Seminar: Morgan Dene Oliver – CEO OliverMcMillan

Today's speaker was Morgan Dene Oliver who is a CEO of OliverMcMillan, a real estate development and management firm. While his projector was getting fixed, he started by doing some show-of-hands about who in the audience:
1. believes "Art and Design" are essential for their future success ? (Many hands went up)
2. believes they are left brained ? (some - much less that I anticipated)
3. believes that people can use both left and right side of their brain ? (Huh ? almost all hands)

Then he offered some introduction about the left and right brain functions and recommended a book by Daniel Pink: A Whole New Mind which talks about how your right brain is going to help you achieve differentiation. Morgan also mentioned that Creativity, Tenacity as very important values for entrepreneurs. "You can always find someone who is more brilliant than you, but not someone who is more creative than you". With this theme, the presentation started. On the showcase were several of the stunningly beautiful and familiar buildings in La Jolla, UTC, Downtown area. He touched upon how they started to introduce complete community-in-a-building feeling to all their development, the importance of location for real-estate (I have yet to see any real-estate guy not utter location-location-location phrase in any talk), strategically buying properties in downturn and also some of the mistakes that they made and some of the unfortunate bad timings. Someone asked about Green Buildings (eco friendly) in San Diego downtown and his answer was that this was no longer a fad, but a requirement. Also mentioned about supporting the art tax bill from all commercial development. Had an interesting advice for real estate locations - buy properties near art galleries, gay communities!

Date: Nov/02/07

Seminar: Leo Spiegel – Mission Ventures

This was the first professional seminar. Leo Spiegel is a managing partner with Mission Ventures, a hi-tech venture capital firm. Leo has been a president of Digital Island, CEO of Sandpiper Networks. He is also a member of Dean's advisory Council of Rady School of Management, UCSD.

This was an interesting and engaging presentation about Leadership Lessons (the subtitle was funny but I cannot remember it). One interesting thing was that all the slides were a single point followed by a cartoon describing that. Presentation Zen!

The actual message in the presentation was same-old. Good values, Vision, Choose Great People. Common sense (so uncommon in practice!). The anecdotes after each point were very interesting. The following question-answer session was also great - He talked about the startups in San Diego and Orange County area, the profiles of the companies they are currently "incubating" (Entropic, Slacker - which he was very enthusiastic about), his greatest investments so far...

All in all, a great kickoff to the seminar series.

Date: Sept/21/07

Seminar: John Mutch – MV Advisors

John Mutch has been a CEO of HNC software and was appointed the CEO of Peregrine Systems by Federal Bankruptcy court. He took Peregrine Systems from bankruptcy condition to the price tag of $425 millions (HP was the buyer). Since then he started a MV Advisors, an "Activist hedge fund".

What is an Activist Hedge Fund ? The strategy is to find technology companies which are undervalued compared to peers because of corporate governance issues and organize shareholder activism to improve them and in the process create market value. They do this by establishing big stock positions (starting from 4.9 percent which keeps you under SEC radar!), bargaining for board seats and then improving matters by possibly restructuring products, reviewing executive compensation, spin-off, merge as necessary and kick away non-performing executives!

An interesting business model and a good conversation...

Date: Oct/05/2007

Quick tip – how to extract audio from youtube videos

Here is a quick tip for extracting audio from youtube videos. I assume you have a reasonably recent linux distribution. (Things might work on other operating systems as well as all the applications that I mention below are ported to other operating systems)

Step 1: Download the flash video file from youtube. Either use greasemonkey script or a python script to extract it. (I use the python script way BTW) You can also use the online site to show you the download link.
Step 2: Use ffmpeg or mplayer to extract audio from the flv file that you just downloaded:
ffmpeg -i f7v9NhmF3SY.flv johny.mp3
mplayer -dumpaudio f7v9NhmF3SY.flv -dumpfile johny.mp3


Some excel functions

I keep forgetting some of the functions in excel and it is embarrassing to search for the same things every time.

PERMUT(n, r) = nPr = n! / (n - r)!
COMBIN(n, r) = nCr = n!/((n-r)!r!)
FACT(n) = n! = 1*2*3*...*n
BINOMDIST(s, n, p, cumul) Probability that there will be exactly s successes in n trials, each trial having a success probability of p (cumul = FALSE). If cumul is true it returns the probability that there will be at most s successes in n trials.

श्री गणपती आरती

श्री गणपती आरती ध्वनी मुद्रित Sukhkarta Dukhharta.mp3
सुखकर्ता दुखहर्ता वार्ता विघ्नांची
नुरवी पुरवी प्रेम कृपा जयाची |
सर्वांगी सुंदर उटी शेंदुराची,
कंठी झळके माळ मुक्ताफळांची॥१॥

जय देव जय देव जय मंगलमूर्ती|
दर्शनमात्रे मनकामना पुरती ॥धृ॥

रत्नखचित फरा तुज गौरीकुमरा|
चंदनाची उटी कुमकुम केशरा|
हिरेजडित मुकुट शोभतो बरा |
रुणझुणती नूपुरे चरणी घागरिया|
जय देव जय देव जय मंगलमूर्ती ॥२॥

लंबोदर पीतांबर फणिवरबंधना |
सरळ सोंड वक्रतुंड त्रिनयना|
दास रामाचा वाट पाहे सदना|
संकटी पावावे निर्वाणी रक्षावे सुरवरवंदना|
जय देव जय देव जय मंगलमूर्ती|
दर्शनमात्रे मनकामना पुरती ॥३॥

django unicode integration: fix for venus djando template

I just upgraded django tree which recently merged in the unicode support. This immediately broke django templates for venus. Here is what you need to change in planet/shell/ to account for new django changes:

< f.write(t.render(context)) --- > ss = t.render(context)
> if isinstance(ss,unicode):
> ss=ss.encode('utf-8')
> f.write(ss)

This is probably due to render returning unicode strings which need to be converted to byte-streams.

Update: I found out that my changes broke it for people using older version of django. I have updated the patch above to account for that.

आसमाँ के पार (Aasamaan ke paar – Rockford)

A beautiful song composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and sung by Shankar Mahadevan.
Lyrics by Gulzar

सन सना ता रा रे रारा सन सना

आसमाँ के पार शायद और कोई और आसमाँ होगा
बादलों के परबतों पर कोई बारिश का मकाँ होगा

ओ... मैं हवा के परों पे कहाँ जा रहा हूँ कहाँ
कभी उडता हुवा कभी मुडता हुवा मेरा रास्ता चला
ओ हो हो हो
ओ... मैं हवा के परों पे कहाँ जा रहा हूँ कहाँ

मेरे पाँव के तले की ये ज़मीन चल रही हैँ

कहीं धूप ठंडी ठंडी कहीं छाँव जल रही हैँ

इस ज़मीं का और कोई आसमाँ होगा

होगा... आसमाँ ...

हो आसमाँ होगा

मैं हवा के परों पे कहाँ जा रहा हूँ कहाँ

इन लम्बे रास्तोँ पर सब तेज़ चलते होंगे

Copy के पन्नों जैसे यहाँ दिन पलटते होंगे

शाम को भी सुबह जैसा क्या समा होगा

होगा.... क्या समा....
हो.. क्या समा होगा

मैं हवा के परों पे कहाँ जा रहा हूँ कहाँ

django queryset weirdness

I needed to reset the django admin password and found this page which tells us how to do this. It did not work for me, however I tried to get the user object explicitly, reset the password and save it and it worked!
Here is a session describing the behavior:

> python shell
In [1]: from django.contrib.auth.models import User
In [2]: u=User.objects.all()
In [3]: u[0].password
Out[3]: 'sha1$0913d$6c5cfefb89b3c77dc8573e466a943c7acd177f6b'
In [9]: u[0].set_password('testme')
In [10]: u[0].save()
In [11]: u[0].password
Out[11]: 'sha1$0913d$6c5cfefb89b3c77dc8573e466a943c7acd177f6b'
In [12]: q=User.objects.get(id=1)
In [13]: q
Out[13]: <user : root>
In [14]: q.set_password('testme')
In [15]:
In [16]: q.password
Out[16]: 'sha1$24e9c$868ff39f08c3bde96397e33ea6a8847a658a16bc'

Maybe this is related to queryset caching, which would print the same password even after calling set_password. But it looks like in the first method, the password does not even get written to the database. This might be a bug. I will need to run more tests and report (or possibly patch) it...

Update: Perhaps I am not clear in the above post. The weirdness is that in the above two scenarios u[0] and q should essentially reference the same user object, but calling set_password (and later save) method on the u[0] reference does not seem to work (i.e. the password attribute remains unchanged and changed password cannot be used on the admin pages) but calling the same method on q reference seems to work!

Update2:I got it finally. Thanks all (Esp SmileyChris) ! every array slice is a new query! so in the first solution, I need this to make it work:

u[0].password # to display current hash (Query #1)
q=u[0] # (Query #2)
u[0].password # (Query #3) this should print updated hash!

Dear Lazyweb

I am looking for a flash media player which can play audio/video content in browser. I am currently using's playtagger for now, but it is limited to mp3 only (I had to change the code a little bit to prevent it from adding multiple inclusions - my changed code is here) and it does not allow rewind/forward.

I also looked at this post which suggests using google video player, which would be nice as it could then also play video files, but it consumes a lot of real estate on the pages. There is also this website mentioned which is nicer but that player is bigger than I want too... And it is probably not a fair use as it is undocumented use...

I also checked out the odeo player, which is nice but you need to host the files on odeo, which is a no-no.

Here are my requirements for this with a scorecard for Playtagger and Google:

  • Easy to use. No need to add tag soup for each file. ( + Google -)
  • Small size on the page (need to collapse the buttons until user clicks on play button) ( + Google -)
  • Ability to rewind/fast forward ( - Google +)
  • Play different media formats (mp3/wav/ogg/avi/mpeg video, possibly realmedia) ( - Google +)

Any suggestions ?


काही बालगीते

Update: Click here to play all songs in your browser.

To play the song, click on the small triangle before the song name. (needs javascript and flash plugin)
To download the song, right click on song name and select "Save Link As" or "Save Target As"
नाच रे मोरा
आम्ही कोळ्यांची पोरं हाय हो
अगडम बगडम (
छडी लागे छम छम
चांदोमामा चांदोमामा भागलास का
कोणास ठाऊक कसा
खोडी माझी काढाल तर
लहान माझी बाहुली
दिवस उद्याचा सवडीचा
सांग सांग भोलानाथ
टप टप टप टप टाकीत टापा
ये रे ये रे पावसा रूसलास का
एक मुलगा गेला तळ्याच्या काठी
सांगू काय सांगू काय
एका माकडाने काढले दुकान
मैना राणी
सांग सांग भोलानाथ
ससा तो कसा बॊल
जंगल जंगल बात चली है
Asha and friends - Zamana mein aaye hai deewane - Asha and Lil Champs

Some videos from Salil - Sandip:
अगोबाई ढग्गोबाई - Agobai Dhaggobai
मी पप्पाचा ढापून फोन - Mee Pappancha Dhapun Phone
दूर देशी गेला बाबा - Dur Deshi Gela Baba
दमलेल्या बाबाची कहाणी - Damlelya Babachi Kahani

Children’s songs in Marathi

Update: Play all files in your browser.

To play the file, click on the small triangle before the name. (needs javascript and flash plugin)
To download the file, right click on file name and select “Save Link As” or “Save Target As”

Aala Aala Paus आला आला पाउस आला बघा बघा हो आला आला ...
Mala Pawasat Jau De - ए आई मला पावसात जाऊ दे, एकदाच गं भिजून मला चिंब चिंब होऊदे
Chocolate Cha Bungla - असावा सुन्दर
Gori Gori Pan - गोरी गोरी पान फुलांसारखी छान दादा मला एक वहिनी आण
Koli Geet - Amhi Kolyanchi Pora Hay - आम्ही कोळ्यांची पोरं हाय हो
Konas Thauk Kasa - कोणास ठाऊक कसा पण शाळेत गेला ससा
Majhya Dadala - आणायचा माझ्या ताईला नवरा आणायचा
Mamachya Gawala Jauya - झूक झूक आगिनगाडी धुरांच्या रेघा हवेत काढी
Nach Re Mora - नाच रे मोरा आंब्याच्या बनात (देव बाप्पा)
Pustak Nantar Vacha - पुस्तक नंतर वाचा
Sang Sang Bholanath - सांग सांग भोलानाथ पाऊस पडेल काय
Ye Re Ye Re Pawasa - ये रे ये रे पावसा रुसलास का माझ्याशी गट्टी फू केलीस का
Ya varyanchya basuni vimani... Shala chandoba gurujinchi - या वार्‍यांच्या बसुनी विमानी ... शाळा चान्दोबा गुरूजींची
Chhaan Chhan Chhaan Mani Mauche Bal - छान छान छान मनीमाऊचं बाळ कसं
Raja Ranichi Nako - राजा राणीची नको
Bahuliche Lagin Zokat Lagale - बाहूलीचे लगीन झोकात लागलं


Fix font problems on firefox (or is a marathi news website using unicode fonts. But it does not display correctly on firefox browser. The problem is because of a single HTML div which uses justified font style. It displays correctly on IE (which is why it is not getting fixed) - this could be because of firefox's buggy implementation of "align: justify" or that IE simply ignores that style (likely).

Anyway, here is a javascript one liner that you can bookmark and once the page is loaded, click on it to fix your font problem.

Fix Ma. Ta. -- Drag this link to your bookmarks.

I tried to create a greasemonkey script to do this automatically, but it's not working for some reason...

Update: Apparently it *is* a mozilla/firefox bug open for 4+ years. See here and here.

Update2: Here is a greasemonkey script by Saravana Kumar to fix this issue. Caution: you might want to change the included domains carefully (it by default runs on all http and https sites!)

Update3: Here is my greasemonkey script specific for maharashtratimes. Enjoy!

Update4: (2009-02-16) The original site seems to have removed this style attribute now. So the above post is now only for posterity.