Friday, May 27, 2011


It seems like all good things indeed do come to an end. This blog was created prior to the social media era of facebook and myspace. Most of my personal posts, pictures and links now show up within the confines of my fb wall and twitter timeline. Without them, this blog has mostly dried up.

I do want to continue to pen my thoughts without the baggage of my erstwhile blog. I have decided to move to a new location-

Hope to see you there!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Mexico City is a Zoo!

Blog post title got your attention, didn't it?

I was in Mexico City and passed by these beautiful life-sized, sculptures of wildlife from all over the world. This is a part of an Animal Celebration initiative to raise awareness about the destruction of native habitat and the need for their protection.

Each exhibit has a sign next to it that reads - "Sálvame" (Save Me). Animal Celebration is a great idea and I hope other cities follow suit. The sculptures will be available for display until November and will be visible on the central Paseo de la Reforma. They will eventually be auctioned off with the proceeds going towards the Wildlife Fund.
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Monday, June 29, 2009

Rupa & the April Fishes

I had the good fortune of seeing a local SF band, Rupa & the April Fishes, perform at the Stern Grove. They blend together trumpets, cellos, an accordian, guitar, drums, the tabla and some awesome lead, female vocals to produce harmony and energy.

The lead singer, song writer and guitarist is the amazing Rupa Marya. Beyond just her music, I was impressed at how she juggled her Doctor/Rockstar career (See video to understand why!).

It's also amazing how someone can enjoy not just one job, but two. I will revisit this video anytime I need a dose of inspiration.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Yoga for a Cause - Yoga Bear

Some of my favorite yoga classes have been donation-based, where all the proceeds of a class go to benefit a particular cause. Like Mark Sierra's Ashtanga class @ YogaSource in Palo Alto. The thought that a teacher would spend his Monday evening, leading a class for an hour and a half, so that someone else would benefit, just added a sense of gratitude to vastly improve my practice.

Now, there is a Non-Profit organization called YogaBear that emulates this cause at a larger level. It partners with yoga studios to provide yoga classes free of charge for cancer survivors. I have practiced restorative yoga (Yin yoga) to recover from physical injury and can wholly appreciate how yoga can complement recovery, even for cancer survivors.

Zemanta and Weber Shandwick are offering $6,000 to a non-profit that is most blogged about. So I am doing my bit to help out this cause!

–> This blog post is part of Zemanta’s “Blogging For a Cause” campaign to raise awareness and funds for worthy causes that bloggers care about. <–

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Problem with Stock Photos

Stock photos don't convey the import of the news in many situations. Would you smile and hug if you reject a truce call?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I read somewhere that if you are one in a million, there are still six thousand of you out there! Ok...I just had to do the math to figure that out.

So this is how I differentiate in the world of SuperMeneesh (thanks to Monty Python)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

What's Your Wireless Footprint?

A friend from Intel tells me that by 2010 the number of radio transmitters will exceed 1 trillion!!! Radio - being any modern wireless communication such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G, RFID and so on. This number is scary considering that even today the link between cell phone usage and brain cancer remains. What if the waves of all those wireless devices resonated and then incapacitating some part of the brain or tissue?

I predict that sometime in the near future, we will have wireless footprint calculators a la the carbon ones and individuals/companies will have to offset them annually.

The wireless footprint calculator would take into account the number of radio transmitters and receivers. Some devices such as cell-phones with a longer range might require higher offsets.

I calculate my footprint as about 10-15 radios. What's yours?
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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Yoga in Portrait

I attended a workshop called 'Your Yoga in Portrait', where you select your favorite yoga pose and get snapped up. I like the Bakasana (Crane pose) and Vrschikasana (Scorpion pose)...only I am not very good at them. With a lot of assistance and airbrushing I got into position for these poses.

I really hope to master Vrschikasana...maybe then I will be the Scorpion King ;)
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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tweets in the Time of Crisis

Its been over 30 hours now since the Mumbai terrorist strikes began. I first learned about the attack through twitter, via an update on TwitterFox. Since then I have been glued to my computer to get information about the Maximum City - or #mumbai as the topic is referred to in twitter-speak.

The real-time results on twitter provided valuable links from citizen journalists on the ground - articles, videos, flickr photosets, contact information, opinions, wishes, prayers. Pretty soon these pictures and soundbites were lapped up by the real media and the #mumbai topic turned into a lovefest of social media and twitter [sic] Love in the Time of Cholera.

The #mumbai topic also turned into a deluge of retweets, rumors and rants. An information/misinformation overload resulted. Elsewhere, Google News ended up with 6,146 news articles related to the terrorist attacks. Social bookmarking sites like Digg and reddit eventually showed the news (after a 3 hour delay on Digg), albeit rendering the breaking news to the backburner, overshadowing it by the rick rolling at Macy's Thanksgiving parade.

Traditional television outlets began their riveting 24 hour coverage. News sources like IBNLive and (gasp) FOXNews were kind enough to broadcast live feeds on the internet. Indian channels had multiple feeds on replay mode till I switched the television off and went back to twitter.

Twitter could really use some improvements to broadcast relevant information in times like this.

Here are some suggestions.
  1. Aggregate statistics about links from tweets and retweets so people know the most popular links in a topic - #mumbai in this case.
  2. Display the actual URL instead of the tinyurl so people can identify the news source
  3. A Digg style voting so the wisdom of the crowds can be incorporated to identify the best tweets/links.
  4. Differentiate tweets from official news sites like bbc, cnn, abc from those of regular tweeters
  5. Identify local citizen journalists accurately using location detection methods such as IP-based lookups

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sign o' the Times

People sure are wearing their yoga practice on their sleeves, their bumper stickers,...

So now an ad campaign by a major health care provider to cash in.
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Sunday, November 02, 2008

On Walden Pond

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the
essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and
not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." - Henry David Thoreau, Walden (1854)
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Gremlins in the (Windows) Machine

For the last several weeks, I encountered several networking issues on my windows laptop:
  • My machine wouldn't connect to the network when I switched wireless access points
  • The Apple Airport Utility on my machine wouldn't detect Airport devices and I couldn't print wirelessly using Bonjour
  • I couldn't ping my computer from a different machine
  • I couldn't see any flickr pictures
I was at a complete loss to figure out what was wrong. I tried resetting the winsock catalog, reinstalling airport utility, disabling the windows firewall, uninstalling spybot, unistalling windows sp3 and finally reinstalling windows sp2...all to no avail.

After exhausting all my search queries on the topic, I finally had the answer from an IT guy. I had enabled the option 'stateful firewall' on my Cisco VPN.

Disabling the option restored my machine and my peace of mind.

Hope this post helps someone else out there.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Tugging at my Hamstrings

Autobiography of a Recovering Yogi

Its been nearly a year now since I started my yoga practice. I started with a free, introductory yoga session at my neighborhood yoga studio and then started attending weekly Vinyasa classes there. Since then I have been challenging myself to the more strenuous Ashtanga primary series classes. I feel really peaceful and meditative at the end of these classes. The next morning, however, my body aches.

I did't want to give up doing my yoga just because of these aches. A few friends recommended that I try Bikram because the heated environment allows for deeper stretches and for accomplishing challenging poses. My body definitely felt a lot more relaxed after the class but I didn't find the same post-class bliss that I found with Vinyasa and Ashtanga.

A few weeks back I attended a workshop at the Balance center where the instructor analyzed the way I sat, stood, walked and slept. One key observation was that I arched my back and leaned backward while standing which messed up my entire posture and resulted in the aches.

So now I am consciously leaning a little forward while standing. To improve my poses, I signed up for Iyengar yoga. In these classes, I hold my asanas for longer with the correct technique (with the help of the instructor). My teacher noticed that my asanas were crammed because I had tight hamstrings (because of my arched back). This has affected even my foundation asana such as the downward dog.

Her prescription is two months of daily Supta Padangusthasana or the Reclining Big Toe Pose (See video below)

Will document the results after two months...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Viral Marketing Technique - Schmap

Imagine if you could get your web audience to contribute to your site and then act as your marketing agent...all for free. This is the ploy used by Schmap, maker of interactive city guides.

I upload most of my pictures on flickr with a liberal creative commons license, and I was pleasantly surprised when I received this mail from the managing editor at Schmap:

From: Emma Williams
Subject: Schmap Yosemite Photo Short-list
Hi Maneesh,

I am writing to let you know that one of your photos has
been short-listed for inclusion in the fifth edition of our
Schmap Yosemite Guide, to be published late September 2008.

Clicking this link will take you to a page where you can:
i) See which of your photos has been short-listed.
ii) Submit or withdraw your photo from our final selection
iii) Learn how we credit photos in our Schmap Guides.
iv) Browse online or download the fourth edition of our
Schmap Yosemite Guide.

While we offer no payment for publication, many
photographers are pleased to submit their photos, as Schmap
Guides give their work recognition and wide exposure, and
are free of charge to readers. Photos are published at a
maximum width of 150 pixels, are clearly attributed, and
link to high-resolution originals at Flickr.

Our submission deadline is Sunday, August 31. If you happen
to be reading this message after this date, please still
click on the link above (our Schmap Guides are updated
frequently - photos submitted after this deadline will be
considered for later releases).

Best regards,

Emma Williams,
Managing Editor, Schmap Guides

I was more than happy to submit the photograph for the final selection phase but more importantly I was pumped that it would show up in an official guide, albeit a guide that is a new kid on the block.

A few weeks later I got this mail:

From: Emma Williams
Subject: Schmap Yosemite Fifth Edition: Photo Inclusion
Hi Maneesh,

I am delighted to let you know that your submitted photo
has been selected for inclusion in the newly released fifth
edition of our Schmap Yosemite Guide:

Hetch Hetchy Reservoir

If you use an 
iPhone or iPod touch, then this same link
will take you directly to your photo in the iPhone version
of our guide. On a desktop computer, you can still see
exactly how your photo is displayed and credited in the
iPhone version of our guide at:

Hetch Hetchy Reservoir

Finally, if you have a blog, you might also like to check
out the customizable widgetized version of our Schmap
Yosemite Guide, complete with your published photo:

Thanks so much for letting us include your photo - please
enjoy the guide!

Best regards,

Emma Williams,
Managing Editor, Schmap Guides


So now I have a widget on my blog pushing readers on their site as well :P

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Half Dome Revisited

Several posts back, I had written about my return to Yosemite to erase the ghosts of my unsuccessful 2004 half dome scaling attempt. I was back again in Yosemite for the labor day weekend. The weather was hot as before (100 degrees during mid-day) and the national park in the usual tourist mode. I had made no preparations for the strenuous hike and climb either but all I had this time was a shoe with a better grip and a determination.

We started at 5am from the valley and progressed our way up to the base of the half dome by 10am. I found a few people still ruminating over when they wanted to do the last rope climbing stretch. I remembered my cabin-mate Ben reading the book 'Blink' and I decided to proceed up right then. No power bars, no early lunch...just donning an old pair of unmatched gloves lying on the floor and then hauling my way half-dome rink at a time. In a half-hour, I was up and watching the yosemite valley from the top in all its glory.

Comic below for illustrations.