Archive for November, 2008

An open letter to the authors / publishers of tech. books

November 30, 2008 8 comments

This post is a rant, but first the thanks-giving. My thanks are due to Pearson Education for publishing Agile Principles, Patterns, and Practices in C#, Design Patterns in C#, Applying UML and patterns and other such great books. My thanks are due to Manning Publications too for printing Hibernate in Action and their other books in low-cost editions. I’ve definitely learnt a lot from these books and these are highly recommended if you wish to take your craft to the next level.

My thanks are also due to the respective authors – Robert Martin, the late Steven Metsker, Craig Larman, and Christian Bauer and Gavin King for their books’ availability in low-cost editions. Although sometimes, these books might be coming out a good 2-3 years after the first appearance of their counterparts (US editions), still the mere availability of low-cost editions ensures that Indians and guys in other countries can purchase those books.

But what is a low-cost edition book? If you are one of those who’s wondering this, then here it is -> a low-cost edition of a book is valid for sale in countries like India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and other neighboring countries, and is generally a paperback edition. So if a book costs say, 50 USD (which is roughly more than 2000 INR, considering an exchange rate of 40 INR for a USD), the low-cost edition would be available for, say, 500 – 600 INR, which obviously is quite affordable.

So now for the rant part – I am not sure which of these books are printed and who decides to print them in their low-cost avatars. I am just hoping that the author might have a say in this. If that is the case, then I am really appalled at the apathy of those Indian authors whose books are not available as low-cost editions too. None of the Martin Fowler series of books (written by many of the ThoughtWorkers) are available in low-cost editions, despite ThoughtWorks having offices in 2 or 3 locations in India – how shocking and insulting?

I am sure that none of the authors are naive enough to think that a soft copy of their books is not available as download from one or the other websites. So why don’t they make sure that their books are available as low-cost editions too? Yes, I can buy such books through my company, but I would like a personal copy too, and shelling out 500 INR is not a big decision for me (or most of us). C’mon guys, already so many people here (in US) are pissed off because of the low quality of the work from some of the Indian offshoring companies. So why don’t you give us the resources, give us the books which we can afford and then point fingers at us.

Consider this scenario – if a publisher prints 500 copies of a book, which is sold for, say, 500 INR, the expenditure is 250,000 INR, which is hardly 6250 USD. Even if you add a couple thousands of USD of other costs, I doubt 8K or 10K is a big spending for any publisher. Given the scene of IT / software in India, I am sure atleast half of these books should get sold. Does it seem like a bad bet? I don’t think so.

So here is a request to all those authors, whose books are still not available in low-cost editions, and to those authors whose books are about to hit the market – like Ayende Rahien (for his upcoming book,  Building Domain Specific Languages in Boo) and Jeremy Miller who’s considering writing a book on Presentation Patterns – please make sure your books are available in low-cost editions, and I make sure to you that you have a lot of audience (and possibly fans) in these far-off countries, and you’ll definitely sell a good number of copies there.

The request is also to various publishers. The low-cost editions ensure that many people outside US can (and will) buy your books, and if the low-cost edition debuts the same day as the US edition, my friends back in India get timely information.

Am I asking for too much?

Categories: General, Programming

A tale of three amounts

November 13, 2008 Leave a comment

Consider these three amounts – 3 Trillion USD, 500 Million USD and 700 Billion USD.

Do they seem familiar? I am sure, the first two must not be, but the third one might have rung a bell. If that’s the case you might be right – that is the (in)famous bailout package approved by the US gov. for the beleaguered economy.

So what do the other two signify? Well, the first was the amount of money floating in the US market previously (for companies to loan etc.) and the second one is the money available at this stage 🙄

Just imagine…6000 times less !!!! And even after the bailout package of $700 billion, the market is still short of $2.3 Trillion.

[Note: The source of this info. is my current co’s CEO (in one of his messages today), so even if these figures may not be accurate, the variation from the actual numbers wouldn’t be too much.]

[Update: It looks like the figure in Million i.e. 500 Million is too small and it could be 500 Billion USD, so that makes the amount of money available 6 times less than actual. Please correct me if you know the correct (relative) figures. :)]

Categories: General

Three new jobs worth considering?

November 11, 2008 Leave a comment

Seth Godin (of Purple Cow fame) and his blog is a must read for those interested in Marketing etc. I really found the three jobs listed in this post intriguing – I’ll definitely think of positions 1 and 3 when I start my own company 😉

Categories: Business

What can you do with $240?

November 11, 2008 Leave a comment

This post matters more for those in software or the IT field, but is an interesting read for anyone who likes to read about technology and related stuff. Nicholas Carr’s blog – Rough Type is a very interesting blog, which I subscribe to and this post tells a fascinating story of how Derek Gottfrid, using Amazon’s EC2, generated 11 million PDFs for the New York Times, in less than 24 hrs. for a meagre $240.

Bewildering??? Well that’s the power of IT 🙂

Categories: Programming, SOA

What’s life without an impossible dream

November 5, 2008 Leave a comment

This title is from the punchline of an old Hindi film – Khamoshi (starring Nana Patekar, Manisha Koirala…). Could there be a greater testimony to this, than Obama becoming the first African-American president of USA? It’s really admirable that he had the guts to dream a seemingly-impossible dream. Truly amazing.

But this also speaks volumes about ‘The Land of Opportunities’. How many countries in the world can boast of electing a bi-racial president? So is this event a harbinger of change in the policies of USA? Let’s wait and watch, and wish Obama and US a bright future ahead.

Categories: General

The tech (s/w) biz

November 5, 2008 2 comments

Or the Business of software !!!

This weekend I was discussing with one of my friends, Rajasekaran Radhakrishnan, about the business of software, and my opinion was that he should read some blogs like Dharmesh Shah’sGuy Kawasaki’s, or Seth Godin’s. To be fair, I haven’t read most of their posts, but just one or two of the posts from each blog impressed me enough to subscribe to their feed. I’ll definitely try to catch up soon.

Interestingly, Patrick Smacchia of the NDepend fame, came up with this excellent post on starting an ISV business. Some of the gems from the post are –

If possible go B2B instead of B2C (to target professional users).

If possible make your first product something you can use yourself (commonly called eating your own dog-food).

Blog blog blog.

The last one is in bold because I told Raj the same thing, so I am already 5-10 % started 😉 on my way to an ISV. Dream BIG.

[A note to Raj – please provide the missing link (of your blog) to your name soon.]

Categories: Business