Wednesday, April 29, 2009

KTWV 10 Issue 06: GPS Navigator - Good or bad Development?

As my main Jacob's Blog entry for today, I have considered the Global Positioning System (GPS) Navigator, which I used for the first time yesterday, and whether it is a boon or a curse to mankind.

Do check it out and let me have your views.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

KTWV 10 Issue 05: What is talent?

(Also posted on Seventh Heaven Blog and Jacob's Blog.)

I usually do not have much time for TV except to throw off my shoes, put my feet up, watch a comedy or detective play and sleep through half of it!

One programme, however, that I have come to like is GPS hosted by Fareed Zakaria on CNN International, late on a Sunday evening.

Zakaria has some fascinating guests. He runs his interviews which do not show his personal bias.

Today was a show in which he had a discussion with an author, Malcolm Gladwell.

Gladwell has written a book called "Outliers". Although I have not read the book and will probably never will, I was fascinated by the discussion and interview.

The main thrust of the view of Gladwell was that "Talent is the Desire to Practice".

I immediately sent this message to several young friends of mine. I wonder how many of them will see this message in all its significance and glory.

The key word is "Desire".

To succeed in anything one must have that "Desire".
To reach that "Desire" one must "Work Hard".
The Hard Work is what we call "Practice"
And Practice leads to "Talent".

Gladwell gave the example of the Beatles, who in 1959 worked 8 hour nights in a strip club in Hamburg playing music. This is enormously hard work. It was this hard work which resulted in the moulding of the most famous Pop Group in the world.

Gladwell made very significant points about the influence of culture on failure or success and also about the development of reading aboilities at a young age which results in the possibility of success.

This statement took me back to the days when Annikki was writing her thesis about the Montessori System of Education. What I heard today was the restatement of what Maria Montessori said 7 decades ago when she noted that a small child will continue to repeat a task till he / she masters it. The outcome is talent, in small steps.

I go back to my school days where I used to watch a dear friend, Elijah Elias, more commonly known to all of us as Ooky, come to school at some unearthly hour and keep on bowling at the nets to achieve pace and direction. That was the talent of Ooky in cricket! But it is this Talent born out of Desire and Hard Work achieved by Practice which has made him succeed in his career in later life.

I take the example of our grandson, Samuel, who at the age of 12 simply loves reading - a book a day.

If his reading is focused correctly, Samuel could be outstanding in his career.

I only hope that in his school in England they realise this. I hope at least one of his teachers has read the book, "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell or knows the principles of the Maria Montessori Education System!

Thank you Mr. Fareed Zakaria.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

KTWV 10 Issue 04: My iMac died, Viva la Mac Mini!

(Also posted on my Seventh Heaven and Jacob's Blogs.)

My 10 year old iMac finally died. I tried to revive it. Failed.

I went back to my older macs, the Performa 6400 and tried to use that, but it was tooooo slooow.

I decided to splurge and get a new Mac.

I have a perfectly good Samsung SyncMaster 900 SL Monitor. I have many USB Keyboards and Mice, all in good condition. I have USB headphones, a dlink wireless USB adaptor, a La Cie Firewire / USB DVD / CD station, so I decided to buy the Mac Mini.

A difficult decision whether to buy the basic version mac Mini costing Euro 599 with a 120 GB Hard Disk or a 320 GB Hard Disk with 2 GB of memory.

As most of my work will be network computing, the extra hard disk was not important. Also I have many hard disks lying around, from 1 GB up to 60 GB.

I checked the memory prices and found that a 1 GB memory costs just Euro 30 while a 3 GB costs just Euro 60. I will have to determine whether it is user installable and then upgrade. So I spent just Euro 599.

Considering I got the new Leopard system, which costs Euro 128 and also the latest iLife software, which costs Euro 78, Thew Mac Mini actually cost me just Euro 400. Foor a 2 GHZ Core 2 Duo, with a 8 x Superdrive station which is a DVD±R, DL DVD±RW / CD RW, and with a NVDIDIA GeForce 9400M video card with 128 main memory with a DDR3 SDRAM, etc., etc., this must be one of the best buys that I have made in a decade.

On my way to the office I picked up Annikki from home to drop her at church. She was amazed to see the size of my new computer - 16.5 cm by 16.5 cm by 5 cm.

The whole computer set up was done in less than an hour, upgraded to the latest system and it is working just fine. The speaker system is a bit tinny, but as I usually used head phones, this is not a drawback for me. The Mac Mini recognised all the hardware I connected and went to the internet without any problem through the dlink adaptor!

Sunil, who has been commenting on my attachment, sentimental, to my iMac and eMac boxes which occupy almost all the space under my office table, may be quite pleased with the size the new Mac Mini box!! :-)

Monday, April 20, 2009

KTWV 10 Issue 03: A very nice letter from a Stephanian

I do get lots of letters from Stephanians from around the world. I thought this one was especially nice.

Like "prof. sreeni" in New York, its a small caps personality!

Nileen Putatunda
19 April 2009 14:34

dear uncle jacob,

namaste from kolkata. how are you?

i finished my ICSE (Class X) from St. Mary's School (ISC), Bombay in 1995 - i am sure you would know well about us :)

graduated from St. Stephen's College, Delhi in 2000. got into the MA Econ class in JNU but chose not to go.

have worked in social development since, in some parts of india.

occasionally written in the opinion space of newspapers.

i read somewhere that you were interested in knowing about Stephanian writers.

God allowed me to publish 4 books of spiritual poetry, in 2006, '07 and '08, all from the legend P Lal and his "Writers Workshop" (

P Lal is a 1970 Padma Shri, a prolific writer (perhaps the only man ever to have transcreated The Mahabharata sloka by sloka, more than 100,000 slokas, from Sanskrit to English) and his publishing house, now more than 50 years old, has published many 'names' like Vikram Seth, Ruskin Bond, etc.

since i only write spiritual poetry and some poems have references to scriptures, sometimes Vedantic scriptures, it requires serious reading.

my first book was favourably reviewed by a great scholar in Prabuddha Bharata, a monthly journal of the Ramakrishna Order started by Swami Vivekananda in 1896. this journal has a subscriber base in 125 countries, but it's for a very niche audience. my second book found sweet/brief mention in another select journal. fourth book being considered for review by yet another select journal.

i would like that more people know that these poem books have been written. i am not at all hungry for fame. i just want people to read and appreciate serious spiritual poetry. as an aspirant/sadhak, my pain and ecstasy on the path so far has been captured a little by my poems.

bored you enough.

prayers and love,


Yes, I want to publicise our Stephanian authors. Never bored when hearing about Stephanians. Will let the world know. As a start, Kooler Talk (Web Version) readers know about Nileen now!