Saturday, January 14, 2006

The BUGS Project - Bayesian inference Using Gibbs Sampling

Winbugs is an amazing software that allows you to develop code to analyze data using Bayesian methods.

You can also use Winbugs on the Linux platform by using WINE. In fact i have a winbugs set up for windows as well as Linux on my laptop.WINE is truly a gift for people like me who like to use programs that are not available on linux or cannot port them directly onto Linux.


RED HERRING | It’s a Mac, Mac, Mac, Macworld

Sometimes a tradeshow cannot really help your marketing efforts.


Friday, January 13, 2006

My Advisors

Dr. Lilien is the co-chair of my dissertation committee. He is a very distinguished academician and I am proud to be his student.

Dr. Grewal is a co-chair of my dissertation committee as well. He has been my personal guide and mentor from the day I set foot at Penn State. If I am anything now it is because of my advisors and faculty at Penn State.

My dissertation, open source and my room mate

My dissertation topic for my PhD at Penn State is on the development dynamics of open source projects. I always used to wonder if i would in reality meet any one of these software magicians who make the open source movement possible. And never did I stop to look in my own backyard. My room mate, Arnav ghosh a PhD in Material Science Engineering at Penn State has recently launched a piece of software for Ubuntu, a very popular flavor of Linux. Automatix helps novice users of Ubuntu update their applications through a common simple user interface.

I really appreciate his effort. You read more abut his effort and the involvement of the Linux community on ubuntu forums.Happy Linuxing.


The Changing Nature of Immigration

I had read about an article earlier that pointed out that the nature of workforce in the United States is going to change considerably in the next few decades. With increasing immigration from Asia and the Hispanic world, the number of able workers will increase dramatically at the same time changing the nature of the work force.

It is interesting though to note that the proportion of African Americans has more or less remained constant over the years, after takign into accoun the overall rise in population.Although I am not aware of any research on the type of skills these populatiosn will add to the labor pool. Being a student from India I can definitely see what India is contributing to. However, I was surfing through the waiting periods for Green Cards the other day and it was interesting to see although the Chinese and the Indians had backlogs, the Chinese had a greater backlog in jobs that require advanced profesional degrees while the Indians had a longer queue in jobs that require less advanced education. This is not good news for the Indians, and suggests that people who are immigrating to the US are not beinging as valuable skills as the Chinese are. It also might indicate that fewer Indians immigrating to the US are bringing valuable skills into this country.In contrary it also suggests that maybe the more educated Indians are staying back due to better opportunities in India.So, taking it with a pinch of salt, and being someone who likes to take interest in immigratioon patterns of Indians :) i hope all this means good news for both India and the US, one way or the other.


Thursday, January 12, 2006

Culturally based music brings Penn State students together

My colleague Sanjay is quoted in this article.

The diversity at Penn State.


Steve Jobs declares war on bad software - Jan. 11, 2006

Well, well look what we have here. Dear old Apple after betraying its loyal Mac fans by shifting to an intel platform decides to do some good to itself by launching an app that will no wonder work only with its OS.

What double standards right... they want to ride the Intel performance wave but not allow other OS users to install their own OS based apps. Wonder when all this is going to stop!! Not to mention the despise I have for the ipod.


Blogger extension for Firefox

I downloaded the blogger extension for firefox from google's site and the blogger add-in for Word. It is amazing what these tools can really do. However I seriously wonder why so many people are blogging, and why there is so much hoopla about how companies are interested in blogger's comments so and so forth. It is like the Internet, until Google came laong it was an ocean which no one could make sense nor serach properly. The blogging world although made more traversable by technocrati and others is still pretty huge. Seriously, it is going to take some time before anyone can make any economic sense of it.

Well theoretically speaking, companies can drill these posts for market research .. yes theoretically.. but will it ever happen?

Real Estate and Hyderabad

I was thinkign about the housing boom in fast-growing Indian cities such as my hometown Hyderabad.
Although i feel very happy that the growth in the regional economcy has benefitted the locals through the appreciation of their land value, it makes me feel sorry that the city has become a lot more crowded. It feels more congested due to the hevay immigration inwards and new construction coming up all over the place. Just like in the US, low interest rates have fueled a housing boom and apartment values are already touching the 150000 USD mark. Incomes have not risen as much.
I read somewhere that your housing loan shoudl not be more than 2 times your annual income. I don't know how many people even stop to consider the true value of the house they are taking aloan for. For instance, i visitied a few apartments in a very upcoming neighborhood and i realized that the intrinsic value of the place was low.
Let me explain, as i entered the place, I did not feel that it was worth 90000 USD. The value comes only through the location of the high-rise building and not the apartment. Now in the long run as more real estate is consrtucted, new apartment models coem up and as a result the right now hot ones become old fashioned and as a result have a limit to their appreciation.

To summarize, my opinion is that people should buy these really expensive places not out of speculation but for necessity. If they need to live in a currently modern place they can invest in these apartments. However, if the current housing speculation continues I am sure housing prices are goign to fall in cities like Hyderabad due to excessive supply and urban congestion constraints.