Snooze the discomfort

Very often when I want to get something done that is unpleasant, the most likely process is – I start -> I feel uncomfortable -> I give up. This happens a couple of times, and then finally when the task to be completed just cannot be ignored, I end up completing it grudgingly.

One such activity I have struggled with always is meditation. Yes, I know meditation is not unpleasant. Isn’t that supposed to make you all at peace with yourself and align your senses to what is happening around you. Yes, it is. But that is the result, not the process. The process itself is disorienting and uncomfortable initially. It is also when one becomes aware of the most obscure muscles in one’s body that want to make their presence felt by starting to twitch or hurt. You suddenly remember what it is that you wanted to get done last week or last month or the plan you have to put in place for the promotion you have been desperately seeking. And off you wander on the trail of thoughts forgetting all about your breathing and the focus muscle you are attempting to strengthen.

I have been trying to develop a practice of meditation for so long now that I have lost count when I started and which attempt is this latest one. However what is different this time is that I am committing to logging my progress and sharing it with the world. Does that make me an expert or a proponent – NO! But it does make me accountable.

Noticing the patterns

In the daily rush of getting the job done, one tends to forget the patterns that one can apply from one area of their life to another, or even with the same area.It is not that we do not know patterns exist, it is just that we do not make an effort to actively search for them.

Foaming hand wash dispenser is a head start

We had always purchased the regular liquid hand wash at our house. Last month howevet my wife purchased a bottle of foaming hand wash. The ones where the soap inside is still liquid, but as it comes out, it passes through an arrangement in the dispenser that causes it to come out as a foam making it easy to lather on to one’s hands.

I had never given any thought to the utility of this fancy dispenser until my 7 yo son commented, “Dad, this soap dispenser gives me a headstart. I do not have to spend time on foaming up the liquid myself, and can finish washing my hands quicker and get to my breakfast”. I am sure the inventors of the foaming hand wash would have never imagined that their invention would be considered as a means to a head start.

It also left me wondering, what other inventions do I have around me, that give me a headstart? Maybe I am not aware of them, and take them for granted. It may be a good time to investigate and appreciate the headstarts I receive.

I also started thinking about what I should do, to give my customers a head start in their daily lives. What is it that they require to lead their competition

I do not have the answers yet, but I am sure to be more mindful of the foaming hand washes around me. Maybe you should to. You never know what you may find that surprises you.

Search engines, search engines and some more

With Google being the search engine that it is, search is no longer what we do, we Google our questions, we Google the weather and also the best name for our newborn.

It is no surprise that not many people know of other search engines that also inhabit this space. There is of course Bing – the search engine that is a default in Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge, followed by Yahoo Search which surprisingly is still around (it was one of the earliest in the game). Others such as are also around, but not as popular any more.

In addition to these older search engines, you also have a few that have been started with a specific pupose – is what you would use if you are concerned about your privacy on the internet. According to their website, their privacy policy is very simple:

we don’t collect or share any of your personal information.

Plus they do not show any ads and they do not track browsing behaviour in or out of private browsing mode. Sounds fantastic. However the downside is that whenever I want to quickly search for the movie playing at the cinema next to my house, I have to type the name of the movie, cinema, city and country in the search bar. If I do not do that, then points me to a cinema with the same name in a totally different country.

If you are okay with obtrusive ads, but are unhappy that these ads are filling the coffers of large corporations, there is They are a browser that funnel 80% of their profits to supporting tree-planting initiatives worldwide. Quite a noble thought I would say. So far they have helped plant ~17.2 Million trees and they have a goal of planting a Billion trees.

So the next time you are in the mood for some “Googling”, pause for a second and think – maybe you could try one of these alternatives.

Conferences and Publications

Update: The correct website for the ICCCN 2016 conference is

I am new to this game, just two years in the research industry. However that does not mean I do not get hounded by the question “So, how many publications do you have?” Unfortunately my answer with a bit of hesitation is a low key “None”. I had my paper accepted at a conference, but because of a goof-up from my end, I could not travel to present my paper, and so lost on a chance to get my first PhD publication. That however did not deter me, and I set about searching for conferences that I could submit my work. I went about searching on the IEEEexplore website for upcoming deadlines and conferences that people in my area of research had published in. I came across the name “International Conference on Computer Communications and Networks” quite often and thought of checking if the deadline is coming up soon. It was not, so I made a note of checking again after a couple of months.

After a couple of months, when I keyed in the term “ICCCN” into Google, I came across the following pages.16SG01ICCCN


I was surprised to see two conferences with almost identical names and the same acronyms being held at almost the same time. I though this looked a bit fishy, and so started investigating a bit more. This is what I came across. 15SG01ICCCN




ICCCN 2014 and 2015 held at exactly the same venues – Singapore and Zurich during the same period for the past two years. The only saving grace being that the photograph on the landing page of the Singapore conference page had been changed since 2014.

Digging a bit deeper, it occurred to me that WASET, the organiser/parent body of these conferences has these events organized up until 2027! That is really astounding. IEEE only has its most prestigious conferences, scheduled 2 years in advance, and here WASET had conferences scheduled 12 years in advance. Another point that I noted was that the 2014 ICCCN was the 16th in this series. This meant that these guys have been around since 1998 most likely, if the “16th” in the name is really genuine.

I then decided to find out what the research community felt about WASET in general, and was not disappointed to find that I was not the first to discover this. People have been informing the research community about the dangers of predatory publishers and about conferences and journals with dubious credentials for some time now. A few articles that I came across are

Predatory Publisher Organizes Conference Using Same Name as Legitimate Conference

Science fiction? Why the long-cherished peer-review system is under attack

More Duplication of Journal Titles and Conference Names by Predatory Publishers

By the way, I did manage to finally find the link to the genuine IEEE ICCCN 2015 conference. I am now waiting for the 2016 conference CFP to come out soon. I still have to get my first publication, and a genuine one at that.