A month ago. Saturday evening. Calls at 7.30 pm. 5 friends arrive at 9 pm. We take out the Karnataka map and decide where to go.

I suggested that we plan such that we can go to Shivagange for the sunrise and that we should take the shortest route out of Bangalore so that we can avoid the traffic as much as possible, and left the rest to the others. Since we were close to Mysore road, we reached a consensus within 2 minutes to take Mysore road → Srirangapatanam → Pandavapura → Nagamangala → Yediyur → Kunigal → Nelamangala → Shivagange → Back home. Roads : Mysore Road, Road connecting Mysore road to NH-48 , NH-48, NH-4.

Karnataka map
Getting petrol

On the way on Mysore Road, I suggested we skip “kaaDu mane” restaurant because we’ve been there often, and one of us was insisting on a dhaba. We kept saying we’ll stop for the next one, and kept skipping dhabas. Discussion topics varied from pulling legs to politics to amazing lecturers like for example, an Electronics lecturer said that high-strength signals are sent towards a satellite and low-strength signals come towards earth. Why? Because of gravity! True story. We finally went to Kamat Lokaruchi and had amazing joLada roti oota.

Kamat Lokaruchi

I was singing “Hit the road, Jack” and we were back on the highway.

Hit the road, Jack
Car
The road is open 24x7

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There are three software that are always open for me at work:

  1. Konsole – for coding
  2. Firefox – for email, internal websites, news, etc.
  3. Gaim – for talking to colleagues

It’s interesting that I don’t use anything else at all.

Hmm, I can’t get anything done if I’m not connected to the network. I’m useless by myself. Has the age of the drones cometh?

The Search book cover

I just finished reading ‘The Search’ by John Battelle. What an amazing story to read. Learning about Bill Gross and his IdeaLab alone was worth reading the book, and he still keeps ideating, like Snap.com. Heck, even Picasa came from IdeaLab.

There are many tidbits from the book that were interesting, such as about Louis Monier:

It was Louis Monier who took AltaVista from concept to executable code … “I’ve always been interested in big, nasty problems,” Monier told me. Search provided one of the nastiest. Not only do the numbers scale to the near infinite, there was a very real need for good search in 1994. “Search engines at the time were just terrible,” Monier recalls. “Yahoo was a great catalog, but it had no search. So I set about to work on the crawl.”

About Stanford:

Stanford’s 6,200-acre patch of rolling California woodlands is the most productive incubator of technology companies the world has ever seen. Nestled between the silicon factories of Intel and Apple on one end and Sand Hill Road’s venture capitalists on the other, Stanford is a place where students have already dreamed of starting their own companies or going to work for a pre-IPO start-up. And Stanford’s computer science department, where Yang and Filo hung their hats, is perhaps the most prodigious start-up incubator of them all.

About Yahoo:

Another reason Yahoo succeeded was its sense of fun – a characteristic that would come to define not only Yahoo, but nearly every Internet company seeking the fickle approval of the Web public. Yahoo pioneered some of the Web’s earliest social mores – including, for example, links to competitors’ sites in case a searcher could not find what he or she was looking for, and listing “what’s hot” prominently on its home page, thereby driving extraordinary amounts of traffic to otherwise obscure sites.

Thanks to practices like these, the company captured the public’s imagination early and often, garnering a slew of adoring press notices familiar to anyone watching Google’s rise to prominence over the past few years.

About how a mathematical curiosity led to PageRank:

Page didn’t land on the idea of Web-based search at the outset; far from it. Despite the fact that Stanford alumni were getting rich starting Internet companies, Page found the Web interesting primarily for its mathematical characteristics. Each computer was a node, and each link on a Web page was a connection between nodes – a classic graph structure. “Computer scientists love graphs,” Page tells me, referring to the mathematical definition of the term. The World Wide Web, Page theorized, may have been the largest graph ever created, and it was growing at a breakneck pace. One could reasonably argue that many useful insights lurked in its vertices, awaiting discovery by inquiring graduate students. Winograd agreed, and Page set about pondering the link structure of the Web.

About Google’s geeky sense of humor and control:

On April 29, 2004, Google filed what certainly had to be the most unusual S1 – the formal public offering document – in recent memory. At filing, Google declared it would sell $2,718,281,828 worth of its shares – a seemingly random number, which was, in fact, the mathematical equivalent of e, a concept not unlike pi that has unique characteristics and is well known to serious math geeks. By manipulating the actual offering to provide this knowing wink to nerd humor, Google was in effect declaring: the geeks are in control.

Perhaps, the most interesting part of the book for me was the last chapter – ‘Perfect Search’. Battelle profiles what could be the future of Search.

When it comes to search, as with the Internet itself, the most interesting stuff is yet to come. As every engineer in the search field loves to tell you, search is at best 5 percent solved – we’re not even into the double digits of its potential. And search itself is changing at such a rapid pace – in the past year important innovations have rolled out once a week, if not faster – that attempts to predict the near future are almost certainly doomed.

I’ve been working on the Yahoo! Buzz Index for the past 2 years, and many a time I’ve been asked (by friends and colleagues) why I haven’t changed teams yet. But I often ponder to myself – change to what? Being a rabidly information-hungry internet user (well, I’ve calmed down off late), I always found search engines remarkable and Buzz does a lot of analysis on search, it’s quite fascinating, and the sheer volume of data is equally interesting. I’ve had my share of ups and downs (and some very steep downs), but it has been interesting.

We do a lot more than what Google Trends does, however Buzz has a more practical business model in which the interesting insights are kept for the paid customers and the interesting stories are written for the public.

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