limits human potential. Why do we fear failure? Because, the word failure in itself is synonymous with negativity.

But is failure so bad? I mean, if you don't fail, how will you learn. How will there ever be an advancement, if none of us have failed? Do we do the things right on the first attempt? Haven't we all learned lessons from the past failures and mistakes of the human kind. Isn't it because someone else or ourselves have failed or made the mistakes, that we know to avoid them now, without repeating them again and again.

We are bound to fail at least once in life. And because of the fear of failure, we do not attempt to go out and go for our dreams, we are making a bigger mistake than trying and failing. We are shutting down our own chances of success. Because of this fear, we are only going to give our dreams a half hearted chance at most. Because even when you make a go at it, with the fear of failure under your belly, you are already giving yourself only half the change. Your own mind is taking away the other half because of your fear. If your fear is bigger than your conviction then the net result is fear. So how can you expect your endeavors to succeed, when your net output is negative?

Is it interesting to delve deep and see why we fear failures and mistakes? Is the human race supposed to not to make any mistakes? I don't think so. The very reason why the human have become superior to other species is because we have the ability to bounce back from failures; to learn from mistakes. It is the lessons that were learnt from mistakes that helped the human race to advance. Thomas Edison failed 999 times before he could come up with the electric bulb. Had he given up at the first, second, tenth, hundredth or the five hundredth failure, what would have happened? Someone would have invented the electric bulb, but it wouldn't have been Edison!

I think the lesson from Edison is never small. It is one of the best lessons of perseverance and learning from mistakes. As Edison said, he did not fail 999 times, he just discovered 999 ways of it not working! That is the spirit that we should follow. If we fail doing what we were doing, then we should not give up, we should find out what went wrong and not make the same mistake again, the next time we try.

And it should be interesting to see why we fear failure. It's mainly because we fear the perception of others towards us, that we fear making mistakes. This world is full of specimist, that they expect everything to fail. They find it hard to believe that this world is full of possibilities. They fear the unknown and hence they prefer to stay in their cocoons and predict failure of everything, rather than the success of anything. It is their own fears that they try to impose on others. And everytime you embark on a new journey, you will come across atleast a few of them that will tell you exactly why you are doomed to fail. They will tell you plenty of examples of failures, but they will not remember any successes.

But, no matter what anyone says, I'd say, if you are convicted enough about your goal, go for it. If you believe in yourself, go for it. Even if you fail making a go for it is worthwhile. Simply put, you need to learn the lessons. You need to find out for yourself, the ditches and potholes. So you can avoid them the next time around. As the saying goes, forget the failure, but not the lesson. Don't forget, there's a lesson in everything that happens, if you look.

Also, there is another risk of never failing. Say, all that you try works out in the first attempt and if you never fail, you will become complacent and will lose your agility. You will go on not learning any lessons, and you get in to a bigger trap. And if you fail, then you would have lost your agility to get up and brush up, failure will hit you too hard.

So, never fear what others might say, never fear what the world will think. Dont fear mistakes or failure, they will only teach us a lesson. Remember - He who makes no mistakes makes nothing!



There is a terrific article by Steve Pavlina on Cause-Effect vs. Intention-Manifestation. This is a super article because this is an explanation about an aspect that is overlooked by modern science or the success coaches of our time. And the Million Dollar Experiment is a uncontrolled experiment of this theory.

But if you delve deeper into the article it will make you realize, this is the best way of achieving our goals, by using the most powerful means that we have at our disposal - our mind!

When I come to think of this, this phenomena is nothing new. This is something that our forefathers knew and preached. But as the human race became materially advanced, they simply neglected this aspect and true to Darwinian theory that became almost extinct. Otherwise, most of the teachings of Lord Buddha deal with the power of mind and on becoming the master of the mind. But, since we are currently so far away from this level of consciousness we are at a loss to understand the Lord Buddha's teachings.

Coming back to the topic at hand, the first step in getting our mind to become our mind to do the work is arriving at our decision firmly. By this it means we cannot be having second guesses about our decision or be half hearted. We have to decide, and be committed to our decision. We we are only 100% committed to your decision only will our mind take it as a command. This is a point made by several authors including Napoleon Hill and Tony Robbins.

Napoleon Hill says when you decide on what you want to do and start moving in that direction to burn all the bridges that you cross. So you cannot retreat at the first sign of failure. Tony Robbins talks about the power of the decision: "Making a true decision means committing to achieving a result, and then cutting yourself off from any other possibility".

So once you have made the decision without doubt and second thoughts and when you are clear about it, your mind takes it as a command and goes into work. Napoleon Hill says that at this point the mind makes use of the infinite intelligence. And once your mind taps into the infinite intelligence, it will show you the ways and means of achieving your goal in ways that you never knew were possible. Some of these things would have been there all along, but you just failed to see them in the correct light. Some of the things would be totally new and you would now see them. Steve Pavlina calls them Synchronicities.

I think, theory aside this is something that is well worth a try. Why we wont believe in this is because we were never taught that it is possible to make things work this way. And we are naturally conditioned to be suspicious about the things that we don't know. But, to say the least, this is ancient wisdom that is being re-discovered. The oldest evidence of this aspect can be found in the teachings of Lord Buddha. Buddhist teachings are mainly towards to conquering of the mind. He who has conquered the mind conquers everything.

I, for one am going to set a goal and hand it over to the mind and the universe to manifest it. And, once I set my goals, I will record them in this blog, so I can later on follow it up and share the progress. At least it will serve as evidence for the skeptics.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Hit Counter Added

I added a hit counter to my blog today. I wanted to get some idea about how many people were visiting my blog, so I did this as this was the easiest to do. I could not find any such stats with Blogger (you can't complain much when you get to blog for free with them.)

The counter I got was from and it was decent and had a template to match my blog template.

So lets see how many are actually visiting my blog, trying to figure how many are reading it will be another matter altogether.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Get A Life!

I ran across an interesting article on Fortune calledGet A Life!. It is an interesting and provocative article which sheds some light on how a few selected companies are trying to strike a balance between their top employees work and their personal lives.

It is interesting because the current norm in thinking is that you have to work 10-15 hours a day in order to prove that you are a top producer in your company. This norm is a proponent of working hard over working smart. Even if you work smart and manage to finish your tasks you will find more work on you table the next day. This in turn turns people away from working smart.

For a while I have been trying a strike a balance between my personal life and my professional life. I value my personal time as much as I value my professional time. One of the main reasons that I work is to support a quality personal time with my loved ones. Though I have achieved that target, I often it is at the expense of my professional life, because I choose to let go of some star assignments because it will cost me my personal life.

But the article speaks about a few examples where a few companies have re-designed some jobs in order to allow the employees to have a better work-life balance. I liked one quote in the article which read "Companies need to be 24/7, not the employees."

And another fact we face in Sri Lanka is the emerging super economies of the region, India and China have a work ethic of 18 hour days. And us being the tiny neighbor, we are trying to compete by overdoing them. And laments comparing our hours with that of theirs are very common. Is our approach correct? One good example is in this article itself, where it compares the work ethics of three teams in India, China and Hungary. And it boils down to the approach that each team had taken towards the work.

So the question still remains. Are we willing to do whatever it takes reach the top? What is the price that we are willing to pay? I for one, don't want to be the next Bill Gates or Jack Welch. Instead of reaching the top and drawing a 7 figure salary and missing out on my kids growing up years or sharing my life with my wife, I would rather draw a salary that will sustain my family and share those moments. But that would mean that I may miss out on some opportunities out there. But if I let my life go by, there's way that I can pull it back. I do not want to wake up one day, all alone in a big house with a swimming pool. I'd rather wake up in a humble bed, with my wife next to me, to the shouting of my kids!

Chitika eMiniMalls

After reading Steve Pavlina's blog and the post about the Million Dollar Experiment, I decided to follow some of the additional revenue generating schemes that Steve had mentioned. I followed Steve's referral link to Chitika eMiniMalls and signed up with them.

It took Chitika eMiniMalls around five days to process my application and yesterday I got a mail admitting me as a memeber. So now this blog will carry Chitika eMiniMalls ads. And hopefully this will monetize my blog bring me some revenue.

The only complication that I had with setting up Chitika eMiniMalls was that you have to define the key words beforehand. Unlike Google Adsense, it does not populate the ads by the content of the blog. So this means that the ads on Chitika eMiniMalls will always be based on the keywords that I defined earlier. I will try to do my best to tweak and tune the keywords as and when my blog entries take on different themes.

So if you are looking for a way to monetize your web site or your blog, go ahead and give Chitika eMiniMalls a try. And in doing so, please use these referral links to sign up. You wont lose anything and you will help me earn something as well.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Million Dollar Experiment

Steve Pavlina has a very interesting blog post about using the intention-manifestation model to guide your mind to achieve a goal. In his Million Dollar Experiment, he is going to use this model to attract a million dollars to himself, by allowing himself to be guided by intuition that will be guided by his intention. And he has opened his experiment to the public, whereby others are also joining into his experiment.

This method is very similar to what Napoleon Hill is talking about in his famous book Think and Grow Rich. In his book, Hill talks about how we can guide our mind to achieve wealth. According to Hill, if you make your mind to believe that you want something bad enough, then your mind will intuitively guide you towards achieving your goals. But in order to get your mind to tap into your infinite knowledge and to intuitively give you guidance, you need to make your mind really believe, without doubt, your desire to achieve your goal. For that you need to constantly remind yourself about your goal, like every morning and before you go to sleep.

Hill's approach to me seems a little bit more focused than that of Pavlina's. I am not trying to dispute Pavlina here, I am a great fan of his writings and I learn a lot from them. But Pavlina's approach which is based on The Millionaire Course by Marc Allen, seems to be more generalized. Since I have not read Allen's book I am not going to comment on that, but I will try to compare Pavlina's thinking to that of Napoleon Hills.

In Pavlina's post he says: Presently there's nothing in my life that's already in motion that seems like it would generate $1 million or more except over the very long term. So I have no idea how this money is going to manifest, and I have no existing plan to create it. I'm just going to choose to believe that it will manifest, and I'll allow the intention to sink into my subconscious for a while and see what comes of it. But in Hills book, he tells us to find decide on a way that we intend to make the money, and to fix a time frwithinthin which we intend to do it, and then to sell that idea to our own mind. Once our own mind accepts the fact that this is a the way that I am going to make money and that I am serious about it, then the mind will tap into our infinite intelligence and intuitively guide us towards achieving our goals. This confirms my argument that Pavlina's method is more generalized than that of Hill's.

After I read Think and Grow Rich. I was very interested in his work and now I am in the middle of How to sell your way through life

For whatever is worth I am going to take part in Pavlina's public experiment: Million Dollar Experiment - Version 2.0. So I can see the practical implementation of intention-manifestation theory. As opposed to Pavlina, I am getting into it for the money, not for the experiments sake.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Winning by Jack Welch

I finished reading Winning by Jack Welch today. (While I was waiting for my wife to come after work). I had been reading it for over a month now. It had far too many valuable advices to be grasped in one stretch of reading. Hence I read through the book not skipping a single part, even if some of them were not really immediately relevant to me.

Overall the book was very good. It covered the whole gamut of management, things that are usually not covered in a single book. Obviously, the man has seen it all and done it all. And most interestingly the book is filled with past experiences and real world examples and was a real insight on how the corporate operates and more importantly on how to create a winning culture in an organization.

More importantly the book enabled me look at myself and my performance from the point of view of the boss. A critical evaluation of my performance. A real eye opener that not only opened my eyes, but also gave tips and advice on winning on the job as well. Hopefully I will be able to make use of them. Also, I look forward to writing about some of the topics in the book.

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Monday, October 31, 2005

The downside of running your own company

This is an interesting blog entry by one of the leading authorities on .NETCF development - Chris Tacke.

Here he is talking about how one client has played them down for $ 12,500. Wow! The client has taken thier goodwill for a ride. And he is trying to counter this by creating bad press for the client. Here is what he's got to say in his blog entry called The downside of running your own company

Are you looking for mobile software for a Pest Control or Pest Management business? Something that your field technicians can use while in the field to quickly update the status of traps, bait, etc.? How about an application that synchronizes back to an enterprise server so your pest management data can be stored globally for quick reporting as well as updating the technician's daily schedule and routing? Well I suggest you choose anything other than the ePM Solution from Eye-On Solutions of 4720 Montgomery Lane, Bethesda, Maryland (headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA). Josh Roberts, the President of Eye-On Solutions, LLC had the application developed and is selling it, yet paid nothing for it - essentially stealing it from OpenNETCF Consulting, a company who also developed the SDF.

Choose any of their competitors you'd like. Start at the IPMRC for general information or purchase from Insight Direct, PestPAC or anyone else in Pest Control Magazine. I just ask that you do not purchase any product or service from Eye-On Solutions. Thank you.

I posted that snippet here because this is a very real danger that independent software contractors face. We take up to do projects for clients and along the way, you assume that you have a trusted relationship going on, so you release all the source code to the client, hoping they will accept it and release the payments, and they make a run with your work!

I guess the only way to avoid such situations is to work through 3rd party intemediataries and by placing the contract amount in an escrow. This way you are assured of the money if you finish the job properly. The downsize is probably you will have to foot the escrow charges. But I guess that is the cost of doing business.

I have worked through several escrows. But after a while and you build up the trust you can work directly with the client. But even then, I prefer to work on a weekly or bi-weekly schedule, where I release work done in iterations and get paid for that, minimizing the risk of not getting paid at the end.

Good Luck Chris. I hope that you manage to get your money!

Exiting or Closing a .NETCF application

For the better part of today I was trying to get the Form.Close() event of my applications' main form to get fired. But no matter what it seemed to not to get fired. And in the process of trying to figure out why it was not so, I found out a thing or two as well.

1. You should not use the Application.Exit() method to close the application. This makes the app to terminate the execution and return control to the system. ow you may say, that it is what you needed to do. But the bad part is this will not trigger the Close() or Closing() methods and hence the clean-up code is not performed. Also, if you have manually put any procs to execute in either of these events then they will not get executed.

So I changed from Application.Exit() this.Close(). But, still my Closing() event was not getting fired. So I delved further and discovered this. In .NETCF apps, the MinimizeBox property of the form is set to True by default. This is done to enhance the app performances. So this way, when the user clicks on the X button on the Top, the form is minimized. And hence, is the form is called again, it is being called from the memory; improving application performance. This is good in mos cases where you want the application to remain in the memory once it is loaded. But in cases where you want the application to quit, when closed, this is not good behavior. So what you have to do is to set the MinimizeBox property to False. Then the X on top righthand corner of the form will change into a OK. And clicking OK will actually quit the application.

Here is my code sample asking the user to confirm exiting application etc.

if (MessageBox.Show("Do you want to Exit the application?", "Confirm", MessageBoxButtons.YesNo, MessageBoxIcon.Question, MessageBoxDefaultButton.Button2) == DialogResult.Yes)
//Do whatever needs to be done.
e.Cancel = true; //This prevents the form from being closed.

Well, hope this helps someone out there.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Found a cool new site on a blue Monday morning: codezone. Hope this will keep me busy. Seems a cool site. I hope it will keep me uptodate with the latest in MS world. I need to get my hands dirty with some coding today.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Tech.ED 2005 Sri Lanka


Learn.. Solve.. Grow.. was the theme.

Today was the end of the first ever Tech.Ed in Sri Lanka. Overall the sessions were good. The speakers were very good and delivered the stuff pretty well. I suppose everyone would have enjoyed the sessions and would have learned at least one thing new.

I for one, found a almost all of the sessions that I attended pretty interesting and informative. I managed to gather the an overall picture of the capabilities of the .NET 2.0, specially new enhancements and capabilities towards developing for mobile devices. I picked up pointers on where I need to concentrate.

But to be honest, I found that I was aware of most of the things they were telling. So I guess I was not so bad in terms of keeping up. Importantly, I know what I can do new with VS.NET 2005 and I am looking forward to that.

Learn I did. Solve I look forward to. Grow, will come along naturally!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Get well soon -Wifee!

My sweetie went through a laparoscopy operation on Thursday to remove her Gallbladder because there were stones in it. It is so sad to see her with those four cuts on the tummy and in pain with limited mobility. It breaks my heart to seee her in any kind of pain. I hope you'd get well soon and come back to normalcy, SOON! I wish you a speedy recovery.

Love ya!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Happy Birthday Google!

Google is 7 years old!

I have been a big fan of Google and almost all its services. I simply love the simplicity and comprehensiveness in thier offerings. I tend to turn to Google to find information about anything and everything. And I use Google almost every day.

I love the way they offer simple products, take the search, or Gmail or Picasa or this: Blogger. THe interfaces are simple and Intuitive. Navigation is a breeze. Of course, for arguments sake, these are kinds of interfaces that are suitable for a certain types of applications. I would not want my programming IDE to be this simple, for I will get annoyed with its limitations very fast in that case. But having said that, Google has the best interfaces for what it does.

I have been reading quite a bit on Google's activities lately and seems they are on thier way to re-define how we do computing. I for one, is looking ofrward to that!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

To go or not to go

I have been toying with the idea of becoming an Independent Software Consultant (ISC), which is a glorified name for a freelance programmer, for sometime now. There was a time that I was quite confident that I could make what ever I make in my day job very easily as an ISC in a couple of weeks, provided I find work.

The biggest worry was not having a steady income, although the potential for earnings was higher. The only way to ensure a steady income was to work a dedicated amount of time for a client every week.

For this, I did find one client in the US, but his timings were not very practical for me. Working for him required me to stay up for most part of the night for six days a week. And that was taking away the time that I had to spend with my wife. So after a couple of weeks, I said no to that deal.

Then I had very good deal going, where I was maintaining a software for another client. This was a web-based application and the client, who was a software development company themselves, had me maintaining a system they had developed for a client. It was developed using ASP.NET, a skill which they did not posses, and they had got it developed by a freelance programmer who was not available anymore. They used to send me the bug lists, which I received in the morning, and I use d work on them during the day and upload the deliverables to their server by my evening, which was their morning. And I billed them by the hour.

This was a deal that worked very well for me for a few months, until my contact point there suddenly decided to leave that company. He introduced me to another contact person, but he was rather non-responsive and I was left in the dark. I did get paid for my work though. But right now, I am without a proper long term working arrangement, so my recurring ISC work has come to a halt.

But on the bright side, I have two freelance projects that I have taken up which needs to be finished. So I might as well use this time to complete these and get them out of the way and then start looking for more projects.

And who knows, I may get landed with a few long duration projects and I might actually become a full time ISC, and say good bye to my low paying day job!

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Demise of Jangama portal

The Jangama portal site has had a natural death. When you are not updating the content of a site at least on a daily basis, it is natural for that site to see a natural demise.

I was looking for a free hosting service which was capable of hosting a DotNetNuke site. But, there were virtually none. And, I was reluctant in spending time in creating a portal as a sub domain in some other web site.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Losing an unborn child

The saddest that can happen to a person is losing of a loved one. But when this loved one is your unborn child, you have a feeling of complete and utter loss, because it takes away a heap of hopes you had pinned on the future.

Losing a child is the most sorrowful event a parent can face. Losing an unborn child is the most painful experience for parents to be. Though his existence has been only for a few months within his mothers’ womb, still the loss is the same. Medical science may say that his chances for survival was only 80% and that the other 20% has taken precedence in this instance, but that is no explanation to a weeping heart. That does not bring any consolation or mend the shattered dreams of sharing the life with him or all the plans we had for him. And that day, 19th of August will be one of the darkest days of our lives.

Though you did not exist in this world even for a day and that you had no identity in this world, for your mother and I, you will be our first child that we never had. Though you are not with us and we never got to see your face, you will be our first (un)born.

Until the day we meet again… good-bye my child.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Re-birth of Jangama portal

After a lapse of some time I started on the Jangama portal today. I found a great new host and am in the process of setting up the site. Now I want to create the portal as a general portal site. My earlier aim was to create a portal for mobile users. But now I feel having it as a general portal would be much better rather than going in as a specialized forum.

I have updated the DNS entries and have informed the host to do the necessary configuration changes as well. So in the day or two should point to my new portal. Hope I'd have people registering and contributing to the portal.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Money Value of Time

Last week I made a decision. I decided to let go of a very lucrative part time job inorder to spend more time with my family, i.e. my wife.

My offer was to work online everyday from 9.00 PM to Midnight for a US based client. ANd the pay was very good compared to Sri Lankan salaries. But the tradeoff was it was the time of the day that I had for my wife.

I tried it for a couple of weeks. The pay was good, I could see a lot of money coming my way. But we hardly got any time together. Had no time to take her out, even to go shopping after work or to go out for dinner. I had to rush back home and log in by 9.00.

The result was I was always tensed up everytime I got caught to a traffic jam on the way home from work and my wife had to do all the things by her slef, so everywhere by her self. This was not something we were used to doing. We were used to doing things together. And we were missing each other even though we were in the same room.

So I quit the job. Now I may have lost my additional income stream. But I have got back something much more valuable. Time spent together with the person that I love most!

Monday, July 25, 2005

We're so exited!

Today is a very very special day for both of us; me and my sweetie.

Why? Because we confirmed that my sweetie is pregnant. WOW!

When I went to collect the test results the lab technician said "Congrats! The test is positive. Your wife is pregnant!" And I couldn't stop grinning!

When I came back to the car, Lush kept on asking me What? But I couldn't tell anything, I was just grining. I had tears in my eyes. I finally told her "Your pregnant!"

Boy was that good news or what! She had tears in her eyes, and so did I. We were so happy!

SO now, my wify is officially pregnant! We are so exited and so happy, we dont know what to do next!

I love you sweetie. You are going to give me the best present ever! A Kid!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

QuickMBA: Short Articles

QuickMBA: Accounting, Business Law, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Management, Marketing, Operations, Statistics, Strategy
I don't think these articles will help an MBA at all. Cos these are very brief and just gives you an introduction or a summary to the topics discussed. But to be fair, I think they provide good entry points to many topics and acts as refreshers for those like me, who have studied for an MBA but is not using all that you have learned in your day to day life.

I enjoyed reading up the economic stuff. It's after a long time that I read any economy related stuff, after the MBA exam on economics! But what got me there was the article on Steven Covey's 7 habits of highly effective people.

Happy reading all you folks!

Friday, July 15, 2005

BrowserCaps and other Browser Testing/Detection Resources

BrowserCaps and other Browser Testing/Detection Resources:

If, like me, you have been struggling with FireFox not rendering your ASP.NET pages the way you have designed them, and if they seem to be working perfectly in IE, then you may be scratching your head trying to figure out what the heck is wrong.

Well, I dunno if the problem is with .NET or FireFox, but it seems the problem is that .NET considers FireFox to be a downlevel browser. It could be because the signature of FIreFox is not identifiable by .NET, since FireFox was not around when .NET saw the light of the day.

But whatever the reasons are, the good news is, because of the flexibility of .NET, you can fix this from .NET. So you don't have to wait till FireFox fixes it, you can do it yourself. Well if you are wondering how to do it, then read Rob (@slingfive) Eberhardt's BrowserCaps and other Browser Testing/Detection Resources:. He tells you what you need to do.

Good luck.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Happy Anniversary Malli & Shiyara

It's my brothers' 1st wedding anniversary! It's been a year and within that year he has already become a father of twin girls! Life is moving pretty fast!

Happy anniversary Bro!

Managing Scope Creep

I am sure every project manager has faced this problem at least once. When a project is in progress, the clients discover new ways of doing things, discover better to have things, or they discover the things that they missed or forgot to mention.

I have been experiencing these kinds of scope creeps from my clients time to time. As the project reaches it's end, before they have to sign off they discover things they must have in order to go live, but forgot to mention in the outset. Obviously these are things that I did not anticipate or budgeted for.

I try to stick to the original project scope as much as possible. But at times in order to strengthen the relationship with the client and with the view of retaining him/her for the long term or just as a favour if he has been a good client, I accommodate a few, provided they are not major work.

But a more professional and realistic approach that I have adopted is to explain to them the gravity of these new requirements and to explain to them the that I have not estimated for these work. But I don't totally let them down. I do offer to tackle these tasks as a separate project.

Doing this gives me a slight advantage. Firstly, I am very clear about what needs to be done and can make a better assessment of the work required and hence can give the client an accurate estimate on time and cost. Because by that time I have already analyzed the problem and and devised a solution as well. Also, since the solution is already in my mind I can provide the solution pretty fast. Thirdly, I get a steady stream of projects. From the point of view of the client, they are also comfortable with working with me because I have already impressed them with my prior work!

From a marketing point of view also, I think my strategy is helpful because I am building long term relationships with my clients. As the saying goes it's more profitable to retain a client than to find a new one. The trick is client satisfaction without too much of a cost to you!

Working across time zones

I am feeling quite good today. Cos I managed to finish one project on time and the client accepted my work without even a wink of the eye. It was a good project and he was a good client. I'd really love to work for you again Ramon.

And I had to chat up two other clients because we were having serious communication gaps. The gaps were created mainly due to the time zone differences. When I work they are not and when they do I am not. So I send them a mail asking for a clarification or explaining something I have done and I end up getting an answer the next day and my response goes to them the next day etc. So I decided to get things moving faster, so I had to stay up and chat them up.

They were productive sessions. Clarified and agreed upon almost all the things that were pending at hand. So today I did what I promised I'd do and sent them the stuff. Now tonight I have to chat to them again to see their response. Unless I don't get that done tonight, I'll only be able to catch them on Monday evening. Cant wait that long, cos my deadlines are nearing.

The only thing bad about client interactions that go late into the night is that does not digest well with my wifee! She hates it when I have to stay up to work cos she misses cuddling upto me! Well, that's something I'll have to find a way to balance. Can't disappoint her at any cost!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

How to Become an Early Riser

Getting up early has been a bit of a tricky issue for me and my wife. We always set the alarm for pretty early in the morning and usually end up continuing to sleep past the alarm.

And accidentally I came across this blog post on the webHow to Become an Early Riser. It's a pretty interesting article and by the looks of it has become very popular as well. The comments will vouch for that.

While you are on the subject, read Steve's follow-up article How to Become an Early Riser - Part II.

I am going to try and put in to practice what Steve says. And I am going to persist.

And check out Steve's blog while you are at it. Seems a pretty interesting guy!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Determining time zone a web site visitors time zone

Recently I faced a challenge to write a server side script in .NET to determine a users' time zone. This was coming from a client in UK who was having a high traffic web site and he wanted an efficient way to determine the time zone of a user. The main condition was that it could not use any client side scripting and that it had to be very efficient.

After searching the web I realized that there were no free services that provided this kind of service. There were a few that did this for a fee.

But there were a few services that provided the visitors country based on the IP of the visitor. So I went ahead and proposed a solution where the country was discovered through one of these free services or a database and then to construct a database that contained time zones and countries.

So I used the free web service at to determine the country and then used my database to discover the time zone. this solution worked perfectly.

But the client refused to accept it because it consumed a web service. He insisted that consuming the web service will eat up his band width and that it was not feasible for him. Then I was searching around and came across the GeoIP lookup database that is being used in the DotNetNuke portal. Since this was a free database, I then changed my implementation to use this.

And I used caching to improve the performance and this was accepted by my client. Thanks Official Project Base!

Friday, June 03, 2005

It's my sweeties' Birthday

Birthday greetings to the cutest, most beautiful and sexiest woman on earth - My Wife!

Greetings from your everloving hubby!

Sent her flowers and gave her 6 cards. She loves cards! Well looking forward to gtting her a memorable present later today, cos I havent got it as yet!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Happy fatherhood malli

Today, Shiyara, my brothers wife gave birth to two baby girls! The mother and the two babies are doing well at the NineWells Mother and BabyCare Hospital.

Happy parenthood you too!

Friday, May 06, 2005

Soul Assassins

Interesting article. Contrary to the general views. The article summary reads "The employees are probably the worst thing that happened to a company".

Well I've always known that there are people who thought otherwise. People who did not agree with the popular beliefs and culture. But when those people are trying to popularize their own contrary ideas and trying to become the popular culture, now that's something to think about.

An interesting article anyway. Read it. Soul Assassins

It puts out a few bold ideas hat most of us secretly admit. Most of us are not happy in our jobs. But we are not meant to find happiness. If we are working to make happy, the work may not necessarily make us happy. Of course if you are really passionate about your work and can go on engrossed in work for days, then maybe you are one of those happy people at work.

I guess you have to find some kind of meaning to your job. If you are just in the job for the money then you would not be motivated to do exceptional things. You would just do the minimum that is expected out of you. After all, if you are going to get paid the same if your company makes 1 million in profits or two million, would you care?

I guess the crux is, different people will find different factors that motivates them. And trying to apply the same formula to all of them and expecting uniform results, will not simply work.

Reminded me of something else that I read today: " Hire for attitude. Skills can be taught."


Have been bored since yesterday cos I couldnt get my hands "Dirty". Need to get myself involved with some coding, prefrebly in .NET stuff. That keeps my mind ticking. And gives me a purpose to spend the time at office.

Well, I just re-started to re-do the conversion of ASP.NET portal Access data provider. Hopefully will be able to get it done. But the problem I am facing is that most of the logic of the portal is contained in Stored Procedures and Access does not support that much complexity in Access Queries. So it wont be a simple translation as I expected, most probably, I will have to add to coding as well. But heck, that should keep me occupied for sometime.

BTW, it's been raining cats and dogs. ANd most of the roads have been flooded restricting traffic to a single lane at most!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Loading an image residing on a remote web server to a image control.

This has been a question posted to me on an internet site. Initially i thought this had to be simple. But then I realized, in order to do this you need to do a few lines of coding. This was for a Pocket PC application. But anyways coding would not change much for any other platform.

Here it is:

'Give the url as a string
private void LoadImage1(string url, PictureBox pb){
HttpWebRequest wReq = null;
HttpWebResponse wRes = null;

wReq = (HttpWebRequest)WebRequest.Create(url);
wRes = (HttpWebResponse)wReq.GetResponse();
pb.Image = new System.Drawing.Bitmap(wRes.GetResponseStream());
catch(Exception ex){
string s = ex.Message;
finally {

It's my birthday

Today's my birthday. Geez I'm getting old. I'm 29 now. No wonder I'm having grey hair now!

Anyways, it's been a great day so far. Got a 1:8 scaled Corvette remote controlled race car. Great toy! Looks pretty much real and they have paid a lot of attention to even the minor details. Thanks wifee! Thanks for the present and for all the love you have been giving me all this time. Your the best!

Cant wait to go home. I can play with the car. Also, ammi will be coming over as well. SO we are gonna have a party!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Riding my Honda

Took the Honda for a ride today. It was like heaven driving the Honda after a long time. The feeling was absolutely great. For sometime I was driving a Pulsar. Should resort to driving the Civic at least during the week ends.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Using the Database - IP Address Lookup - Community Geocoding IP Addresses Project

Stumbled upon this while searching for something else on the web. This is a free database that you can use to determine the location of a user from thier IP address: Using the Database - IP Address Lookup - Community Geocoding IP Addresses Project

They did locate my country correctly, but not the city. But this could be useful for web application developers to find out where thier users are coming from and they can even show thier country flags. A cool thing indeed.

MS Data Access Applicatin Block & Portal Starter Kit

Completed the helper class for OleDb for data access application block. There was nothing much involved in it.

My next task is to convert the Portal Starter Kit to work with MS Access. For this I have already exported the SQl database to Access. But the issue was the SP's are not exported and I have to manually create them. This requires some work cos not all the features supported in SQL Server SP's are not supported in Access. But should be able to get things done in a couple of days.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Microsoft Data Access Application Block

I was just browsing though the MS DataAccess App block and suddenly realized that it only supports SQL server. So without complaining about it I decided to code the OleDbHelper class my self, of course by taking the que from the SqlHelper Class.
Thought of just copying and pasting the code and then replacing all 'Sql' s with 'OleDb' but hten decided against it. Decided to take each method and do it individually. At least that way I'll get a better hang of the app block.
And the next step will be to create a helper class for SqlCe. Now that will be quite a challenge cos of the limited functionality of SqlServerCe.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Back to work!

Hmm It's Monday. You know the usual feeling. After the holidays coming to work was a total let down. Specially after a week end out of Colombo, with my baby! That was totally fun.

As usual Mondays are a bit boring and a bit dragging. Everybody is draggin g their feet a little bit too slow. So need to breathe some energy into these folks.

Well I am waiting to see a mail from Singapore. As usual, I have a feeling they might want us to do something that is erally CRITICAL aroung 5.30 pm. Well it's 5.00 and still no mail. ANd if a mail doesnt arrive within the next 30 mins I'll be lucky.

I'm still trying to figure what I like about this job. Is it the pressure that they put us in?

Friday, April 15, 2005

A Friday Night...working!

This time it's the same story. They say they dont care if we have a long holiday or not. But having said that, what really bothers me is the attitude.

They had two full days to test the system and request mods and to report bugs. But no, they wiat till 5.00 pm on Friday to report the issues, and tell us that it has to be fixed by Monday. Now that's really some attitude. Why couldn't they test a little earlier and let us know a little in advance. So we would have done this work during day time and would have enjoyed the evening chilling.

Just a little bit of compassion will do!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

An all nighter..

It's been a long, long time since I wrote anything here. Mainly cos, I've been busy and had been a little lost for words.

But since today I am working all night, because our head office told us that they dont care whether we have long holidays or not, I thought I'd pen down a few thoughts.

First of all, I understand them complaining about us having the most number of holidays in the world. Te hfrustration is understandable.

But when the holiday concerned is a national holiday with a lot of cultural significans to us Sri Lankans. We dont ask them to work on Chinese New Years day, do we?

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

What's up?

Well its been a while since I made a posting on my blog. This was mainly because I was busy with work and sometimes with my studies. I am nearing the end of my MBA and I am having exams in a couple of weeks and also I have to do a dissertation. The exam I can manage but the dissertation is killing me.

First I had no research topic. I thought of many but some I discarded my self and others were rejected by the academic board. So finally I came up with a topic which I thought was interesting enough and possible to do and the academic board thought was worth doing. The topic is Business Intelligence and Corporate Decision Making. I want to do a case study on a blue chip congloramate in Sri Lanka. My only hope is that I will be able to do justice to the topic.

Among other things that kept me busy were that I spent a few weekends searching for a new car and finally ended up buying a Honda Civic RTi (EK5). It's a car manufactured in 1999 and have to say that I fell in love with the car the moment that I saw it. So did my wifee, so it was a unanimous decision to buy the car.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Business Intelligence?

Corporations today are sitting on piles of data collected through various Transaction Processing Systems (TPS). But most companies treat these piles of data just as historical data and keep them just for the sake of . These piles of data are lying on their backups gathering dust without seeing the light of the day. After all who wants to go through piles of old data.

But smart companies are going through these piles and are getting smarter. They are allowing them to find out what their customers were up to and based on this intelligence they can go one step further and predict what their customers will do next. Now that is real intelligence, wouldn't you say? If you can know before hand what your customers are going to be up to, then you can be better prepared. It's something quite similar to going into an exam with knowing the questions beforehand.

What if you can turn these piles of junk in to a source that for a crystal ball that will predict the future for a business? What if it can tell you which customers are likely to bring you the largest
quotient of revenue over time, which items would fare better if they are tagged to a promotion scheme, which customers will make use of your planned promotions, which new products are ready for the market? How likely is fora customer who buys product A to also buy product B? Which products should be stacked close-by in supermarkets? There was one classic example of one US supermarket finding out that when beer is placed closer to pampers in supermarkets, the beer sales surged.

Sometimes business owners and managers think they know the market and they seem to think that everything is quite obvious. But some of the things that have been found through business intelligence and learned the hard way over time prove otherwise. Most of the time, the truth is not what it seems. It may be quite the contrary.

But all of this is not so easy as it sounds. It takes time, a well thought out plan and a whole load of money to gather this intelligence. The main cost of this is the quality of your junk pile. Well, if it is really junk, it will not be able to tell you much, or even worse, it might tell you all the wrong things. But if you take the pain to collect the required data from multiple sources and computer systems with a military like attention to detail, you might arrive at the truth about your business. And be ready for a surprise, for this 'trust' may just not be what you thought it was.

A recent executive briefing from the web site called "Business Intelligence for Smart Decisions" points out several tips about business intelligence. Here they are:
1. Truth is rarely what you see in plain sight.
2. Be selective about what you implement. Wrong information can lead to wrong decisions.
3. Your BI data is the most valuable asset of your company. Protect it!
4. Make use of "predictive analytics". This is the closest you'll get to a crystal ball.
5. They are not only for the consumption of higher management. Everybody can do wonders with the right kind of information.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

DotNtNuke - Version 3

I recently downloaded the DNN version 3 beta and installed it in my PC.

While the portal shows some definite improvements and administrator friendly features, I noticed a major difference from Version 2. It did'nt seem to support Access database. This is going to be a big problem when hosting web sites created using DNN portal engine, because, usually, MS SQL Server databases cost significantly more in terms of rental. This also menas that I'll neevr be able to host a DNN based web site on a free host cos, I cannot afford teh cost of paying for the SQL server database.

DNN team, please bring back support for Access data provider!