Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Not blogging very well at all...

..cos work is hectic and lots is going on. So here's a whirlwind post talking about various severely disconnected and largely irrelevant topics.

I can't blog much about work but here's something important to note. ANOTHER person quit the company, emphasis on the first word there. The reasons are known but cannot be put on this blog. If you ever meet me in a bar, let me know if you want to know.

On a positive note, CNN said that environmental experts are reporting a stoppage in the ozone layer shrinking. So we're not going to lose all our ozone after all.

Gas is 3 dollars a gallon. Expect it to climb more. See this post for remedies if you're complaining about it.

See this video on how the world is going to end.....made by a Californian. See it multiple times because you have to read the text and understand that accent too. Took me three or four times before it appeared to be funny.

Hurricane Katrina hit the US and New Orleans has practically drowned. Feels like Bombay there I'm sure, but only that they got all that rain in 24 hours and Bombay got it in a week. So it's a bit toughter for New Orleans than what it was for Bombay. Hope folks recover as soon as humanly possible.

Friday, August 26, 2005

I thought this was SUPER cool

It's like having your own personal Panda camera without even going there. San Diego Zoo has a live webcame in their Panda enclosure and you can watch the Pandas do their thing all day long ... I think it's cute ...real cute..

Watch San Diego Zoo Live Panda Cam
Incidentally, they also have pictures of a recently delivered baby Panda. Ironically it's called a baby Giant Panda. It was delivered a week ago but apparently they decided to wait before confirming this week that it's a baby girl. You can see pictures of that over on the website too. The baby panda obviously is very small and very hairless so doesn't look as appealing as the full grown pandas do. Right now it looks more like a gerbil than anything else.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Kuwait, Egypt or Venezuela -- which one do you prefer?

For those people who are complaining high and low about gas prices in the United States, I have tried to explain to these people about how the prices are still well below what citizens of some other countries (including poor and developing ones) are paying for a gallon of gas.

Finally, I have some credible evidence that I can point to, and you can choose to drive in any of the three places listed above in the title. They have gas that is way cheaper per gallon than the United States. Gas in Moscow is also cheaper but not by enough to merit a move from the US to Moscow. Other places might seem enticing for these V-8 SUV driving gas-price complainers.
I also tried to explain the whole demand-supply logic but people seem to only care about gas price going back to $1.50 per gallon for their beloved behemoth SUV. People in America need to cut demands by driving smaller vehicles and owning fewer vehicles per family. They also need to stop driving to a store that they can walk to. They need to learn the benefits of car pooling and public transportation so that fewer vehicles are on the street and lesser gas is consumed overall. It's not that the price of gas is high. The reason it hurts us is because we go through that many gallons of it. Compare it to buying milk. Today milk is $2.49 a gallon at my grocery store. But I don't go through one gallon of it per person per day. However, had I owned an SUV that ran on milk and so did Noddy, we would get 20 miles per milk gallon and that would mean going through 2 milk gallons if we drove nowhere except to work and back. At that point, milk is unbearably expensive too .. just like gas is today. So it's not whether or not gas is expensive. It's whether or not we're spending a lot on gas and THAT needs to be curtailed. You cannot control global gas prices but you can control your usage amounts so that your monthly petroleum bill can shrink.

A) Car pool -- even with one other person, it helps. The more the better but coordination can be an issue.

B) Use public transport -- in bigger cities this might be very convenient but in smaller cities it might get to be a problem depending on routes, frequencies and safety.

C) Do you really need a V8? -- If you have to have a large vehicle, at least offset it by making the second vehicle a small one. Husbands of minivan moms can live with driving just a reliable Honda Civic to work and back. Maybe an SUV is a better idea than a minivan so that you can tow stuff, haul stuff and stuff kids and their accessories in it. But offset it with a car that demands very little gasoline and will definitely not be the first off the block at a red light.

D) Do you need two cars? -- Surely don't inconvenience yourself or your spouse by dealing with problems that come when a couple shares one car. But for some families, this is a very affordable and often the only least until the children arrive.

And if you're one of the people who doesn't get bothered by gas prices .... enjoy yourself and skip this post in it's entirety!!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Trivia about India...

5 Questions for those who are Indians and have lived in India for a significant amount of time.

1) How many states does India have?
2) Who is the Chief Minister of your State or Union Terrirory?
3) Who is the ruling party in your State Government or Union Territory?
4) Which State does Vishakhapattanam lie in?
5) Do Calcutta and Mumbai use the same time zone?

5 Questions for those who know something about the existence of a country called India:

1) What continent does India lie in?
2) What ocean surrounds the Indian peninsula?
3) Who is India's neighbor closest to it's Southern-most tip?
4) What's the Capital of India?
5) What type of government is in India? e.g: A communist, a dictatorship, a democracy, a kingdom .. etc etc..

If you're a fair player, no Googling, no checking or asking around and definitely NO posting your answers here. Let everyone take a shot at it. You may choose to post your score if you like. I got 4 out of 5 on the first section and all 5 on the next one. The bottom 5 are easy for Indians to get because I had to ensure that the bottom five would be questions that Indians have lived with but they also give a fair shot to non-Indians. The top 5 are anybody's game. I didn't come up with these questions. Someone forwarded me an Indian Independence Day Trivia e-mail that had these questions in there.

Enjoy and good luck!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

That's not "fair" play

The gaming industry is heading in the same direction that the DVD industry is .. they're pricing themselves out of the legal market and well into illegal bootlegged markets.

Why don't people like to pay 21 dollars for a DVD? Because it cost the company right around 15 cents to get it made in China. Add to that, company overheads in marketing and supply chain management to get DVD inventories into stores and you're looking at around a dollar or two per DVD. Okay so that's a 1500 to 1900 percent profit per copy of DVD sold. Now that broadband has become popular, people are not just sharing illegal music files which are around 5MB per song. They're heading into sharing illegal movies which are around 4 GB for a complete DVD print. Therein lies the reason why I don't buy brand new audio CDs or buy brand new DVDs off of the retail shelf. I cannot want music or video so bad that I will pay retail for it. It has to either come used from ebay/amazon or other sites where sellers are selling it for far less than retail. Or another option is the 99 cent song downloads where I am paying a dollar for a song that I'm going to listen for at least a few years. I am not going to pay $16.99 for a CD of which I only like 5 songs or $21.99 for a DVD.

Anyway, my point was that the gaming industry is heading there too. The newest rage in gaming consoles, the XBOX 360 will cost $299.99 or $399.99 depending on whether you want bells and whistles. As an icing on the cake, game manufacturers have said that the average cost of a game you can play on this machine is going to be $59.99 (Look somewhere in the middle of that article). That's 10 dollars more than the cost of a game playable on the previous generation XBOX. So $59.99 per copy of a game.

So parents buying this for kids are going to shell out at least the following:

$299.99 for the gaming console
$119.98 for two "starter" games
$25.19 6% tax (ignore this if buying amazon etc)

That adds up to $445.16 for the kid's Christmas present this year. Think about that for a minute. If you make over a 100K per year (jointly or by yourself) that's not too much money to spend on your child's Christmas present. Now here's a quote from the US Senate Committee on Appropriations (The text below is from this link, just search for it):

"Today, the average full-time, year-round worker earns $44,579, 15.7 percent of full-time, year-round workers earn over $65,000 and 4.2 percent earn over $100,000."

Do you see how the price of the gaming console with two starter games comes hideously close to 1 percent of the average gross income? A person with $44,579 income probably gets a net of around $35K.

Now suddenly this gaming console looks damningly expensive. It looked good when we started looking at someone who nets $100K per year. Not so hot looking for someone who nets only $35K and needs to pay all the rent, utilities, kids education, entertainment and recreation bills that they already have to deal with.

But .... and here's where all this math goes to hell....people WILL pay for it. They will go there and for the sake of their children whom they dearly love (or just want them out of their way), most people will buy this for the prices advertised in retail. It boggles my mind that people do not consider what a rip-off this is. It also boggles my mind that people do not think that children today will survive peer pressure and find alternative means of entertainment than this 450 dollar present that, instead of paying for itself, will continue to cost more as your nagging child wants more and newer 60 dollar games.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

It's nice outside....really nice.

The rains are back in town. It's really beautiful outside even though it's a grey sky. I like that weather. Perfect for a really hot cup of tea, a blanket and a book. As luck would have it, I have to make mortgage payments every month so I can't do the whole tea-blanket-book thing. No Sir. Instead here I am in a greyish cube facing one of the cube walls and typing away. There is so much to write about work but it's getting to be too dangerous to blog about your professional life. So I continue to refrain from typing stuff that might get misconstrued and get me into trouble.

Has anyone seen Spaceballs? I think it's a great movie. I still enjoy it even though I've seen it at least a hundred times. It definitely makes it to my all time favorites list. There's a sentence in there that goes ".... unbeknownst to the Princess but knownst to us .... ", which is a hilarious jab at the complicated English word.

This weekend was socializing weekend. Went to a lunch get-together and then the previous night, this friend of mine finished his last class for the semester so he wanted to celebrate that. We went to BW3 for his celebration. We got a very moody waitress who didn't like us initially but decided sometime after we ordered the main course, that we were decent enough people who would actually pay the bill and not try to make a run for the door.

The major achievement last week was the completion of the deck. Pictures shall be posted soon. If you remember from this post, we were trying to decide which deck to build and everyone overwhelmingly voted for Deck B. Well we got a variation of Deck B built and you shall see that in the picture. Possibly tomorrow. It's come out beautiful and it's made of composite, not pressure treated lumber. There were some ideas that the deck builder himself came up with and that helped quite a bit.

And lastly, home improvements continue. Another round of seeding in the backyard just before Fall hits. That'll get the backyard all straightened out for the season. I can't believe summer is about to get over next month. I wish winter got over this quick but nooooooo ... winter has to last for six months and goes away very very slowly as if it's aching to stay a little bit longer. This is why I try to find positive things in global warming because if we can figure out how to live with the temperature being 10 degrees warmer overall and the ice caps melted away, then we might not have to deal with snow ever again. For people who haven't lived in snowy regions, you don't know what a pain it is to clear your car and/or your driveway. You also don't know what it feels like when you pinch your ear and you can't feel it. And lastly, it's hard to use the restroom quickly when you have to deal with your seven-layer clothing salad everytime.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Yay to my country's independence

Yay to Indian Independence. A big thank you to my forefathers who lost life and limb to give me the freedom I enjoy today. Had it not been for them we might have still been slaves to the oppressive British.

The Indian Flag flew for the first time with international recognition on Aug 15th 1947. Pakistan ( it was created the moment we gained freedom from the British) celebrates it's independence one day earlier. I guess we're a much bigger country so it took us a while to make sure we were indeed free and that the message got out far and wide.

Very few people outside India know this but, when we gained freedom we became a democracy. On 26th January 1950 we declared ourselves a democratic republic country. That means we did not create our identity based on race or religion. We became what America is - a country with borders but no restrictions on the race or religion of people inside. Strangely enough though, there continued to be small kingdoms inside India even AFTER we became a democratic republic. There were still Maharajahs who ruled over areas and had their own armies. Slowly one by one, they secceeded their kingdoms and became a part of India but that took a good ten or eleven years. We also had to drive the Dutch out of a part of India that they ruled. This is a little known battle in history. The Dutch owned a small state "Goa" in Western India and the Indian Army had to fight them and defeat them in order to acquire Goa.

Another less known thing - Kashmir. Everyone hears on CNN that India and Pakistan are fighting over the disputed terrority of Kashmir. Do you know why it's disputed? I'm going to see if someone cares to reply to this blog about how and why Kashmir became a disputed territory to begin with.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - Review

A close friend of mine, Shultz, is reading the book and has threatened me with dire consequences if this post gives away anything that would make reading the book any less exciting. So here is my walking-the-tightrope attempt.

A lot of people found the book quite gloomy and dark. I can see why but then again, it's okay. It didn't make the book any less interesting for me and it didn't piss me off from the last book that is yet to be written in this series. I thought the book was very well paced. The initial part seemed dragging on but then bits and pieces of it would come to relevance towards the latter part. The book is on the thicker side obviously, just like the Order of the Phoenix was. The story is basically a setup for the final book. Maybe that's the part that people find disturbing about the book -- there is no closure like there was in previous HP books. It just leaves you contemplating what the last book is going to be like. The funny bit is -- you know there's only one more book and you know what things need to happen for that one book to end the series. Regardless of whether Voldemort lives or Harry lives, the tasks for both of them are clear.

A lot of characters whose allegiances were in doubt were clarified in this particular book. Going into the next book, very few characters are likely to be introduced, if any. One key highlight of this book -- Dumbledore openly admits to being fallible just like any other wizard and being as likely as anyone else to make a mistake. The fact that he is extremely talented drastically lessens the chances of such things happening. Nevertheless he admits to it and I found that very crucial to understanding the book. This is probably the first book where you see Harry actually applying his mind rather than just ride on pure dumb luck to get inconceivable things done. All the way until now, he just kept getting lucky or had his friends or fans who would help out and protect him....Dumbledore included. In this book, he tends to think for himself and think independently. The lucky stuff still exists and he continues to get lucky, but there is quite a bit of logical thinking that he does to progress in his school year in this book.

Some romantic alliances are formed and others are broken. They are very fluid throughout the book almost until the very end. And even then you're left thinking if A and B are REALLY together or not. But romance is brought out firmly and rightly so since they've all come of age and can't be expected to keep playing childish pranks when they're not trying to keep dementors away.

All in all, very readable and likeable. If you find it dark, don't be depressed. It's just a stage for the next one ... the ending is a start of the rocky ride that all HP readers will ride in the next book before all this ends.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

And today there is a 20% chance of showers ...and where is your BADGE !!!!

Do you remember the weathermen of yesteryears? They didn't have sophisticated graphic pointers to point at charts. They didn't have little thumb devices that changed the background maps when pressed. And they certainly didn't use dumb lingo that makes weather confusing. Yet they were more or less, exactly as accurate as today's nut-cases when it came to predicting weather.

This guy points to a very colorful area near the mid-west which was apparently a "pop-up" storm. Now, I'm quite not up there in the weather-IQ section so it took me a while to understand this term. It apparently means a storm that comes out of nowhere. Yet, it's predictable by the weatherman so it doesn't exactly come out of nowhere.

Anyway, I must've been overzealous and installed a pop-up blocker on my house because there hasn't been a single pop-up storm in our neighborhood although clouds threatening some major popping did show up a couple of days ago.

I think being a TV channel weatherman is one of those glorified jobs that has been made into a widget-like manufacturing process where nothing changes. The real weatherman jobs are done by people employed in the National Weather Service which traks hurricanes, storms and major life threatening natural havocs so that they can warn people before it happens. Armani suit clad people predicting "pop up showers" in my neighborhood aren't impressive. They hold the same importance to me as the security guards in my company who continuously stare at people's waists to ensure that they have their company badges hanging off.

Speaking of corporate security guards, that's another profession that's overrated in most companies. Would you laugh if I told you that the most exciting part of the day for our company's security force is when they make an employee use the side entrance instead of the front entrance. See, the front entrance is reserved for guests and other non-NCR people coming for official meetings. The employee worker ants have to use the side entrances from where we can slink away into our cube holes. Apparently we look like shit or something. Anyway, if an employee accidentally decides to use the front entrance (for whatever reason) he shall be immediately reprimanded for this by at least two very alert security guards. These will then feel very proud of themselves for stopping such a gross security breach. They are also the same people who will allow you only ONE phone call to someone inside, if you have forgotten your badge. Sounds more and more like a prison camp doesn't it? This is a TRUE story. This guy was a product manager and didn't have his badge on. He told the security guard to call Mr. X so that X could escort him inside. Well X happened to not be at his desk at that moment. So he told the security guard to call Mr. Y. The security guard said, sorry I can't do that. You're only allowed one phone call. Rule-made-on-the-fly. So this guy had to use his cell phone to reach others , which by the way, is perfectly acceptable. Another unknown and vicious attack on employee lives was thus saved by our brave Mr. Security Guard.

Hurray for weathermen and corporate security guards. I'd like the weatherman wear T-shirt and jeans and read me a bulletin from the National Weather Service and claim no stupid credit for his doppler radar. As if without this stupid doppler radar, the weather satellites sitting up in the air would've not given us any indications whatsoever. I'd also like for the security guard to start cleaning the dirty carpet in the building. He'll add more value than trying to chase badgeless unsuspecting employees at the front gate.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Touchdown for Discovery ... Well done!

Discovery landed safely this morning at Edwards AFB in California. It is an amazing feat given the amount of pressure that NASA had to deal with for this first flight after the Columbia disaster.

I am not an American but am elated at the success of the entire 7 member crew and the ground control team. They really pulled this off inspite of sceptism in the general public. Not to mention the media repeatedly playing the clip where a piece of foam insulation got torn off on shuttle launch. Figuratively speaking NASA has stuck out the obscene finger at sceptics and I back them for doing this. When CNN took a poll in the United States, more percentage of people doubted NASA's Space Program than the war on Iraq. That's why it was so important for NASA to stub it's nose at these ignorant morons who don't know basic math skills but are very willing to doubt NASA for a space shuttle that blew up in mid-air and seven lives were lost. On the other hand, the body count in Iraq stands at 1800+ people and a large number of aerial craft downed by hostile fire or accidents and apparently that doesn't bother them as much as Discovery's oh-so-doomed journey back home. So how come there's more support for that effort than Discovery's space mission containing one aircraft and seven members on-board. It confuses me thoroughly. Maybe the cause in Iraq is much more worth it than sending supplies to the crew of International Space Station where you're definitely helping them survive.

I'm not a Conservative or Republican but the liberal right-wing media in the United States loves to be a sceptic. Their theory really is "guilty unless proven innocent" because that helps spice up the story and get ratings higher. Innocent people are boring and mundane. Screw-ups are exciting and can be put up on posters and screens. Putting doubt in people's minds about Discovery's safe return by repeatedly playing the foam insulation tear-off tape had ensured that people will be totally tuned in when Discovery is ready to make a landing. It's definitely a strategic decision to market it that way. It would be absolutely boring if people heard CNN newscasters say "And Discovery took off with absolutely no problems and is right now docked at the ISS....nothing more there. Moving onto sports....". Instead they spiced it up with "Disovery has heralded NASA's return to space and here is the video of the foam insulation that fell off during launch. This is the same thing that caused the Columbia disaster and there is general concern on how this might affect Discovery's safe return. Now we have with us in the studio our space missions analyst (who is paid 500 dollars an hour to speak what we ask him to), Mr. Bob Knowitall....". At that point, Mr. Knowitall proceeds to outline the perilous and hazardous journey that Discovery is facing when returning back to Earth.

Trust me people, when we fly on an airplane and our flight attempts to land, we face the same odds of mid-air blowups that Discover faced. Just because we don't have on-board cameras on airplanes that track every square inch of it's exterior on take off, doesn't make it any safer. News needs to be gossipy and spicy and people will tune in to it. Ergo the glaring intellectual disorder where people are worried more about 7 people in a space shuttle than 70,000 soldiers and 4000 aircraft in a war-torn country.

Monday, August 08, 2005

I can imagine the horror if I did this:

Okay you guys just have to read this. I can only imagine the horrors my life would go through if I did something ridiculous like this. A few questions come to mind:

1) First of all, for those who love their wives , they would notice that the lady was missing because you'd want to make conversation with her and in general you would be interacting with her even if she WAS sitting in the backseat. For those who detest their wives, they would've found the in-cabin atmosphere in the car to be far more quiet and congenial after pulling out of the gas station. So I don't see how you can miss the wife regardless of whether you love her or hate her.

2) Clearly there is something wrong if you drive for six hours and don't have conversation with your wife or even attempt to have one. If I was driving and Noddy was in the backseat and she didn't answer to something I said then I would be inclined to check the rearview mirror to see if she was asleep or what was going on. I wouldn't just "continue" driving. So this story doesn't make sense if he only finds out after SIX hours. Another thing.....did he then just keep driving constantly for six hours? No breaks, no stopovers, nothing????

3) And this is great intelligence on part of the wife as well. No money and no documents..... in a foreign land????????? (They were Macedonian, so I'm assuming they were tourists?).

Now what would happen if this happened with me and Noddy. First of all, there would be this lack of comprehension about how in the world can I forget my wife. Secondly, it would further bring my low IQ to the forefront (literally speaking). Thirdly, my in-laws would have confirmation that their daughter has married a severe nut-case. Finally, my brother and sister would make fun of this until the day we all die. Finally, I don't think I would ever be allowed to drive EVER AGAIN if Noddy and I went on a long roadtrip together. If I was allowed to drive, then everytime Noddy would get off at a gas station, she would probably put a yellow post-it on the steering wheel - "Do not forget .... wife in tow .... consequences can range from divorce fees or imprisonment of upto 18 months or both"

Yikes! I'd hate to be this man even if his stories are true. I hope this is all a bad dream for him and that this really didn't happen.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Timing a purchase

Retail buying in America can be a very exciting experience.... if you take into account the following things:

1) Most retailers have discount sales every so often. If you stay in one place and visit a particular retailer often, you will see a pattern emerge. It doesnt necessarily have to be around holiday season. The goal is to hit this discount phase and buy stuff that you may not need currently, but you know for a fact that you will need it later.

2) Avoid high-cost impulse buys. For one thing, impulse buying is risky. You're going on advertisements by the retailer that things are cheap or you're thinking that this particular thing might not get so dirt cheap later so might as well get it. The two biggest questions to ask yourself before buying any large-cost item are:
a) Do we really need it? AND b) How have we been getting along without it so far?

3) Off-season buying is an incredible opportunity to save lots and lots of money. For example, September is a great time to look for patio furniture but a really bad time to start looking for sweaters. October and November are also great months to look for an outdoor grill or lawn and garder equipment. March is great to buy mittens ... you get the idea. Just make sure you buy at the turn of the season. For example, it is fruitless to look for beachwear in December. Look for it in September when retailers are re-stocking their shelves with merchandise that fits the changing season. Seasonal changes is when you hunt for such opportunities. The savings are tremendous.

4) Coupons - this is probably a very touchy subject but I personally hate those 50 cent and 1 dollar coupons. A lot of people swear by it but I think it's such a waste of time to clip them, inventory them and then actually REMEMBER to carry them with you for your purchases. Sometimes they are the reason for impulse buys as well. However, the coupons that I advocate are ones that are on large ticket items. $100 dollars off on any electronic purchase worth $500 - hang onto that one if you're planning to buy a new TV in the next six months. We recently used a 25% off coupon to very good effect when buying over $300 in patio figure the savings!

5) Bulk buying -- is a good idea when used smartly. Bulk buying is done for two reasons. Either you consume that much and therefore you buy in bulk or the thing is so darn cheap that you cannot predict the next time it's going to get that low in price. In the first case, if you're going to stuff as fast then definitely buy in bulk whatever you need. In the second case, be a little careful. Even if it's cheap you're buying it because you want to hold on to it. In other words, you're locking up money on it. So don't buy 50 bottles of Clorox bleach just because it's 75 cents and is usually 3 dollars. That's great savings but you just locked up $37.50 in a purchase that you are unlikely to go through in 2 years. Instead BE the retailer. A retailer bulk buys inventory from sellers in a smart fashion. They look at what is going to get consumed the fastest and they invest more in it. So should you. Buy a lot of what you will consume the fastest - thereby not locking your money in purchases that will sit at your home and get used up very very slowly.

....Enjoy shopping! I think it's a great thing particularly in this country where retailers compete for your business and discounts are aplenty.

Friday, August 05, 2005

A "mini" Object of Desire ---

As a birthday gift, Noddy gave me THIS AWESOME PRESENT !!!!
It's the 4 GB version of the Mini and I absolutely love it. I've got 600 songs on it. It came right on my birthday ...

First impressions:

It's half the size of my hand ... that says a lot about how gigantic my hand is.
It is smaller than a deck of cards and half the width of a deck of cards
The earphones are weak so I'll probably have to buy a good set of earphones
The click-wheel is sensitive but an awesome feature once you get used to it.
It seamlessly integrates with ITunes and ITunes in itself it just a good clean interface
I love it and won't part with it
It's got 4 GB capacity and I could've bought the 6GB one but then I reckoned that the day I'm bored with 4 GB worth of songs, I just need to shoot myself or get a life.

I got mine from for 190 with free shipping. Sajid/Shama bought a couple of accessories for me as a birthday gift and I pitched in to buy the rest of them so this IPOD is going to get accessorized real quick!!
Buying this IPOD was a very significant thing for me because of earlier sentiments that I expressed about forking out too much money for this. But the convenience far outweighs the cost. See the second paragraph of my previous post here