Monday, June 23, 2008

Update on my automobile credit crisis blog

Hey guys, Last week I wrote about the signs for automobile credit crisis. Today, I saw the updates from Reuters about the writedowns from GM and Ford. These updates are clear signs of the credit crisis, I mentioned before. These writedowns are becuase of slowing down in Used car market because of rising fuel prices. This will probably be followed by slowing down of overall gasoline based car market.

News 1

News 2

Will keep you all updated if anything new comes up ....

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The World is Flat or Round. Exploring..

For last few days, I've been reading the book, 'The World is Flat' by Tom Friedman. A very nicely written, intruiging approach to paint overall picture of globalization.

The book starts with a section, which educates the readers, about the factors which have led to flattening of the world. The ten flattening factors/events being:
  1. 11/09/89 - Fall of Berlin Wall and Division of USSR - event that led to liberation of people from chains of cummunism and opening the gates of capitalism.

  2. 08/09/95 - Netscape IPO - The New age of Connectivity and evolution of Internet, the big leveller for people across the globe.

  3. Work Flow Software - The evolution of web-services, platform independent approach towards computer applications and collaboration software which allowed people to work in teams from all over the world.

  4. Uploading - aka Open-Source approach of harnessing community power for content development, collaboration and knowledge management.

  5. Out-Sourcing - Y2K which started the era of outsourcing exposed the western world to cheaper easter frontiers. This wave started from technology but has now swept across all the industries in the west.

  6. Off-Shoring - Moving the expensive work done in US and Europe to the lands in India and China at a cheaper cost and gaining price advantage.

  7. Supply-Chaining - Though Wal-Mart is always painted as Supply Chain champion bringing the its advantages to the common people, yet all the companies are synchronizing their operations through supply chain to bring out operational efficiency.

  8. In-sourcing - process of diversifying in the areas sorrouding your expertise. It can be best illustrated with UPS example in which they transformed themselves from a carrier to logistics company which helps companies in managing their logistics operation.

  9. In-Forming - Nothing more and Nothing less than Google can explain it. Google has brought the information revolution making same info available to everyone.

  10. The Steroids - Small Gadgets like Cell-Phone and PDAs are shrinking the world and bringing to your fingertips at every moment.


Insight:

DOT COM BUST - Boon or Bane : With the growth of Internet and dot com companies, companies started investing heavily on infrastructure. Connectivity was crucial for this growth. Companies like Worldcom and Global Crossing set up fiber-optic networks across the globe connecting the sleeping asian tigers to western bigwigs. With overinvestment and bubble in the technology sector, it was set to crash. When the doomsday came, these infrastructure companies went bankrupt along with many other companies which had made investment for future. Those companies are no more. Their investments, which were later resold to other companies at penny prices, became the backbone of the business in the years to come. This not only became a big leveller for all the countries, but also provided immense opportunity for countries like India and China which had huge human capital sitting at home ready to work.

The Triple Convergence: Why it happened at the new Millenium ??
  1. Emergence of Web platforms and Investment in Fiber Optics Connectvity.

  2. Opening of three big economies in 90's - India, China and Russia.
  3. Companies of the West searching for next level of Operational Efficiency.

For guys who want to read this book online: Download here


P.S. - With due respect for Friedman, I'm not giving this link to promote piracy. Just using few of the above flatteners , to make it available to thousands of people living India and China as $30 is still a big deal in many parts of the world :)


will continue writing as I sail through the river of thoughts .....

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Is Automobile Credit Crisis in Future Waiting....

Over the past one year, we have seen the housing mortgage crises afftecting US economy badly. It has eroded 25% of the US housing market capital, made big investment banks go almost bankcrupt and much more. Not only in US but it has also effected credit market elsewhere in the world. Have you wondered why we could not see this ? Well don't wonder now as hindsight is always clearer.

Can we think of any credit crisis in future ??? Can we see it coming ???

I don't know if I'm thinking in the right direction. Its a long shot as foresight is much harder. Everybody is worried about Crude and Gas Prices. Have you ever imagined what if Crude actually goes past $200 or may be $250 in a year. With Obama coming to white house, the tax breaks for oil companies would be gone. The gas prices will hover around $7-$8. With a economy already in a bad shape, will people be able to afford such highly priced fuel? Yes, for sometime ofcourse. What happens next.


The Big Bang !! Alternate sources to fuel !! May be electricity or Fuel Cells !! Nobody is going to drive the existing automobiles. Not because they dont want to but becuase they can't afford to drive.

What happens to automobiles on mortgage or loans. People will start doing the same what they did with their houses. They will start to default. It makes sense to default as the rate of interest of the loans is high, the gas prices will be high and an automobile is a depreciating asset.

Who will take the loss ?? What happpens Next ??

The automobile companies or banks confiscate the vehicles. The cars go back either to manufacturer or the financial institution. Its will be difficult for all of them to sell those vehicles again. Who's going to buy them ? Now the main question - Where do they get their money from ?? Is it credit crisis for the bank or Manufacturer ??? Who will be worst affected ?? How much will Automobile loans rate of interest shoot up ?

The other side of the story can be - with Middle Eastern countries increasing the production, the crude prices might go down. Alternate sources fuel are also big threats for such countries as they do not have anything other than oil to support their economy. With US economy comes out of the current recession soon and with commodities market cooling down , things might get better again. Another reasoning to this not happening in near future so sharply can be that automobiles are not as big liability as houses are. The automobile liability is usually around one-fifth of the housing liability. So people can bear with the existing vehicles for a time being or start using public tranport or gradually start moving over to other sources of fuels. I don't know if this will actually happen but its a big possibility.

Neither I can't dare to close my eyes on it and nor should you !!


will catch you guys later again ....


Sunday, June 8, 2008

twitter - Welcome to the world of MicroBlogging

Blogging: If you try to understand the concept, it's similar to having your own website but gives you the ability to change the content very frequently like daily or may be weekly.
Microblogging: gives you ability to tell the world what you are doing at very moment. Twitter is the first popular company to give us this concept. This can be done by putting in updates through browser or SMS-ing it from phone.
"One SMS and you can let the world know what you experience just now"
or
"You just Twittered"
Twitter: twitter has free sign up. It also allows you to search your friends/contacts from Gmail/yahoo/AOL contacts. You can follow some celebrity available by adding him to follow list.
If you make your twitter profile public, other friends/people can follow you either just by adding you to their follow list. All your updates will be visible to them.
There is something in our life that twitter is changing and that is the reason in such a short span of time, they have got such a huge fan following. You think of the big name and its on twitter. Its chaging the way we communicate with the society.
There have been couple of instances when twitter faced so much load that it was down for while. Big important conferences and Expo are such major instance where everybody is twittering baout the newest, greatest and best they are watching. There have been many instances in which microblogging has saved many people lives too. I guess, very soon, it will followed at Wall St too. The information is the most highly valued in such place.
For more info about twitter, here is twitter's blog : http://blog.twitter.com/
Here is a nice video explaning Twitter in plain english:





The process to join is pretty straight forward at http://twitter.com/ ...go twitter yourself too ..
follow me on twitter at : http://twitter.com/vipulpratap :)
Hope that was informative, Wish you a good week ahead

Kung Fu Panda - a truly Asian American Movie

After all the hype, hue and cry Kung fu Panda released this friday, June the 6th. Its a cute movie with fat Panda PO resembling average Fat American guy having penchant for Food. A truly global movie targeting American and Chinese population might also some indian viewers with the emotional aspect embedded in the story. The Story starts with PO, a fat loser Panda in life, working with his dad in a noodle shop. His penchant for Food and Kung Fu leads him to become master.

Philosophy of "No Quitter attitude" and "I am the God" in the movie is very apparent and many times explictitly stated. With all the animal characters in the movie and storyline in backdrop of China, the animations of the characters looks very normal. Apart the the central character, more attention should have been given to the animation of the rest characters also. For a great fan of animation movies, I would call it an average animation genre movie.



The best part of the movie being the cuteness of the big fat PO. The dialogues with an American Accent suited to him like a cute American trying to express similar feeling. It brought life to the complete movie.

A good news for Open Source lovers is that Kung Fu Panda was made on Red Hat Enterprise Linux plateform. To support and cheer up the Open source Initiate, an extra cent might help.

Georga Tech MBA guys !! It sure did remind me of Bob Chen( photograph attached along with PO). Bob !! I can't stop myself writing about it as it kept bugging me all through the movie.

For all the movie-goers, who go to watch movies after seeing IMDB ratings, I would like to tell that current ratng of 7.8/10 with 843 votes will surely go down with more votes. The stable rating should go down to around 6.8 or 7.

Friday, June 6, 2008

gtalk labs version latest

google labs has released the latest version of gtalk as google talk, labs edition. The new features in the version include invisible status, group chat, tabbed chatting, new look, ability to google calender, orkut, gmail from the taskbar. I'm loving it.
Beware some feature like calling and file transfer are missing from this experimental release. So dont uninstall the existng Gtalk version. This new version can be helpful in being online and in invisible mode.

Download this version from: http://www.google.com/talk/labsedition/

Unfortunately, there is yet no relief for linux platform users as gtalk is not yet available for linux. The new version currently is available for xp/vista platforms only.

will catch ya all soon with the new thing ....

Creating Quiz on Wiki

Hey felllas....Gotta new thing to learn ..Did you ever think of creating quizzes and learning materials on wiki page. I learned that today and will be writing you some bits and bytes about it. The good thing about these quizes are that its easily to develop requires very less effort if you have the soft copy of the material and solves the purpose of learining through quizzing. you can also see the score after taking the quiz along with the feedback on the correct and incorrect answer depending upon how much effort has the quiz creator put up there. The best part is that it being a wiki is easily editable by many peopele and many people can post their inputs and feedback allowing it grow bit by bit.

I created this 8 series of Sentence Correction quiz yesterday for GMAT takers.
Link: http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/GMAT_Sentence_Correction_quiz_1
Its easy to take and you can reset it when you are done. Every quiz contains the link to the next quiz. I'll keep posting some more stuff like this as a part of opensource/open knowledge personal initiative.

Tips to create quiz on wikiversity:
Step 1: Starting a new page on wikiversity: http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Help:Starting_a_new_page
Step 2: In te editor, start with

{ enter question here ......}
+ correct choice
feedback *** optional
- false choice ** optional
- false choice

more formatting info available at: http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Help:Quiz-Simple
Step 3: Save the page
Step 4: Your wiki quiz is ready.

Cheers
Vipul

Anybody can Stream online Anytime

hey guys, got to watch this stuff .....next big thing after youtube is going to be www.USTREAM.TV

This website is amazing and provides an amazing service of allowing yourself to stream yourself. All you need is webcam/camcorder which is connected to internet and you are all set to rock the boat. This thing is definetely going to change the way things are done today. Schools/Classes/Offices everyplace should be ready for this change. You can stream anytime online and along with that you have the liberty to record the streaming tooo.........watch out next thing that comes to my attention and will keep posting ....till then have fun ...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Open source consulting services: Buyer's Guide

I'm sharing with you all a piece, that I wrote today, regarding the buyer's guide for Open source consulting Services. It helped me to get an insight. Please feel free to comment.

Open source consulting services: Buyer's Guide


Target Audience: Vendor Management Professionals


Six Criteria for Choosing Consulting services:


  1. Broad Experience across variety of products and platforms: Since open source products are being deployed in organizations having variety of platforms, the most common problems for clients can be related to interoperability issues and patch and version issues. Providers with many years of experience in supporting such type of configurations can be best suited for open source consulting relationships.

  2. Open Source Products and Resources: Customers should evaluate the number of vendor's trained resources and also the depth of their knowledge of open source platforms and commercial open source software. Providers who have experience in multiple open source platforms and products are well suited to deployment, migration and integration services. Training, Certification and number of years' experience should be seen while choosing the resources from the provider.

  3. Open Source community Leverage: The company having good reputation of working with the open source community in development and evolution of the product is very likely to have strong knowledge and strong support from the community. This leverage not only helps during consulting but also helps in bringing customers closer to the open source community. This leads to long term gradual smooth movement towards the open source platform and products bringing in long lasting cost benefits and strong industry standard solutions.

  4. Complete Stack Offering Leverage: Companies offering complete stack of open source products and platforms have leverage over the ones having individual products. Such provider's can deliver real value, since they can create standard suite of products or services tied to a specific stack that can be leveraged over multiple customers. This allows vendors to keep costs low, higher quality consulting, reduce problem resolution time and adhere to industry standard Service Level Agreements. Additionally, intellectual property can be created for and bundled with complete stack of open source products.

  5. Global Footprints: Companies should look for vendors with global footprints as it allows them to have 24X7 delivery and support time for on-site and offshore services. For multinational companies looking for vendors, its extremely important that the vendor has multi-lingual, multiple time zones capability and knowledge of cultural and business challenges unique to a particular geography and region.

  6. Client's Success Stories: Most of the consulting practices are long term agreements which gradually expand to multiple departments across the organization. Therefore, the customers should look for the vendors which have multi-year relationships with the other companies and their customer references. This is the true test of the good consulting provider and their vendor/client relationship because the long term contracts entails at least some complex projects requiring excellent quality consulting services.