Thursday, November 22, 2007

Minutes of meeting - 21st November 2007

Attendees: Aishwarya, Badhri, Shabnam

Summary: The group met after a long time of around 3 months. Concerns/Topics put forward were

a. Meetings should be held more regularly and frequently
b. There has been no activity done in the past 6 months since the group was started
c. Priya put forward her opinion on the nature and langugage of the blog posts
d. There has been no meeting where all the members have got a chance to get introduced to each other. This meeting will have to be on phone or voice chat since members are in different countries/cities.

Agreement and action items at the end of the meeting on the following:

a. Badhri will introduce Aishwarya and Shabnam to Rukmani (who works in Synopsys). Rukmini is closely associated with Anand Bharthi. After meeting Rukmani, Aishwarya and Shabnam will take forward the Anand Bharthi case and explore the possibilities available.

b. Shabnam will contact Subba Rao and get on update on the presentations that were suggested by Subba Rao

c. In light of Priya's suggestions, we will try and ensure that the posts are:
1. To the point
2. Easy to understand
3. Without long winding sentences
4. Without using difficult and complex sounding words

d. One of the objectives for the next 3 months is to come up with ideas regarding the focus of the group. Badhri's opinion is "Awareness" should be the focus of the group i.e. when we take up an activity we should ensure that the activity is able to raise the awareness levels of purpose or cause for which the activity was taken up.

e. There is no harm in evaluating a project. But a project will be taken up only after ensuring that everyone's opinion has been evaluated and taken into consideration.

f. The group will meet and communicate pro-actively.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

"Define...Remember....Refine..." dubbed to English

Well, I have never felt more naked before! :) Now, here is the dubbing in English of "Define, Remember and Refine"

"Improving the standard of living" is very broad objective. I have commonly seen one of the two scenarios in a group like ours trying to achieve an objective.

- "No projects to do"
In this scenario, when two days pass by, the group gets desperate looking for an activity to do and feel that getting started somewhere than just keep talking.

- "Too many projects to do":
Here, I have seen that projects are chosen primarily based on how strong feel good factor is.

Both are cases that belong two different extremes, but they yield comparable result. The group ends up executing projects after projects that don't align with the initial goal. Soon, the objective is lost.

So what is the solution? In my opinion, there has to be a criterion or a set of criteria based on which we can choose to do a project or reject it. This criteria should be defined in such a way that, when we decide to do a project based on this criteria, it should improve the standard of living (which is the goal!) of the beneficiary of the project.

Now when we execute such a project, we should always remember the criteria that we used to select the project and analyze if the project meets the objective. If it does not, we should analyze why. If we find that it is because our set of criteria is flawed (because of bad reasoning) or incomplete, we should refine them and use them to choose the next project.

While writing a post...

Hi all,

This is Priya Venkat from El Paso, TX. I am glad to be a part of this group.

As we are all living at different parts of the world, its no way possible to exactly understand what others are actually thinking unless we communicate in an effective manner. As a Ph.D. student who has gained some experience in writing technical article and as an individual who has less vocabulary knowledge, I would like to tell you things that will help communicate better...
Though it is not possible for us to follow all points, the members can do a quick check right before we publish a post.. I am conveying some of my points by using badhri's recent post. No offense. He is my sweet cousin but I would like to point things out so that others can try not to repeat it.

While writing a post ..

1. Simplicity: The phrase "x can be considered to be a y" is best replaced by "x is like a y." The construction "it is the x that frobs the y" should be written as "the x frobs the y." In the same vein, "we refer to x as frobbing y" should be "we say that x frobs y."

2. Do not use too many conjunctions: Usage of many and's and that's and which's make the reader lose track. And tryto lay out things in a step by step manner

No offense badhri!!!

>>Or we are drowned in the sea of "good project ideas" that we end up implementing projects targeting mutually unrelated and often conflicting objectives, thus ensuring that the net progress towards the overarching objective (which here is standard of living) at the end of a number of projects, is minimal>>>

Its shows his english skill. But, believe me, it took me a lot of time to understand what he meant. Esp. when a group has to sustain by just reading, it is very important to be simple and non-voluble. We can say the same like this

" We may have to start somewhere. Otherwise, we may get drowned in the sea of good project ideas. Such 'good project ideas' may lead us to work on projects that may not exactly focus on our objective to raise the standard of living"
- We dont need details how it may not make it work !!!

3. Define things.. Do not assume what you are talking about

>>>This clearly mandates a framework that poses questions about the characteristics of the project, whose answer would shed light on the eventual million dollar question "How much will this project contribute towards improving the standard of living of the overall community">>

Yeh, it needs a framework.. a frame work to stay focussed in our objective to raise the std of living. But by framework, what exactly do you mean?? Wait and explain what you mean??
And it did not pose a question to me or others " about the characteristics of the project" and you have gone to the answer .. Stop.. Is the discussion or statement about the question and answer and the billion dollar question anyway directly relevant to stress the "need of frame work" esp. when you are getting back to talk abt the" refine.. define... " stuff.
Yeh.. focus on relevance

4. Relevance: Please make sure that every statement you say is relevant to your aim of the post. There is a big difference between an essay post and a technical post. Ours is more close to a technical post.

5. Organize your thoughts and be coherent: Do not jump back and forth.. It distracts the motto of the post.

6. Weak adjectives and adverbs: Many adjectives and adverbs add little to the sense of a sentence. It is often wise to remove the adjectives "mere," "basic," "essential," "major" and "fundamental," as well as their adverbial forms. Some adjectives are advertisements without substance. Unless you explain what you mean, don't use words like "advanced," "powerful," "sophisticated," "flexible," or "special."

7. Weak verbs: Certain verbs, notably "make," "do," and "perform," are often used in situations where a much better verb can be found. For example, "The priest did a check after the penitent made his confession" is best recast as "The priest checked after the penitent confessed." Likewise, "I can't make a determination on the basis of one symptom" should be written as "I can't base a determination on one symptom," or, even better, "I can't determine it from one symptom." If you find that most of your meaning is in your nouns, and very little is in your verbs, you should be using stronger verbs. A symptom is excessive use of "is" and "are."

8. Double negatives: Remove double negatives. Replace "not dissimilar to" with "similar to". Replace "no different from" with "similar to" or "the same as". It is sometimes better to replace "not less than" with "greater than or equal to", even though the replacement is wordier.

9. Self-heckling: Don't contradict yourself within the same sentence in which you make a positive statement. Wait until a later sentence

I grabbed some other points from a professor's website in University of Kentucky (my univ)wherefrom I learned. For more info reg. writing, please visit here

Thanks for patience and your understanding.