Thinking Caps

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Team Everest

An Eye opener about a budding social-entrepreneur. An inspiring individual from southern part of India.

The USP of his NGO: Team Everest, is to provide a platform for volunteers who are willing to commit to atleast 1 day  a month .. 12/365: which means 12 days out of the year .. a very small investment for extraordinary gains.

If you are interested in helping solve social causes, here is one NGO that you should definitely look at.

Ref: Team Everest India, Karthee's Blog

TED Talks playlists

TED talk playlists that has something for everyone ...

I'd like to share how some of these talks helped me evolve. My rating against each talk based on the impact it had on my thinking.

Most Recommended TED Playlist:
  • How Schools Kill Creativity: 9
  • Underwater Astonishments
  • If I should have a daughter: 10
  • The best stats you've ever seen: 8
  • The danger of a single story
  • Free and cheap Wii remote hacks
  • The power of vulnerability: 9
  • We need to talk about an injustice
  • 3 warp-speed architecture tales
  • Your body language shapes who you are: 9
Ref: TED Talks Playlists

Note: This blog post would be evolving over time.

Friday, December 5, 2014

California DMV Experience

Been driving for awhile in California and finally reached the dreadful moment to get tested.

Although, DMV website has good information on all the details to get your driving license, I thought I'd give my account from what I've understood so far.

Please check out the process first on the DMV site incase it has changed over time. The experiences below are just to remind/help you if things go sideways.

The process listed below are for a non-citizen trying to apply for a California Drivers License.

1. Schedule an appointment from DMV for your Written Test
2. Fill out the forms before your appointment. Make sure you have the relevant documents
3. After you've cleared your written test,  schedule your Behind the Wheel appointment
4. Practice all that has been described in the Drivers Ed/DMV Videos before the actual test
5. Give the test and wait for your drivers license

1. Try to get the appointment by calling the Toll Free number for the written Test.
2. You need to get the first appointment for the "Office Visit" to complete the Written Test.
3. Clear the Written Test to get the Temporary Permit (printed paper) having the License no.
4. Now you can get the Behind the Wheel Test appointment.

Written Test:
1. Prepare by going through the Drivers Handbook
2. Take a few sample tests online
3. Practice the rules

DMV Test:
1. Review the Drivers Handbook
2. Learn to drive calmly in various conditions- residential, commercial, weather conditions etc.
3. Practice the route near the DMV that you plan to take your test from
4. Documents: Car Insurance, DMV Registration, Temporary/Instructional Permit
5. Need to drive your own car. If used then please familiarize yourself well.

Personal Experiences:
These are personal experiences which may help others to avoid certain problems.

-You could get your appointment online but it does not show up when your search for it after the date/time slot has been allocated.
- I finally called the toll free number to confirm the appointment for the booked slots. Its easier to have them call you back rather than wait in the queue.

Written Test:
- Initially I thought that the rules are simple and can be learnt easily. The only way to know the rules well is to practice them.
- You could also go through the practice tests for the last few years to gain the required confidence of taking the test.
- When I took the test at the Santa Clara DMV, they had provided us with Touch Screen machines to take the test. Its quite simple and easy to use the setup.

Permit Type:
 - Please try to avoid the Instructional Drivers Permit which mandates that you drive with someone holding a Permanent Drivers Permit.
- You need to get your Temporary Drivers Permit if you have an International Drivers license or a license from your country of origin.

Behind the Wheel:
- Try to drive as confident as you normally do and at the end of the experience try to be calm no matter what the outcome. You have 3 tries to get your license.
- I received the 'Unsatisfactory' result when I tested for the license the first time.
- I've yet to go for the next test, but I believe it would be good to drive a few practice runs with another driver who has gone through the driving test.

How to Prepare for your DMV Behind the Wheel Drive Test
Behind the Wheel Test Video

Behind the Wheel Driving Test in Freemont
DMV Videos
Five Life Saving Moves
DMV Behind the Wheel Test
Map of Santa Clara Driving Test Routes

Saturday, February 16, 2013


high wire 2
High Wire Balancing Act

For the last couple of weeks, I've been putting off writing some quality articles largely due to work related tasks. I've been so immersed with 1 thing that I've not really thought of any other task.

This brings us to the topic of effectively managing multiple dimensions of our life without letting each of them suffer. What is your core mission ? If you can answer that probably you would be able to prioritize and say no to the ones that matter less to you.

I've realized that this is what has happened within my subconscious.

References : How to Achieve Balance

Credits : Flickr photo from Graeme Mclean

Friday, February 15, 2013

Harlem Shake

The Harlem Shake is the funniest dance trend so far in 2013 similar to the Flash Mob & Gangam Style dances.

What to Expect in Harlem Shake Meme ?
For the first 5 seconds : Everything looks normal
For the next 15 seconds : Sudden dance by one of the actors without any inhibition,
For the next 15 seconds : There is a breakout by all the actors into a stream of random dance acts.
Its would appear like a bunch of crazies looping over the same set of actions for the next 15 seconds.

You Tube's got a jolt out of the Viral videos spreading through Twitter.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Republic Day Sale

Its 40-50% on almost every shopping mall. Here's a trend that I've been observing through the last 6 months. Sale seems to have become a permanent fixture at all the malls every 2-3 months.

Joanne wants to shake his hand and get a smile from the kiddie mannequin !

She was yanking the mannequin's hand and pulling it forward to get a reaction. It almost fell of its ball-n-socket.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Flash Mob

Flash Mob at Ohio State University

Other Flash Mob on Google Search Results. Its entertaining to watch the dance direction and co-ordination. Works well if you watch the dance from top view and actually are caught surprised.

A mob breaking into a dance during a monotonous daily rut really makes your day.
Another Flash Mob that was interesting from Persistent Systems 2012 Pulse Event (previous company).
Intially I'd used Flash Mob at the Pulse Event 2012 as the main video view, the more I see such events, I've noticed that the video capture & editing makes a great difference to a well choreographed mob. Switched to Ohio State Univ's version from 2010 which was a bit interesting & enjoyable. There are more such on google, so take your pick !!
Any flash mobs you liked recently ?