Author Archive

Mountains are calling

August 29th, 2018 1 comment

Last four weeks has been painful but in a good way. We trained hard every weekend pushing ourselves hike longer. I learned quite a few things – how to select the right backpack, how to pack, what food to carry, how to watch my breathing, stride, etc.

Weekend Hikes

Weekend Hikes

Now it is 2 days before i start the journey. Bags are all packed trying to rest up and calm my nerves. I wouldn’t be here with out the support of my family – my wife who has been encouraging me through out the process, giving me time and space to deal with my craziness. All my friends especially my hiking buddies Sachi and Pankaj. I cannot express my gratitude to all my supporters who helped me reach my fundraising goals. THANK YOU!!





Categories: General, Personal Tags:

Hiking for a purpose

August 7th, 2018 No comments

colorado-14ersIt will be the 21st anniversary of an accident I had in which I almost lost my right leg. August 31st 1997, it was a sunny afternoon I was cruising on my motorcycle to reach the train station to catch a train to home, visiting my family during a short break I got during my 3rd year of undergrad.

With lot of help from my family and friends I was able to quickly recover from the injury and life went on. However, I never got back the agility I used to have in my feet. Few years back I found that I have tendentious in my right ankle and I am over compensating on my left leg causing my knee to wear more than they should. Last year, I got the wakeup call and decided to get better so that I could be there for my family and not be an anchor slowing us down.  we got a fur baby (Shadow) to our family he definitely keeps us active on our feet. This year with help of my friend Sachi I am embarking on an ambitious journey to climb 4 14ers  (Mt. Massive, Mt. Harvard, Grays and Torreys Peak) in Colorado from  August 31st 2018 to September 3rd 2018). Celebrating the 21st anniversary of my accident and showing myself that I can still keep going.

When I decided to hike in Colorado I also wanted to do it for a cause, so I choose to raise funds for the Wounded Warriors Project. I am honored to work for USAA. It’s a company with a great mission and purpose that keep you coming to work every single day. At work I get to meet people with inspiring stories of what service meant to them and how they fought with their fears, inabilities and still went above and beyond for the call of duty. Wounded Warrior Project was the first one that came to my mind, their mission to serve people who are not only physical injured but also for those who are combating mental injury and illness. This effort of mine is a small way to honor and give back to those who sacrificed for the country and our freedom.


Please help me carry forward with your donation. Every little bit will help reach my goal.

Thanks for your support.


Categories: General, Personal Tags:

I know to I understand

December 31st, 2013 No comments

I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

– Alan Greenspan

I am very blessed to have an adventurous career so far. This could not have happened with out my wife’s support. She stood by my side and encouraged me to pursue my dreams. 2013 has been a heck of an year for us. We laughed, we cried, moved (again!!), we both became an year older and our relationship has entered its teens.

On this last day of the year 2013, i am sitting in my office reflecting on the year that just passed. Thinking of things i can do different, better, learn from my mistakes this thought comes up in my head that sums it up all.  I want to be less “I know” and be more”I understand”. When you say “I know” you have convinced yourself that there is nothing more to it but when you say “I understand” it is deep. Understanding is a deeper cognition where you are connecting the dots vs knowing is a gesture of shallow knowledge where you glanced over made some quick assumptions. The quote from Einstein sums this up very well

Any fool can know. The point is to understand.

– Albert Einstein

So there my friends thats my goal for 2014. Wishing you all a very happy new year. Lets make this world just a little better one day at a time.



Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,

PUBCON 2013 – Social Media and Content Optimization Conference

October 28th, 2013 No comments

Pubcon Sketchnotes

This year pubcon’s center of discussion was Google’s Hummingbird algorithm, a new search engine algorithm that was launched few months back.  With the launch of this algorithm google is redefining the search space and taking it to a new level. In broad stokes these are the areas that google is focusing:

  • Knowledge Graph: Things not strings. Knowing what’s really behind a query.
  • Voice Search: Getting better and better
  • Conversational Search: Think pronouns, dereference the pronouns by maintaining an episodic memory during a conversational session
  • Google Now: looking steps ahead where people may not even be querying
  • Deep learning: Thousands of computers being used to learn neural networks

More about hummingbird – Core quality changes:

  • Hummingbird: If you’re doing a query, it might be a natural language query, and it might include words you don’t need. “What is the capital of everlovin’ Texas?” Hummingbird is a step in the direction to figure out the words that matter more and give those words more intelligent scoring. There’s a lot being written about Hummingbird and the fact is it doesn’t affect SEO. It makes the results of long-tail and specific queries much better.
  • Panda softening: There are always those grey-zone sites in Panda’s targets and some new signals they’ve added are meant to ease up on those sites.
  • Detecting/boosting authorities: If you’re a topical authority, keep deepening that content.
  • Smartphone ranking: If a searcher has a phone that doesn’t do Flash, Google is less likely to deliver results with Flash

Future trends of search include:

  • Machine learning: Google will keep trying to figure out how to add more value to searchers
  • Mobile: In 2011, YouTube had 6% of traffic from mobile phones. In 2012 it was 25% and in 2014 mobile is expected to be 40% of YouTube’s traffic. If you haven’t figured out your strategy for mobile, you better be thinking about it.
  • Social/identity/authorship: Knowing who you are and identity can make a big difference. It’s a long-term signal that you’re a person people listen to.

Treat search engine as another person if you show authority and ownership of content people will listen and so will search engine. –

Content optimization trends for future

  • Social Content: This plays front and center of search engine indexing. Increase in crowd sourced content publication and generation. Be Consistent, Be Interesting and Be Authentic.
  • Social Sharing: Organically grown social sharing is a huge indicator of authentication indicator.
  • Visual web: Web content media type will continue to increase from a text based to a more picture and video content.


Categories: Social Media, Tech Review, Travel Tags:

Training vs Development

April 3rd, 2013 No comments

To all the learning tech people

I came across an article on forbes about failure in leadership training. In this the author has taken time to explain how the “training” methodology has failed especially for teaching leadership skills to people. Here is an exert from the article where the differences between training and development are explained.

  1. Training blends to a norm – Development occurs beyond the norm.
  2. Training focuses on technique/content/curriculum – Development focuses on people.
  3. Training tests patience – Development tests courage.
  4. Training focuses on the present – Development focuses on the future.
  5. Training adheres to standards – Development focuses on maximizing potential.
  6. Training is transactional – Development is transformational.
  7. Training focuses on maintenance – Development focuses on growth.
  8. Training focuses on the role – Development focuses on the person.
  9. Training indoctrinates – Development educates.
  10. Training maintains status quo – Development catalyzes innovation.
  11. Training stifles culture – Development enriches culture.
  12. Training encourages compliance – Development emphasizes performance.
  13. Training focuses on efficiency – Development focuses on effectiveness.
  14. Training focuses on problems – Development focuses on solutions.
  15. Training focuses on reporting lines – Development expands influence.
  16. Training places people in a box – Development frees them from the box.
  17. Training is mechanical – Development is intellectual.
  18. Training focuses on the knowns – Development explores the unknowns.
  19. Training places people in a comfort zone – Development moves people beyond their comfort zones.
  20. Training is finite – Development is infinite.

I want to stretch this argument little further and say this applies to all domains of knowledge. In the past decade (in reality little over a decade) a lot of time and money has been spent over training. Building training tools, technology, methodology, and content. This is what we all know it as the big “e-learning” industry. What has been forgotten in this goose chase of training is “learning”. I am sure many of my other learning colleagues will agree with me. A lot of time and money has been spent on how to deliver the content online/offline, browser/mobile app, flash or no flash on and on. We have not spent enough time to think how much the consumer of this content aka training is actually learning.

Giving a multiple choice quiz at the end of 15 page slide deck is not measuring learning. I was fortunate to work with some of the best instructional designers who get the concept of a fine balance between presenting the content so that users get it at the same time choosing the right pedagogical methods. I am big fan of learning by doing, capture the experience , inferential learning – let the users connects the dots in their learning space. This is what fundamentally differs us as a race.

Learning is a beautiful thing that happens in human cognition and we are still trying to understand the mechanics about the process. To all the learning technology, practitioners, content developers appreciate all your work but we are not done yet. There is still lot more for us to do.


edstartup Introduction

August 29th, 2012 No comments

First off a big round of applause to the course facilitators, guest speaker, support team and all who are involved in this initiative. The focus these efforts bring to startup community in edtech is much needed. I ardently agree with Wiley’s comments about grant money, it is great as long as you have it. Once the funding dries out the effort stops. I had my share of working on grant projects and there is so much work that hasn’t seen the world outside the walls of the universities. It disturbs me to see my tax dollars going to waste, dont get me wrong research is great, papers are wonderful but i think the money invested can get you more.

That was my motivation behind joining edstartup to force me to think hard and (may be) collaborate with like minded people that i am looking forward meeting through this course.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , ,

Undocking thunderbolt – Apple script

October 4th, 2011 No comments


Last Week finally my long awaited Thunderbolt monitor has arrived. It is breeze to setup like any other Apple product. I use the USB ports that the monitor has in the back and hooked up my back up drive, headset one thing i did not like is there is no “safe undock”. My backup drive is a 2 TB that i have set up for Time machine and every time i undock the Mac complaints about unsafe ejecting of the drive. If you know me i hate when people yank devices out without gracefully ejecting the device. So needless to say the “unsafe ejecting” message was bothering upon searching for a solution i found this little apple script that does the job really well (thanks to Shawn at This is a simple script that basically sends message to the machine to eject all attached drive now my system is ready to undock. I save the script as a little “” and launch it every time i am ready to undock. Here is the process:

  1. Open “AppleScript” found in the Applications -> Utilities folder
  2. Paste the following code into “Untitled” applescript window:
  3. tell the application "Finder"
    	eject (every disk whose ejectable is true)
    end tell
  4. Go to File -> Save. Name the file “Undock” and choose “Application” as the file format. You can now run this from Spotlight or create a shortcut in your dock if you prefer; just as with any other application. Your external drives will be ejected after running this script.


Categories: Tech Review, Tech Review Tags:

#IMChat – A weekly Twitter jam about Interactive / Digital Marketing

May 9th, 2011 No comments

What is #IMChat?

#IMChat is an online chat on Twitter that happens every week on Tuesday’s at 2PM ET. The topics are around interactive and digital marketing. Anyone can join in the chat there are few ground rules but most importantly use your common sense. Dont say things that might hurt you or your business. Also find some chat tips that i have learned from other chat sessions. This weeks chat is on Forrester’s CORE methodology.

Rules of Engagement

  1. You first tweet should include #IMChat, your name, title, and company you work for.
  2. Subsequent tweets must start with the question number you are responding to and the #IMChat hashtag. For example, “@ssusarla Q3 #IMChat Email marketing rocks!”
  3. Be yourself
  4. Do not push your product during the conversation.
  5. Take personal responsibility on sharing. Use common sense and don’t say things that might hurt your business.
  6. Be nice to your fellow comrades.

How to #IMChat?

Now that you know about IMChat the easiest way to join the conversation is goto and enter your twitter ID and password. This will take you to a page where everyone will be tweeting about marketing.  All of your posts will end with the letters #imchat so other people not in the room can follow along.
If you’re a more advanced user, you can also use tools like TweetChat, TweetGrid, or TweetDeck to filter for all posts mark #imchat.

You can also do a twitter search for #imchat to filter all posts with that hashtag, just remember when you respond please add the hash #imchat in your tweets.

What can you expect? Fast-paced conversation, 140 characters or less at a time. Every 20 minutes or so a moderator will throw into the mix a new question. You’re not required to answer the question, but it’s a terrific way to get a variety of perspectives to keep the conversation moving.

Chat Tips

Here are a few tips I’ve discovered while participating in Tweet chats:

  1. Don’t try to read every single msg., especially if it gets fast. Consider what you catch serendipity.
  2. Everything you write during the chat will go to all your twitter followers unless you DM someone.
  3. If ur tweets go to FB, disable app before chat or begin with @ respond & it won’t forward to FB.
  4. Stay on topic as best you can. Tho not vital you answer all Q, sticking w/ topic keeps chat focused.
  5. When writing, complete thoughts help followers outside chat learn from you.
Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Creating your own Karaoke system

March 23rd, 2011 1 comment

I like karaoke, my choice of songs are Hindi soundtracks. Over the few months i have been trying to find a DIY solution for a karaoke system. I am always on a shoe string budget, so any thing that will let me do things for cheap (read free) i am all up for it. So this is what i did.

First the hardware:

  • A home audio system
  • Microphone (wireless preferred, i bought this)
  • A simple channel mixer, this is mine
  • Now that you have all the necessary hardware in place, its time to get Karaoke tracks. There are several options you can buy karaoke CDs or use some of the online services like Geetnet, Meragana (huge collection, i would recommend this if you have $). Since i was on a budget i wanted to create my own karaoke tracks. I have invested and built a huge Indian soundtrack collection and also i am not a big fan of having lyrics scrolling before me. I can handle lyrics very well. So after several trial and errors here is a very straight forward process i found to create your karaoke tracks by removing the vocals.

    Removing vocals from audio track

  • Get a copy of Audacity
  • Open the mp3 file of your choice in Audacity
  • Open File

  • First split the track by using the track tools
  • Split Track

  • Select the left track and apply the “invert” effect, from the “Effects” menu.
  • Invert Effect

  • Then use the “mono” feature for both the tracks.
  • Mono

  • Save changes and export to MP3.
  • You will need Lame library to successfully export to MP3. Get Lame library here for both Mac and PC.
  • Sample audio

    Original with Vocals

    Karaoke ready version

    Now you have a perfectly optimized sound track for karaoke with reduced vocals. All you have to do now is plug in the audio from PC to the one of the channels in the mixer. Microphone goes into the other channel. Plug the mixer’s audio out to your sound system.

    Happy Karaoke!!

    Categories: Tech Review Tags:

    Using WordPress for Twitter archival

    March 3rd, 2011 No comments

    Couple of weeks back @nedkumar came up to me asking for how i archive my tweet stream. While i was answering his question i realized i dont have good archival method. I use a combination of Instapaper, Evernote (love it!!), tweet favs and once in a month tweetbackup. Then i realized there should be a way where i can automate this process and not have to give away my data to others (like tweetbackup). So over the weekend i explored. WordPress is a very easy for me to setup and fairly comfortable playing with to make it do what i might need. I also knew that i can get RSS for tweet searches and user profiles given these two i started playing around. Quickly i bumped into twitter tools, it communicates to twitter fairly straight forward and then you have an option to make every tweet of yours as a new blog post. On further looking i found this awesome instructions from Mike Bogle. He uses mainly FeedWordPress to do the job.

    After couple of hours of tweaking and tuning up my twitter archive is humming along well. I archive my most watched hashtags, my stream (including mentions, RTs) and my esteemed friend @mrch0mp3rs “Beard Trust” list. Twitter doesn’t give you rss for lists, i used to get the feed. Over the next few days i will continue to organize and build the site with more content.

    Friends if you want me to archive your stream let me know i will more than happy to do or teach you how to do it :).

    Categories: Tech Review, Tech Review Tags: