Thursday, June 9, 2016

Better Visualizations - I

Here is a simple visualization from an ESPNCRICINFO article regarding India's future test match schedule for 2016-17. It is basically a good article - asking more questions than it answers. The author is attempting to highlight the steep increase in the number of test matches India is scheduled to play.

Stacked bar graphs are not really a great choice for this kind of comparison. It would have been much better done using a line chart. Here is the one that I created in MS Excel in less than 5 minutes.

The blue line representing test matches clearly shows an upswing in 2016-17. Easier to point out in this visualization than the one posted on the website.

P.S. - I wanted to name this post as "Bad Visualizations" but decided against it. Good decision :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014



Its time for mid year appraisal at my company - the smart folks up there have managed to conduct two mid year appraisals this year so far. Given the copious amount of talent they hold inside their pea sized brains, you'd reckon they are not done yet.

Anyway, its also time for me to revisit the goals set by me in the beginning of the year. I am proud to announce that, this year I have managed to fulfill at least one of the goals. I haven't watched television this year so far. Yes, the idiot box is staring at me as I write this.. don't worry boy - you're not getting no air time this year :-)

Image Courtesy - Wiki user Denelson83

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The curious case of Mr. McAfee

" I'm constantly under attack, yet I use no software protection.

I protect myself by constantly changing my IP [internet protocol] address, by not attaching my name to any device I use, and by not going on to sites where you might pick up a virus.
Porn sites, for example, I just don't go there.

Secondly, I practise safe computing. If someone sends me an email with a link, I'm not going there until I can call the person to verify that they sent me the email.

It sounds absurd to live that way, but I would rather trust my own devices and thoughts than someone else's software."

Seems like the thought process of a paranoid Luddite, doesn't it?

No, in fact these are the words of none other than the founder of one of the leading anti virus solutions in the world - John McAfee.

Go figure.

Source: BBC News

P.S. - Didn't know Mr McAfee led such an interesting life. Check out the videos here (Screen grab below)


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Creating a product for future?

I have been reading Business Analysis: Best Practices for Success by Steven Blais for last few days. Essentially, the book makes a good reading and the author has an excellent grasp on the issues faced by a business analyst (BA) on a day to day basis. In fact, at the end of the book, he goes on to compile a "list of comments, complaints, and concerns was collected over many years from hundreds of business analysts all over the world". And does a great job at that!

He also gives a list of context free questions that can be used by a BA to explore the problem domain. (How much I would love to have a list of similar context free questions that I can use a conversation starter with people both in/outside the office!) The anatomy of requirements sets the ground work for understanding the business of requirement analysis. The checkpoints and various games introduced throughout the book are informative. A comparison of the roles of BA, Project Manager and System Analyst is interesting. Overall, the author has poured his years of wisdom and practical experience in the well researched title.

However, something caught my eye. In Chapter 16, the author talks about the circumstances of interest. It has been introduced as something that circumscribes technical and business areas in which testing will occur. He further explains this using an example that I am quoting verbatim:

"..when the organization has 1,200 employees and is growing at 10 percent a year, it is not of interest to check whether the system will handle 10,000 employees."

Fair enough, an organization growing at 10% annually with a seed of 1200 will reach 10,000 in around its 23rd year. Is that too far away a date to consider? If not, then how far is faraway? (Hint: Y2K)

Now, it won't be a far fetched an assumption to say that the organization might grow a little faster? With a moderate rate of 30%, the organization will reach 10,000 employees in a little over 8 years.

Doesn't seem that far now, does it?

Image Courtesy: Amazon

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sri Lanka - Changing face of Buddhism

Buddhism stands upright as a religion of peace. Non-voilence or ahimsa is one of the basic tenets of the religion. The serenity on Buddha's face, sitting in meditation, can disarm even the most voilent of creatures. I had a similar impression about Buddhism, alas the picture perfect has been smudged with slurs.

Burma and Sri Lanka, two countries in South Asia, that share a common history of Buddhism are today center of what might be termed as 'Buddhist Terror'. Burma has had a history of Mujahideen insurgency in the west border adjoining Bangladesh, prompting the persecution of Rohingya Muslims, many of whom have fled to neighboring countries. Ashin Wirathu, the doe faced Buddhist monk, has been portrayed as the face of Buddhist Terror by Time magazine. So much so that even Dalai Lama issued an appeal to his Burma brethren to desist from making attacks on Rohingyas.

Sri Lanka has had no direct threat from Muslims but still a feeling of religious intolerance simmers. Earlier it was the Tamils, now after the rebels have been defeated, its the turn of the Moors. Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), a Sinhalese Buddhist Nationalist has organized various campaigns against burqas, halal meat and end of mosque building financed by Middle East. BBS was founded by, guess what, monks! The most alarming fact here is the patronage and instigation by Buddhist monks.

The effects of this prosecution which is seen as being supported by Buddhist clergy were recently seen in the blasts at Maha Bodhi temple at Bodh Gaya. I fail to understand, why smoke belches in India when the fires are raging elsewhere!

Passing by
While other stuff is cheaper, newspapers are mighty expensive in Sri Lanka. Sunday edition of Sri Lanka Mirror cost me Sri Lankan rupees 60 (~ 30 INR). So, once I bought the newspaper, I made sure I read every single page of it :-)

Previous Entries:
Sri Lanka - Introduction
Sri Lanka - Cleanliness
Sri Lanka - Religion
Sri Lanka - History of Buddhism