Free VoIP calling to India on Diwali

Yahoo! is offering free PC to phone calls to India on Diwali day! They are 


giving away 60 minutes of talk time to any phone line in India. This special will last from Oct 20 – 11:30AM PST to Oct 21 – 8:59PST. Even the regular rates to India are 4.9ยข/min! This is probably the cheapest rate anywhere on the Internet. I see that Yahoo! is making full use of its Dialpad Communications, Inc. purchase.

Economy India Life and Personal Politics

US population growth โ€“ is it a bad situation?

India Tech and Culture

About the Xbox 360 India launch…

Microsoft has become the first company to officially launch a gaming console in the Indian market (Sep 23). Yes, Xbox 360 is now available in India for the price of approximately Rs. 23,990 (premium bundle)!

This is interesting. This launch comes at a time when Indian youth is increasingly running short of avenues to spend its disposable cash at. Being predominantly a “young” country, India also boasts of a potential gamer community worth about $700 million. Sadly, at the same time, it is also one of the most prolific homes of pirated software. So much so that in 2001, Microsoft had expressly denied any plans to launch their Xbox console in India due to piracy concerns.

The ad campaigns are really interesting, and bring out the great Indian creativity. I seriously consider the advertisements on Indian TV as the best advertisements on TV in the entire globe. All the companies should get their ads made in India. They have chosen noted Bollywood actor, Akshay Kumar, and Indian cricketer, Yuvraj Singh, to be their brand ambassador’s in India.

There’s something India is getting which no other country is…and that is an XBOX 360 cricket video game. At this time, I do not know anything about the game developer undertaking this project, but I hope it is a quality game.

One thing I find interesting about the Indian gaming community is that being heavily exposed to American media since childhood, Indians enjoy the same kind of games as their western counterparts. This is unlike more developed Asian countries like Japan and China that have their own genres and taste. This could be a good thing for Microsoft in the Indian market. All they have to do there is to be competitive in terms of price and new games/accessories availability, and they would have won the Indian youth’s Rupee.

I can’t wait to be able to play Cricket online with my Indian friends. I hope this proves to be a catalyst for the Indian broadband industry’s growth. Truly fascinating times!

Addendum: It has now been confirmed that the cricket game will be developed by Codemasters.

Economy India Life and Personal Tech and Culture

Definition of an Entrepreneur

Spotted on slashdot, the definition of an Entrepreneur:

Entreprenuer, n.: A high-rolling risk taker who would rather be a spectacular failure than a dismal success.

Economy India Tech and Culture

12 startups to launch now

Business 2.0 magazine has an article on the 12 best startup ideas for the present times. The ones I really like/find interesting are:

The first  idea is pretty interesting seeing the global demand for combustible energy resources. Also, Argentina serves as a central location for distribution to all the energy dependant economies.

The second idea is controversial in my opinion. Sure, the growing economy, coupled with added disposable incomes has made the Indian youth yearn for more expensive tastes, I doubt there’s a very big market for imported wines. Indian culture is different from western culture in that sense, and no matter how much Indians try to mimic the West, there’ll always be subtle differences. Consumption of alcohol isn’t favorable culturally, biologically, and even environmentally!

Economy India Life and Personal Politics Tech and Culture

Textbook prices

Everyone knows what I am going to talk about. Do we really need to spend hundreds of dollars on textbooks we’d really not use after the semester is done with? This isn’t just an American issue. Textbooks, even in India, are pretty expensive, especially at the higher education level.


Happy 60th Independence Day!

Today is India’s 60th Independence Day celebration. I would like to salute my nation for giving me the kind of global opportunities that the youth of some other countries could only dream of.

Vande Mataram

Economy India Life and Personal Tech and Culture

What would have happened if I went to college in the US

I wuld have probably dropped out. Yes, that’s right! I would have probably dropped out. I was in college during the peak time of the dot-com boom, and there’s no way I would have stayed in college and forgone the great opportunities in the economy back then.

Even in India, I was able to experience the rise of the dot-com era in a very spectacular way, and I am pretty sure that things would have been a lot different for me if I were in the US. Who knows, I could have been a millionaire by now, or a broke ex-CEO!

Sometimes, it feels good thinking about things that never were…

India Life and Personal

“I hope you decide to live in this country”

A very interesting thing happened yesterday as I was being a tourist in downtown Minneapolis with my parents. While we were taking pictures, a young American male, probably a college student, stops by and asks us if we were from India. He then asked us if we were in the US as visitors, or whether we lived here. The guy then expressed his strong positive feelings for his country, and said that he hopes that we decide to live here permanently as it is a wonderful place to live. Finally, he commented on how smart allIndians are, and how he keeps hearing so many good things about Indians.

I have been living in the US for the last 5 years, but this was the first time I met someone so happy to be in this country. Most of the times, I see people whining about all the bad stuff, but no one acknowledges the good that makes America unique.

I will remember this incident for a long time!

Economy India Tech and Culture

The H1-B program brings in mediocre people ?

As expected, the H1-B quota for FY 2007 has filled up in less than 2 months since it started awarding those worker visas. This is a record. Last year, it took until the middle of August for the quota to close. This is going to ignite some major debate within the econo-political ecosystem as more people find out that they cannot hire experts from abroad.

Now, I have to say, some Indians speak the dumbest things possible if they have to make a point. I guess it’s just in our blood. Take the example of IEEE’s VP for Career Activites, Ron Hira. He is definitely not Indian by birth, but has Indian roots. Read what he says in this article in IT World about the H1-B cap.

Under a bill passed by Congress in 2004, the first 20,000 H-1B applications for workers with master’s degrees or higher are exempt from the cap. As of Thursday, the immigration agency had received about 5,800 exempt applications, it said.

With about 14,000 exemption applications still available, that suggests that some companies are looking primarily for cheap labor, Hira said. “That’s at least one indication that there’s not just geniuses coming in,” he said.

Yes, so basically, only the IT workers who have graduated from an American University at any point in their lives are geniuses. This is more disturbing than amusing. I guess what he’s trying to say is that all those workers outside America with decades of experience under their belts are somehow still inferior to that foreigner who just graduated from some shady small league school. Or maybe he is trying to say that recruiting companies are so stupid that they hire low wage foreigners from outside the country when they could essentially do the same from within the country!

I wonder what kind of a salary negotiation power advantage is held by a foreigner graduating from an American university compared to someone graduating from a foreign country. What is stopping an IT company from paying less to the foreigner already here in the US on a different visa? Does IT experience really not count when trying to find a job at a globally competing company?

I guess I am now an elite foreigner simply because I hold not one, but two degrees from an American university. I have a salary edge over other “regular” H1-Bs.

What about people who are “also” qualified but cannot enter the US?