Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sunday Evening ........

I stumbled upon a couple of rather interesting urls over last few days, though completely un-correlated, they have a common theme.

Here's one about chuck norris and the global credit crunch

and here's one about Paul Graham and Life Universe and Everything.

Monday, September 24, 2007

supwerbowl of cricket (update 2)

Hoooooooosh! It's over in as dramatic style it gets, the sigh of releif comes because India managed to reach home. But what a match it was an absolute stunner of a game!! This is the third occassion I remember, where I thank God for giving me eyes to watch the spectacle in front of my eyes!!! The last two were our Test win at Adelaide and the wimbledon 2007 final.

This format of limited overs cricket has been quite a revealation in more than one ways! It's excitement crunched into less than half the number of overs. Traditionally cricket has been a game of batsmen but the Grand Finale to the T-20 worldcup proved, it's the ballers who still call the shots!! Apart from that there have been a few revealations for the Indian cricket. For starters, it proves that a unit that plays as a unit wins and you don't really need superstars! (well this as well could have been a setup and the conspiracy theorist in me still believe so.), but still a world cup victory is a world cup victory Setup or otherwise!

Some interesting finds have been, the way Dhoni has lead the team establishing an authority, showing faith in young guns (Dravid would not have dared in his life to put Yusuf Pathan as opener, anyways he's a poor captain spare him for this good day!), then givign ball to Joginder Sharma, playing a big gamble twice in a row, remember it could have gone either way! But thats what they say in Poker, you can only loose what you've got on the table, but if you don't play, you can't possibly win much more.

The fielding has been of pretty decent standard. Uthapa's direct hit to get rid of Imran Nazir came just at the right time. Importantly, the bowlers are bowling within the stumps! You miss, I hit! and not to forget one of the biggest finds of this tourname Rohit Sharma. He's a cool customer.

It would be unfair not to give due credit to the splendid display of calculated risk taking by Misbah, but he was just a little short in the end! Never mind well played man!!

This does not mean Indian cricket is out of the woods, but today is the day to celebrate man!! Only if our board and selectors learn that "There is talent and thus an opportunity, only if you think beyond the obvious!"

Well played team India!! Many congratulations! and well played pakis too! Tough luck!!!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Monday the 24th - Superbowl of Cricket

It's Superbowl of Cricket!!!

A couple of weeks ago, when the twenty-twenty world cup started and if someone were to pick the winner, or even guess the finalists, I guess a lot of names would have come to the fore, barring the two who are making it to the final.

I for once have stayed away from Cricket for a while, but this format is best format of the cricket after test matches. It's the excitement of 50 overs squeezed into 20 overs and there's everything that a cricket fan enjoys. Balls going out of the park, stumps going off the ground, stunning catches, ubelievable run outs and deluge of runs! Though I must admit, this format is a bit harsh if you are a bowler, but traditionally Cricket has been batsmans' game.

Surprisingly, the young Indian team is playing some "good solid cricket". The way India defeated aussies yesterday (I still feel a touch sad when aussies loose, even if India defeats them.) in a knockout match, pressure cooker situation, certainly means the momentum is with India, but pakis are playing a good game too.

It is BIG, World Cup final and it's India Vs. Pakistan!!! It's the superbowl of Cricket!!!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

By the way

I was amazed to find out that my ssh session was intact after a reboot following "hibernate" in ubuntu!! Too damn good!

Friday, September 21, 2007

All this was nine years ago?

I have heard about LTCM so often, that I decided to check out what it is...Incidently today happen's to be the ninth anniversary of LTCM's debacle. :-)

Here is a detailed chronology of what happened at LTCM. Honestly I didnt understand the details of LTCMs strategy and what caused the screw up.

I have been following the finance news quite closely off-late and some of the causes of debacle of LTCM, and those of hedge funds like Golden Alpha or Bear Sterns are strikingly similar.
- Complex Mathematical Models.
- Heavy Leverage
- Atleast one unhedged risk going wrong.

Why is it not that we learn lessons from events just nine years away? Or is it that no one wants to learn the lessons at all, for they know, if I screw up, I am going to be bailed out.

For my friends who undertand sed. just do s/LTCM/"Golden Alpha" and s/Russian GKO/American Subprime

and everything else is same

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

How Bernanke has (potentially) screwed me!

Yesterday, I was toying with the idea - What if Bernanke does a Paul Volker? I was a bit too optimistic about this I guess (I am still short on Nifty). Apart from that there is a reason why I can be potentially screwed by Bernanke's pyrotechniques yesterday.

Recently, I have got a project where I am going to get payment in US dollars(or pesso), by the time I get my payment, the dollar might be a good couple of rupees below the current price and I stand to loose a decent amount of money. I guess, subsequently, it makes sense to quote in Euros.

PS: Out of curiosity, I was watching the Defty( which is the Nifty in dollars) YTD, while the Nifty is just 12% up YTD, Defty is up 23%. I guess, it won't be long before we hear words like Dollar Carry Trade.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Hedge funds or Leverage funds?

One of the best examples of the word misnomer is "Hedge Fund". Hedge funds are about everything but hedge. Bloomberg recently reported blowup by the so called "quant" hedge funds in August (again). One Goldman's Golden Alpha fund - Which bet for the Yen carry trade and lost 22.5% in august. Interestingly, Japanese housewives, a group becoming prominent forex traders also lost money in the month of August thanks to carry trade (where they were Yen short an Australian Dollar long.), which means the complex mathematical models employed by Goldman's alpha fund are not much different than those employed by Japanese Housewives, who are without the luxury of enormous amount of computing power at their disposal. This is not to demean Mrs. wattanabe, but the point here is - There is no "complex mathematical model". Most of the Hedge funds lost an average of 1.6% in August while the S&P gained 1.5% in the same month. Hence if some of those hedgefunds had actually "hedged" their speculations against S&P a lot of their losses will be "contained".

Mish's weblog has got a few interesting posts to read about it.

This is plain simple speculation amplified by leverage. So what should the name be? Golden Alpha Obscene Leverage Fund?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Tata Indicom and the art of Incompetence (update 2)

After being horrified with Tata Indicom's customer service, attached is an update to a mail sent to the folks. I received two "mail undeliverable errors", while these are the adresses picked up from their website. Looks like I will have to start a blog dedicated to incompetence of Tata Indicom.

Attached is the mail in original...

Remember this is the website of the second largest conglomerate in India and the webmaster address is not reachable. Can one imagine the impression an external guy is going to have? Ditto for the corporate.Affairs email address for a company website.

This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification.

Unable to deliver message to the following recipients, because the message was forwarded more than the maximum allowed times. This could indicate a mail loop.

"This communication (including any accompanying documents / attachments) is intended only for the use of the addressee(s) and contains information that is PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL. If you are not the intended recipient, you are notified that any dissemination and/or copying of this e-mail is Strictly prohibited and you are requested to delete this e-mail immediatelyCommunicating through e-mail is not secure and capable of interception & delays. Any one communicating with Tata Companies by e-mail accepts the risks involved and their consequences. While this e-mail has been checked for all known viruses,the addressee should also scan for viruses and notify the originator or e-mail Thank you for your co-operation."

Final-Recipient: rfc822;
Action: failed
Status: 4.4.6

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Abhijit Gadgil"
Date: Sat, 15 Sep 2007 17:17:38 +0530
Subject: Fwd: Horrible Customer Care Experience (TTML)
Dear Mr. Hussain,

Being a customer and shareholder of your company, I believe I have a
right to ask few questions about the nature of operations of the
company. A reply from you may help me decide whether I should continue
being both or neither. I am afraid, my current inclination points to
later, based upon the recent exchange with your company regarding a
Samsung Duo phone. This is going to be my final attempt at banging my
head against the wall (probably, I am just an optimist, that you'd
improve, or a downright fool.)

Here is the detailed story -

Recently, I have seen the advertisement for Samsung Duo phone in News
paper and looking at the specifications was inclined to buy that
phone. The details of that experience are narrated in the mail
attached below, if you care please read that. I fail to understand
some very basic things.

1. If the handset comes with two slots for SIM cards, and ther is a
slot for a CDMA SIM card, why I cannot use my current prepaid SIM card
with the handset?

2. What if I really buy a new connection, but of course "being still
somewhat sane, inspite of being your customer", I would like to retain
my number and are you saying thats not possible? Or in other words -
"Well you were idiot enough to trust with us before - Tough luck

3. I understand, there are various pricing mdoels, that come out of
creative(?) minds, which implies certain offers are packed in a
specific manner. Does it mean, you are going to loose some of the
customers for good because of those models. As a shareholder, I
believe I have a right to ask that question.

4. The competence of customer service is abysmal (I can not think of
any other word!). See below for a detailed discussion.

It is unfortunate that the quality of service is somewhat
questionable, which is a serious disturbing fact for me both as a
customer and shareholder, especially from a trusted brand like Tatas'.

The only good thing about you being you are not crooks. So ultimately,
I am left to decide between somewhat competent crooks and absolutely
incompetent but not crooks. If the "care for customer" is so pathetic,
I'd bite the bitter pill in that case.

If you care to look into some of these questions and answer me, I'd be



Friday, September 14, 2007

Tata Indicom and the art of Incompetence....

This is the letter I sent to their divisional headish guys, not sure whether this whill help....

Dear Ms. Navaz Karanjia and Mr. Shailesh Nandanwar,

Here is one interesting tale about the quality (or lack of it!) in
your customer service. Of course, I don't expect to receive a reply
from you. Thats your style (I mean your estimed company's.)

After checking the recent advertisement for Samsung Duo phone in the
newspaper (Times of India, Pune, Dated 13th September 2007), I had
called the customer care number mentioned in the advertisement to
request for a new "handset". Which by the way comes with a SIM card,
but still one has to take a connection with it, while I already have
one. So far so good, I don't mind taking a new connection as well.

Now I receive following calls - In that Order

1. From "A department" asking me whether I had applied for new
connection? I said NO. I had requested for new Handset and the guy
told me that one has to take a new connection.

2. Another call (now, I am surprised a bit, that your company actually
followed up a call, never mind.) asking me - Do you want a new Mobile
Connection. I had to re-iterate again. No I want a new Handset.

I am not too sure why is it so hard to jot down the following as a
Customer Request and why this cannot go to right department, in the
first attempt or atleast second or atleast third? "Mr. So and So has
requested for a new Samsung Duo phone, please follow up, this is the

Yours is a company, unique in incompetence, where a customer is
himself asking for a business and you don't have the right people to
deliver the basic service. It is unfortunate the level of service (I
am afraid, I can't think of a better or worse word for this) is
associated with a trusted brand like Tata's, but never mind when you
hire morons, you can't expect to do a half decent job of anything.

Hoping that you'd atleast read this email.



Saturday, September 08, 2007

Possible Orkut bug?

I have been busy cleaning my mailbox etc. when I discovered an Interesting bug in Orkut. Attached is the Image. There is not a single scrap in my scrapbook and yet it shows 7 scraps. Not sure. How? I was thinking may be it was also counting messages in my Inbox. Well that doesn't tally either!! :-(

There are other things that I encounterd as well. eg. When the number of Scrap Entries in the dropdown list was 10, it was showing only three scraps on the page.

I guess, it will serve a lot more to fix these bugs than changing "css". The new "css" is bad btw!

Oh and puhleeezzzz puhleeez fix the naasty onKeyPress in blogger. The letters appear on your screen as if one is doing a Telnet to a server on Mars.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

And this is not a setup?

Suman, once asked me "Is there anything you believe at all?" My answer was "Well not till I can independently verify it!". I had told him why Shwarzeneger became a big success in US (he comes from an iron curtain country, and what better way to show to the world, in the days of Cold War that America is a land of opportunities), why you started seeing bruce lee films around mid eighties (that was the time when there was a heavy American investment in China) and so on the list is endless.

Coming back to the topic of the day "India Vs. England Match". Well these days I am so engrossed following stock markets around the world (which are also setup btw, but the only good thing being there is a chance for me to make money there. More about this later), that I hardly follow cricket. But I watch the score once or twice. So when we switched on TV after returning from our shop, India required 42 runs of 25 balls. I calmly told my dad don't worry we'd win this match. It is setup to be like that. I guess after the much celebrated "test series win" the script of the Natwest series was written in advance 1-0, 1-1, 2-1, 3-1, 3-2, 3-3, 4-3 England winning it. So there was not much of doubt in my mind about the outcome of today's match. Well that doesn't mean you give final over to a part-time bowler when each of the regular bowlers have one over to spare. Never mind. So while a lot of people were jubiliant after watching India win, I was just smiling to myself for being proved right. This does not mean, we could not have lost the match, but certainly not in final over. And the way we won it was suspicious enough. With three balls to spare, you don't bring long-off in and bowl a half volley.I really felt sorry for having spent countless number of hours watching the game before. Wish I could learn these things beforehand.