What are you good at? Something worth remembering

It’s succintly summarized at Seth Godin’s blog

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Microsoft .Net Provider Classes – The Origin

A number of provider classes are provided by the Microsoft .Net platform. Sometimes it is useful to understand the logic behind these provider classes in order to understand the implemented framework. Here is an article that went back all the way to .Net Framework 1.1 when the Provider classes were being mooted out, which gives a good feel about the thinking behind these classes and the way they were implemented.

Here is an example of a Provider class that is commonly used in .Net website.

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What is Zen?

The word Zen is derived from the Sanskrit word Dhyana, meaning "Meditation".

Zen emphasizes the pursuit of one’s Dharma and the accumulation of wisdom through experience as opposed to religious theologies and dogmatism, by practising peaceful meditation. The objective is the attainment of awakening.

Historically, the establishment of Zen is generally credited to an Indian prince turned monk Bodhidharma, who traveled to China to teach a "special transmission outside scriptures" which "did not stand upon words".

Meanwhile, the origin of Zen is traditionally traced to the Flower Sermon, wherein Gautama Buddha gathered his disciples for a talk. When they have gathered, Buddha maintained complete silence and instead held up a lotus flower.

Thus, through Zen, wisdom is gathered and passed not through words but through direct experience.

Bodhidharma said, in his Bloodstream Sermon – "If you use your mind to look for a Buddha, you won’t see the Buddha. As long as you look for a Buddha somewhere else, you’ll never see that your own mind is the Buddha. Don’t use a Buddha to worship a Buddha, and don’t use the mind to invoke a Buddha."

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Pakistan’s USD20 PC

Quoted from comments in BusinessWeek – "Interconnect
Apr 10, 2008 11:36 AM GMT
Suggest look Pakistan in the Middle East region for tech readiness.
Poor economic condition but a young tech-savy youth purchased
re-furbished Windows XP PC’s outnumber the TV sets in Pakistan, with
each child in family own PC being available locally for $20. Pakistan
excel’s optical fiber network, with most urban rural population of 170
million accessible to broadband internet on fiber, coaxial, or mobile
broadband internet. Despite poor economic conditions, the youth has
benefited with the Digital Divide, and most mobile handsets adhere to
broadband internet. eMail: haroon.rashid@akunet.org"

The 20th Annual World Competitiveness Yearbook (2008)

The 20th Annual World Competitiveness Yearbook, published by IMD business school in Lausanne, Switzerland on 15th May 2008

Key points –
1. US still no.1 (for 15th year) but suggested may fall next year to Singapore
2. Asia Pacific recorded biggest gain and China spurred growth (GDP +11.9%) helped
a. maintain Singapore at No 2 and Hong Kong No 3
b. advanced Taiwan to No 13 (from 18), Malaysia to No 19 (from 23), Thailand to No 27 (from 33) and Philippines to No 40 (from 45)
c. Vietnam and Kazakhstan expected to join the rakings soon
* "Growing investment and trade among Asian nations is creating a very strong level of confidence in the region"
3. European countries fill half of the top-10 positions
4. Strong growth of middle class consumer markets in Asia – "The rapid growth of the middle class in emerging economies—particularly
in China and India—will boost consumption in the coming years, and
this, too, will likely influence their ranking. Roughly 50 million
people in India are considered middle class, and this figure will
probably swell to 580 million by 2030, Garelli says. Since 2000, about
600 million people around the world reached middle-class status,
spending an average of $4 billion annually on brand-name products, new
homes, vacations, and other indulgences"

Criteria –
"IMD produced the rankings using 331 criteria ranging from gross
domestic product growth and unemployment to the number of Internet
users and the price of local cell-phone calls."

Sources –
"Hard data from sources such as the World Bank and U.N. comprised
two-thirds of the inputs; the rest came from nearly 4,000 survey
responses from executives in each country—many of them IMD
alumni—regarding the availability of skilled employees, government
regulation, the availability of venture capital, and other more
qualitative issues."

Read in relation to The seventh annual Global Information Technology Report released on Apr. 9 by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF) and French management school INSEAD –
1. "{The Middle east] oil-producing countries have woken up to the fact that diversifying
their economies will prove "absolutely critical" in the coming years.
"They have to rely on people and on knowledge-based industries," he
says. Other countries in the region, especially Egypt and Jordan, also
now understand that technological prowess will prove vital to their
global competitiveness."
2. Only Singapore and South Korea ranked in the top-10
3. The report raised concerns that demand for e-skills in India and China is fast outstripping supply

Global Outsourcing

Europe has emerged as the largest outsourcing market in the world (Source – TPI).

Key points –
1. Total global outsourcing contracts awarded Jan 2007-Sept 2007 = EUR38.2bn (about RM180bn)
2. Europe’s share of outsourcing market = 56% (up from 37%)

Emerging trends
1. China predicted to overtake India by 2011
2. Major offshore outsourcing providers – Brazil, Russia, India, China, Mexico (the BRICM countries)
3. Small scale person-to-person (P2P) outsourcing industry may also take-off (eg tutoring, translation services, writing/editing, researching, etc)
4. Rising energy prices and environmental concern may impact outsourcing decisions and choice of partners
5. Virtual worlds (eg Second Life) and social networks (eg Facebook) may stimulate market growth
6 According to a McKinskey report, India will face a shortage of 1 million skilled people in the IT and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sectors by 2010

Why outsource?
1. Companies can save 30-40 of their cost by outsourcing
2. Most companies are driven to outsourced to offshore centres by rising cost and competitiveness
3. Other drivers include lack of internal skills and expertise, and temporary nature of requirements (eg project based)
4. 1 out of 7 outsourcing jobs are leaving India due to dissatisfaction with quality
5. India is predicted to win only 2% of the global BPO market of EUR200bil

Methodologies

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