Monday, October 29, 2007

Secret: How to get into Hulu without an invite!

I guess you've heard of Hulu - the new video website launched by the NBC and News Corp just yesterday. Hulu lets users watch premium quality, full length videos of their favorite TV shows for free. And it's completely legal! The problem is that it's still in private beta - which means that you'll have to give them your email address and then wait till you get invited.
Well, guess what? I've figured out how to get into Hulu even if you do not have an invite! Here are the steps:
1. Sign up for the private beta on by giving your email.
2. Go back to the homepage and click the 'Forgot password' link.
3. Type in the same email address you gave for the private beta registration.
4. Check your email. You will find a mail from Hulu with a password.
5. Use the above email id and the new password to log onto Hulu!
6. This will take you to a registration screen where you can enter a user id and a new password.
7. And voila! You're inside Hulu :)

I guess its a small bug in their system and they'll probably fix it soon once the word gets out :). So hurry!!!

BTW, for those of you outside the US (like me), the videos don't work. I guess using a proxy might help, but I haven't tried it yet.


Friday, July 20, 2007

Pownce invites!

I've got a few Pownce invites left... Want???

Monday, April 30, 2007

Hot salaries!

Check out this list of top paying jobs in the US by Business 2.0.

Here are some of the surprises:

- The highest paying job is Senior Database Administrator, raking in a whopping $93,000 a year! (actually I remember my databases prof at Stanford mentioning something like this... so this isn't too much of a surprise :)

- Oh wait! Actually the highest paying is Anesthesiologist at $225,000! Woah!

- The highest paying engineering job is Project Engineer followed by Civil Engineer ($57,200)! (I would have expected Computer/Electrical/Bio engineering positions to pay better)


Gmail slow?

Doesn't Gmail seem to be getting slower by the day???

Monday, April 16, 2007

The leopard delay isn't such a bad move...

Industry analysts have cried wolf over Apple's recent announcement delaying the Leopard OS' release by a few months. Apple has explained that the iPhone requires more resources (engineering and QA) than previously expected and so they are shifting some manpower from the Leopard team to the iPhone team.

First of all, this is a 4 months delay - hardly anything compared to the years that Vista was delayed. This is not such a big deal. Not even to the hardcore mac guys. Why? Apple will only be delaying the Leopard so that they can thoroughly test it before releasing it. The actual OS will be complete by the WWDC in June as originally planned, but they will not have enough time to QA it before WWDC. And so, Apple is going to release a Beta version of the Leopard to the developers at WWDC for free. This will definitely keep them happy - for a while.

Many claim that this move signifies 'Apple abandoning the mac for some toys'. While this does initially look like the Mac were abandoning its staple Mac OS for the unpredictable and risky iPhone venture. But lets take a step back and look at the options that Apple had at this stage. Just a few months ago, the iPhone announcement received massive media coverage - almost every single publication (tech and non-tech) had something to say about the iPhone - and in most cases, the feedback was positive. The Leopard, which was announced a couple of Macworlds before the iPhone got almost no coverage when compared to the iPhone. While the Leopard 'represents' the Mac, its delay isn't such a big deal actually - especially when you compare it to what might have happened if Apple announced that they were delaying the iPhone.

Some argue that Apple has no right to give the excuse of insufficient manpower. They say that Apple should have no problem spending a little more money on hiring more engineers. Well, a look at the career section of the Apple website does show that they are hiring feverishly. However, hiring cannot help them solve a short-term problem like this. They had to shift resources.

It is also wrong to assume that the iPhone is completely independent of the 'Mac'. iPhone runs the Mac OS and its potential to turn PC users to the Mac is incredible. According to John Welch , the iLife, the iPhone and Final Cut Pro are all doing one thing - bringing back attention to the Mac. The iPhone is perhaps going to have a stronger influence on getting in new Mac users than the Leopard itself.

Therefore, concerns about Apple fumbling around are definitely misplaced. Steve and his guys know what they are doing and they seem to be on the right track. If all goes well, lots of people are going to be really happy when the iPhone comes out. And they will be pleasantly surprised to see Leopard when it does get released.


Check out my portfolio and analyses at

Why 'stink-less durians' may not be a good idea

Seth Godin has an interesting take on stinky and stink-less durians and why the latter may not be such a good idea...

He suggests that the reason why non-durian eaters avoid durians may not be the stink at all.. And so, solving the stink problem may not result in a new breed of durian eaters... He goes on to explain by saying that non-customers are not the right people to get feedback from. This is because, in most cases, they are telling you why they don't buy something as opposed to what will make them buy that thing.

Interesting point and it kinda makes sense... Check out the post here.


Photo courtesy: Peter Emmett

Sunday, April 15, 2007

'Hot' - ology!

Haha... This one's hilarious! Finally we have one good article that takes aim at the crappy lyrics we find in most songs these days... Check out this sarcastic commentary about America's No.1 song today...

Hot Hot Heat

The best part about this article is how they 'analyze' the lines of the song with flowcharts and venn diagrams n all... Good stuff!

Here are some interesting lines from this 'song'...
I'm hot coz I'm fly/You ain't coz u not!
and check this one out...
I could sell a mil sayin nothin on a track!
I haven't heard this song yet, but I sure know how its gonna sound :) Haha... How do people listen to this kind of stuff?!


Thursday, April 12, 2007


Google Calendar

Today Thu, Apr 12

10:00am 4218 Presentation
05:00pm EE4401 Term Paper deadline
6:00pm EE4210 Presentation


Sunday, April 08, 2007

TED Talks: Debunking myths about the "Third World"

This is a fantastic presentation made by Prof. Hans Rosling at the TED Talks last year. Prof Rosling is a global health visionary and a professor at Sweden's Karolinska Institute. He is also the founder of GapMinder, a company that "unveils the beauty of statistics by converting boring numbers into enjoyable interactive animations."

In this presentation, Prof Rosling uses these beautiful animations to disprove some myths and misconceptions about the state of the "Third World countries". What I love about this presentation is the incredible amount of energy that this guy has. He mixes in humor, excitement and drama to capture the attention of the audience. Good stuff :) Check it out here...

Btw, if you are looking for some great speeches and presentations by visionaries, you should check out TED - Technology, Entertainment and Design. It's an annual conference where thinkers and visionaries from around the world come down to share their thoughts. These are some of the TED Talks I found powerful and inspiring:

U2's Bono on Poverty in Africa
Steven Levitt, Author (Freakonomics)
Richard Dawkins, Author (The God Delusion)
Jeff Han, Inventor of Multitouch Technology (a la iPhone)
Al Gore on Global Warming
Majora Carter on community building in the Bronx


Thursday, April 05, 2007

Getting your email read...

Here are some interesting tips on how to write a good subject line for your email... Some are obvious, some are not...
Word Wise: Subject to Change


twist in the story...

Wow.. Just when you thought the story was wrapping up with a happy ending.. the prison break guys have done it again!

I just finished watching the last episode of Season 2... and I'm hungry for more. I don't know who the story writer for Prison Break is, but I know that he's one helluva writer :) For those who haven't seen the episode yet, I suggest you go n watch it ASAP... and for those who don't know what I'm talking about... well... wake up!

Prison break has done a brilliant job of keeping the excitement alive for 44 freakin episodes... And they have a brilliant way of mixing in suspense with the story line... There's always some question or the other that keeps nagging you as soon as you watch each episode! And the smart thing is that, even though its all just one story, they keep changing focus every few episodes... and that keeps you from getting bored... The timing is perfect too! Just as you get a vague feeling that you might get bored, they pop in these totally unexpected twists!

And of course the acting is awesome. Coupled with good camera work and smooth screenplay, the production is just kick ass.

This time around, it seemed like they were wrapping up the entire series... all the bad guys were dead/in jail, the good guys were free and it looked like a fairy tale ending. And boom! I'm suddenly in a different world... from out of nowhere, they bring in a secret military research center and.... oh wait, don't let me spoil it for you. Go watch it!

Have you heard of Kanban?

I've heard the word before, but I never really thought too deep about its meaning. I think I first came across while I was working at Ford Motors in India and I knew that it was something to do with the Japanese way of manufacturing. I didn't bother to explore beyond that.

Over the last few weeks, however, my interest in everything Japanese has been growing and I'm beginning to admire 'Jap' stuff :) I guess this was fueled by an application I've made for an internship in Japan this summer...

So, in the midst of this Jap craze, when I came across the word 'Kanban' in Seth Godin's post, my curiosity jumped to life! In his blog post, Seth actually talks about how companies tend to launch 'incomplete' products and then blame it on deadlines or resources or other things. He stresses that it may be better to not launch a product at all, as opposed to launching it with flaws because of time and resource constraints. He advices fellow marketers to not accept to market a product that is 'mediocre'. And that's when he mentions Kanban.

Did you know that in a Japanese car factory, if a car part isn't perfect, the worker refuses to install it! And the entire production line just stops! Until a better quality part is retrieved, the production just doesn't continue. Its a matter of trading production quality over efficiency.
No wonder Japanese cars are far more reliable than American ones! This reminds of me something that happened when I was looking for a car in the US last year. Almost everyone told me to stick to Japanese cars unless I wanted my car to break down in the middle of the highway. Now, I know where that comes from!

When I read up here n there to find out more about Kanban, I came across some pretty interesting stuff... This quality control aspect of Kanban is only one part of it. The actual purpose of Kanban is to implement JIT (Just In Time) manufacturing, where the amount of inventory on hand is just enough for the manufacturing to continue without stopping. Excess inventory actually translates into greater costs and therefore the JIT system makes the manufacturing process highly cost effective and efficient. Kanban involves the use of signalling. The workers have signal boards with them which they use to communicate the levels of available inventory. The suppliers replenish the inventory as and when it gets used up. This same concept is used in modern day computerized inventory management systems as well. Its all about information and having a transparent supply chain, where each member has access to all the relevant information from other members right when they need it. In fact, I was involved in building one such ERP system while I was working at Excelics Semiconductor in Sunnyvale.

Hmm... so that's one more thing on my list of admirable things about the Japanese :)


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

This is heights...

No action against Singapore swim pair
"...The two Singapore swimmers accused of smiling at the misfortune of their American colleagues at the 12th Fina World Championships are not likely to face any disciplinary action..."
What the...?!
"...Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) vice-president Oon Jin Gee said that there would be an investigation and an official apology would be issued if the boys were indeed guilty of 'poor sportsmanship'..."
Huh?! Action against someone for bad sportsmanship?! I am truly at a loss for words right now...


Smart Kid :)

Found this on the Freakonomics blog...

Tagliamonte’s son lost his first tooth when he was nearly seven; the parents didn’t know how much to pay, so they asked their son. “He asked for one penny for his first tooth,” Tagliamonte writes, “but wanted to double it to two cents for the second tooth, which was also loose. … We’re now up to 64 cents for the forthcoming seventh loose tooth with the stipulation that once he receives $10.24 for the 11th tooth, all subsequent payments, including the $5,242.88 payment for No. 20, will go into his 529 college-savings account.”

Damn! How could I miss this opportunity to make thousands of dollars!



I just created a new blog on Tumblr... its called laid back.

Oh wait... This doesn't mean I'm ditching this blog and moving to a new one! You don't have to update your RSS readers.. (not yet, at least!) I'm just checking out a new site called Tumblr.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I heard about Tumblr a few weeks back on techcrunch or something. Tumblr claims to be a tool for creating tumblelogs. As soon as I read that, I was like...

"What! Another blog term? Aren't we already tired of photoblogs, vlogs, linklogs, sketchblogs, phlogs, moblogs, splogs, slogs and all that other crap?"

Haha! But then, something looked different about Tumblr and I decided to find out more. It turns out that tumbleblogging may be a pretty interesting idea after all!

As most of us know, one of the biggest problems with blogging is that its difficult to keep the momentum alive. All of us have created a blog at some time or the other, but few are able to keep blogging for sustained periods of time. For some reason or the other, people just stop blogging. Apparently, some 75% or more of the blogs out there are inactive!

This has happened to me many times in the past... In fact, this very blog has already gone through at least three long periods of inactivity. (I hope I can keep up this stretch of blogging going for as long as possible!)

The funny thing about the above phenomenon is that (contrary to what many people think) we do not stop blogging because we have nothing to say. I think, all of us have plenty of things to say. Its just that the effort behind actually blogging is just too much for lazy fools like us.

And that's where tumbleblogging comes in. Tumbleblogging removes the pain away from blogging. According to Wikipedia:
A tumblelog is a variation of a blog, that favors short-form, mixed-media posts over the longer editorial posts frequently associated with blogging.
And says:
If blogs are journals, tumblelogs are scrapbooks.
The idea is to provide an easier and faster way of blogging - really short posts with not too much writing or effort involved. A post could be just a video or a photo or a quote. And the best part is that the templates offered by providers like are suited for exactly these kind of posts. Check out what a Tumblelog looks like right here. Do you see the difference? Big fonts and formatting that is suited to short, mixed-media posts. So that's what Tumbleblogging is about.

So, why am I interested? Scroll down a bit... You see those pics and videos on my blog? Each time I post a pic, it involves finding it on some site, copying it to my computer, uploading it to photobucket, getting the link, putting it into blogger, resizing/aligning it, adding tags and publishing it... phew... for my Tumblelog, all i need to do is click Tumble on my browser bar and it goes right into my tumblelog. And that means, no more 'too busy to blog' excuses...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Let me try it out for a while and maybe I'll do a more in-depth review of Tumblr later... As for moving completely over to Tumblr, I don't see that happening anytime soon. I like to write stuff :) I'll stick to this blog when it comes to writing posts like this one. But when it comes to photos, videos, quotes, etc., I'll probably just tumble it. (Did I just invent a new word?!)


NUS vs. NTU vs. SMU


Monday, April 02, 2007


Check this out...

Sonopia, a Menlo Park, CA based company, actually allows you to launch your own mobile phone career... And apparently it just takes minutes to set up!

Obviously, by 'mobile phone career', they are actually referring to an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) - a company that leases out cellular bandwidth from conventional careers and provides it to customers with additional value added services.

You can create your own calling plan and tailor the service to serve a particular set of customers.. One can only imagine the number of wireless 'companies' that are going to spring up as a result of this! They have already set up a number of networks - including NWF mobile, DOGSF and 4x4 wireless. NWF (National Wildlife Fund) for example offers a 450 minute plan for $40 and they even guarantee you that a good portion of the money that you spend will go towards protecting wildlife!

I can't wait to launch "PsychoTel" :P


Saturday, March 31, 2007


Found this one right inside NUS (my university)...



A lone woman shows incredible courage as she struggles against soldiers from the Israeli army. This incredible photograph, by Oded Balilty of the Associated Press, won the World Press Photo Awards 2007.


Image Courtesy:

Just Google!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Nikon Universcale: Beautiful flash animation

The entire universe in one little flash animation - right from the smallest subatomic particles to the farthest nebulae... beautiful! Check it out here...


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Swim across the Atlantic?!

It looks like the Google Maps guys are getting a little bored these days :).

Mohan points us to this interesting Google Map search result that a friend of his encountered after typing the wrong addresses into the search box. Check it out here!


Monday, March 26, 2007


If you've noticed, I've finally moved to the new Blogger. I was using the old template until now, only because I had no time. Moving over to the new template requires you to redo all the changes you've made, including the little bits of Javascript you've added here and there... Well, I've now done it finally.
The new Blogger really isn't all that great. I for one, didn't find anything too special in it except for the new post categories. I'm now contemplating a move away from Blogger itself... to Wordpress or something. I don't really know the pros or cons of Wordpress over Blogger, but all the cool bloggers seem to be on Wordpress :P


A free mobile phone carrier?!

Blyk, a Helsinki-based startup may soon become the world's first free mobile phone carrier. Yes, you read that right! A free carrier! No more mobile phone bills!

And how exactly do they plan to do that, you ask? Well, how else... Blyk, which launches in UK this summer, will be completely supported by advertising.

Now, these guys are not traditional mobile phone operators a la Starhub or Singtel... These guys are actually MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators). What this means is that they resell wireless services under their own name, using the network of another operator. This usually allows MVNOs to focus on providing other value added services. What is different about Blyk's approach is the fact that MVNOs like Ampd Mobile have tried to position themselves in the upper end of the market by providing premium services, whereas Blyk seems to be doing exactly the opposite. Blyk will be focusing on the 16-24 year old market and they hope to provide advertisers a way to reach out to this group of people through an "innovative mobile media channel".

According to Red Herring, Blyk has signed up some major advertisers for its service, including Coca Cola. However, I am still doubtful if this service can actually be supported completely by ads. Take me, for example. I pay a monthly bill of about S$50 to Singtel. Now, assuming that Singtel makes a tidy 40% profit on that, the cost of providing that service to me is about 30$. If ads were going to replace my bills, then companies like Coca Cola are going to have to pay at least 30$ per person per month to keep a company like Blyk alive. Now this would mean that the advertiser expected me to purchase something valued at much >30$ from that company (else the advertising would be a waste). Right?! Isn't that a bit of a long shot?

Well, I'm not too sure if that logic up there is correct. In any case, I'm a little bit sceptic about how Blyk might pull this off. And if it does, I couldn't be happier (no more phone bills!).


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Google Homepage Themes

When I opened my browser this morning, I had a pleasant surprise waiting for me. I've been using Google personalized homepage for a while and today they finally did something about their painfully crappy UI. They've finally announced Themes! Right now, there are only a handful of themes, but all of them are quite nice. One little extra feature I really like is a dynamic wallpaper that actually portrays the real weather in your city! So if its raining outside, for eg., your background will show rainfall too. Nice :)

There are scores of personalized homepage websites out there - Pageflakes, Netvibes, My Yahoo, Google Personalized Homepage, AOL something, MSN something, etc etc. All of them are cool in their own little ways and compete with each other on features. And among these, the Google and Yahoo one were pretty much the crappiest looking... boxy, old-fashioned, themeless... Yet, they are the market leaders in this segment. This makes sense, considering the fact that (almost) every Internet user has a Google/Yahoo account. I, for eg, had to choose Google over the rest coz that's the only one that gave me access to all the Google services. I have my Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Reader, weather, todo list, etc all in one place :)

Until now, the only thing that sucked about this service was the look. By adding themes, I guess they've made it perfect :)