Joe Costello – Keynote in DAC 2006

Quick blurb about Joe – ” He was president and COO of SDA Systems from 1987–1988 and CEO of Cadence Design Systems, which became the largest EDA company under his tenure, from 1988–1997. In 2004, he was awarded the Phil Kaufman Award in recognition of his business contributions that helped grow the EDA industry.” from his wikipedia page.

A fantastic presenter – someone whom I even sometimes compare to Steve Jobs. If you doubt me, see this keynote presentation video. (warning: large file if you want to download – can view on demand if you have vlc plugin in firefox)

A colleague of mine and me were chatting about this video today, and I thought I would share it with my readers. This video always gets me pumped up. The photo above is when he was giving his keynote talk at DAC. And yes, he came wearing a hawaiian shirt. 🙂

PS: I could not find this video on youtube – else I would have embedded it.

Skoda Service Experience (Related: Shell Petrol Bunk Scam)

These days, the stuff that you mostly hear about is Bad service at Skoda Service Centers. Here is a breath of fresh air, and yes it coincides with the fresh rains of yesterday in Bangalore (though they are totally unrelated).

The Background Story: A few days back, I had gone to the Shell Petrol bunk to fill up petrol. The supervisor was a cheerful fellow, and asked me if I would like a complimentary oil and coolant check. I said Ok. The guy opens the hood of my Skoda Fabia and pulls out the oil dip stick and gives me a (false?) shocking expression and says that the oil is below the minimum mark. He also adds that it is dangerous for me to drive this car. Now, this steed of mine is only 4 months old, and Skoda is a german car known for its reliability – in fact the first scheduled service is 1 yr or 7500km. I defensively said, I will have Skoda look at it, and pulled away (probably the best decision I ever took in recent times).

The Skoda Experience: So I called up Skoda showroom, and the service representative promptly said – not my problem, call Skoda Helpline. :(. I called up helpline, and they offered to get my car to the nearest service center, but they could not tell me when and how the problem (if any) would be diagnosed. But they said, if I called the Hosur Road service center, they may help. Sliver of hope. So after these 2 hiccups, I called up Hosur Road Tafe Access Service Center. (This center is just too far away, else I would have just driven there!). So I called them up. The lady on the phone (Ms. Mona) said, they would be glad to take a look at it. They can even have someone pick up the car and then they will check it, and then someone will call back for estimated fix time. Awesome.

The magic: And then the magic moment – the manager of the lady-on-the-phone (Mr. Naveen) calls me back (ever had someone from a service center call you back??). He says that this is a very common scam that Shell Petrol Bunks these days are doing. They claim to check oil and say there is very less and try to convince you into topping up (hence earning more money!). The manager went on to say that this was a totally wrong way of checking for oil – especially in Skoda (and most high capacity engine cars). Mr. Naveen also called me first thing the next day morning to make sure I was satisfied. Wow. Good going Tafe Access.

How to Check Oil in Skoda: Check the oil dip stick only after 3-4 hours after engine has been stopped. When the engine has just been started or has been in running for some time, the oil is all up there in the pistons and other parts of the engine. It takes 3-4 hours for all the oil to drip back to the oil well – which is where the dip stick checks.

Happy Ending: I went home at 6PM. Skoda sent two engineers at 830PM (on their way home) to check. And there it was – the dip stick was showing full oil.

Moral of the Story: Beware of Shell Petrol Bunk guys who can force you to top up oil. The Skoda guys say that, they once got a car with oil topped up beyond capacity, and because of which the engine had stalled. The other advise that the Skoda guys said, was to not put any after-market parts or service for the first 2 years . Apparently the Skoda warranty department is super strict and will reject claims based on warranty-voided very easily.


12 Angry men – The original version

Chennaikaaran (plusultra) on his blog has a fine piece of investigative journalism, where he finds the plot of the awesome movie – “12 angry men” to be very similar to a real life incident that happened in Ceylon.

An excerpt:

In the island of Ceylon, soon after the introduction into it of the noble institution, Trial by Jury, a Native of some consideration was put upon his trial for murder. The rank of the parties implicated, and the circumstances attending the deed, had occasioned this trial to excite the greatest interest throughout the country, and the Court was crowded to witness the proceedings. After a patient investigation of the affair, the Jury retired to consider of their verdict; and so plausible was the evidence against the accused, that the whole of the Jury, with one single exception, considered his guilt to be completely established. The individual who did not concur in this opinion, was a young Native, of about five-and twenty, of superior understanding; and the reasons stated by him for his dissent were sufficiently powerful to induce the rest of the Jury to consent to return to the Court, and give him an opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses whose evidence had made so strong an impression of the prisoner’s guilt. The witnesses being recalled, this young Indian went through their cross-examination with so much skill, yet in so inartificial and straight-forward a manner, as to elicit the most complete proof of the innocence of the accused, and to establish, beyond all doubt, the existence of a conspiracy against his life by parties interested in succeeding to his property. The result was, that the arraigned individual, who, but for this subsequent examination of the witnesses, would have been condemned, and executed within four-and-twenty hours, was restored to his family, his reputation, and his property, by the superior intelligence of one of his fellow countrymen.

He says, at the end of the post if there is any award for investigative journalism, to please nominate him. I do not have such an award, but I can defenitely quote you on my blog and publicly admire it 🙂

Read the full post here.

Restaurant thumb rules

The wife has two basic thumb rules – one for service quality in restaurants, and the other which measures how much the hotel/restaurant cares for customers. 
Service quality: Water on the table. If the waiter is continuously monitoring if we need more water and fills it up whenever he sees the dip in the glass, the service is g.o.o.d. If we need to keep calling the waiter for water all the time, the service is something to be desired.
Customer Care/Empathy: The restrooms, especially the Ladies ones. The cleaner they are, the better the restaurant management thinks of caring for the customer. It is amazing how many times, a decision is made on which restaurant to go to, based on this thumb rule. And I have seen it in multiple families. The restroom suck, the ladies will not come. 
Was at Hotel Chalukya in Bangalore yesterday. The first rule was partially met. The second was woefully absent. 

Restauranteurs – are you listening ? 

Nursery Rhymes and Jazz

If you are a jazz lover, then you will just love this nursery rhyme. Beautiful and soulful. My son doesnt quite like it though.

He likes more jing-bang rhymes like this one. I love the ending of this though. Check it out. I am sure you will be humming this for the rest of your day.