I liked season 1 very much. So much so that I got all the 40 odd episodes on iTunes one by one (like an idiot) and kept watching them over one weekend last year. Then I was so waiting to see how Season 2 goes. Disappointment was the word.. or was it disbelief? Well.. I'm not as excited as I was for season 2. Hope to see one of my favorite series make a comeback starting tomorrow.


For anybody who hasn't heard of TED yet.

Please check out www.TED.com.



Finally, the trailer and audio release of Kamal Hassan's newest movie, "Dasavatharam" (10 Avatars) is here. This would be THE film of 2008 for me.

EDIT: Sept, 2008 .. I kinda take back what I said before the movie came out!

Check out the trailer on YouTube :-


IPL update

Team Mat Won Lost Pts Net RR For Against
Kolkata 2 2 0 4 +3.764 334/39.0 192/40.0
Delhi Daredevils 2 2 0 4 +2.988 275/28.1 271/40.0
Chennai 1 1 0 2 +1.650 240/20.0 207/20.0
Rajasthan Royals 2 1 1 2 -0.692 297/38.1 298/35.1
Bangalore 2 1 1 2 -3.423 248/39.4 387/40.0
Mumbai Indians 1 0 1 0 -0.191 165/20.0 166/19.4
Kings XI Punjab 2 0 2 0 -1.365 373/40.0 408/38.1
Deccan Chargers 2 0 2 0 -1.669 252/40.0 255/32.0

Here's how it is poised after the seven matches. Tomorrow's the big one, the first match in Chennai. And that too against Mumbai. This is going to be huge for both the teams. For one, to stamp their authority once again (Dhoni's team) and the other to salvage a victory to which they were so close the other day. Harbhajan is quite a fierce/emotional captain. Dhoni's 20/20 captaincy record is close to phenomenal. Mumbai won't have Sachin tomorrow because of his groin strain. But, they probably would have Dwayne Bravo instead of the injured Thornely. Its going to be a good one. Meanwhile, Delhi gave Deccan a sound thrashing today, especially to their star player Symo the 'Roy'. Sehwag blasted him for 3 sixes and 3 fours.


IPL Stuff

Now, now now.. what do we have here.. "Pidge" bowling in India after a long time!! Just after Chennai's win in Mohali.. Here comes the big 'un. .. Shane Warne's team up against McGrath's team.. Wow! As always, Glen getting upset, when someone hits him for six. Whoa! I can't wait to see Warney in action in the second innings. Delhi's got one of the best fielding side in the tourney
if you include Chennai as one of the other better fielding sides, good captaincy from Sehwag and some great bowlers including the all time great, Glen.

So, the Delhi Daredevils have bowled and fielded their way to victory in this one. Gambhir continues his form from the ODIs, while Sehwag let his guard down after three swashbuckling boundaries. Dhawan's 50 was impressive, enough to impress any selector. Anyways a good win for the Daredevils.


The IPL is finally here. What a start to the tournament yesterday..! Brilliant Brendon just murdered the home side, B'luru led by our own Wall. They also backed it up with good bowling. Didn't let Dravid and the others get off to a flyer (well.. how many times do you expect a flyer when Dravid and Jaffer are at the crease? hopefully we'll start soon... ).
We've just got to forget all the hullabaloo around the tournament and focus on the cricket, both cricketers and supporters alike. Its going to be amaaaazzing....!! Today was Hussey's day. A brilliant century by him for the Chennai team. Right now the game is very nicely poised in favor of the Super Kings barring any superhuman Yuvi-Stuff ..

I don't know who to support in this tourney, because there are favorite players in every team. I want to support Chennai Super-kings and will do, but I hate the name. IPL should have got the superstars name dude.. c'mon. Look at the ICL Chennai SuperStars AD. It would have got more of my support. But, anyways it is a good chance for me to see players like Badrinath, Vidyut and Anirudha et al .. play. I'm with Chennai even if it is not riddled with more than 2 of my favorite players.


H1B Season approaching...

As some of my friends get ready to file their H1Bs this summer, the USCIS expects the same or nearly same amount of petitions filed as last year. There were around 150,000 petitions, around 2 times the cap number : 65,000 (which is the number that they started with when I was 8 years old. I'm 24 now. Briefly, they increased it to 115,000 in 2000. But it reverted back to 65,000 in 2002.) in only 2 days and USCIS had to rapidly shutdown accepting applications to stop getting flooded with petitions. They are expecting a similar amount of petitions this year too.

Here are the caps as far as they mention in their site:
  • Reg. Cap (65,000 regular cap cases minus the C/S cap cases received)
  • C/S Cap (Chile/Singapore H-1B1s)
  • U.S. Masters (20,000 cap exemption for beneficiaries with U.S. Masters or higher degrees)
  • Exempt (for petitions filed by certain institutions of higher education; nonprofit organizations; and nonprofit research organizations or governmental research organizations, as defined in USCIS regulations)
(source: U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services)

Many of my friends who joined companies last year would be in that 20,000 cap exemption for benificiaries with U.S Masters or higher degrees. Some of my fellow academics who join research labs or universities would be Exempt. The other reality and truth of the situation is when you throw in the several thousand off-shore companies shipping their employees on H1 and L1 visas for temporary periods you have a rush to file petitions and hence the 150,000 in 2 days issue.

There have been stark changes in the jobs among the H1-population , as this publication for the CCIS(Center for Comparative Immigration Studies) points out :

In 1989, Healthcare jobs were the top H1 jobs, in 10 years time it was nowhere in the race. In 1999, IT/Computers/High Tech. fields topped the list with almost 60% of the H1 jobs in the IT industry. Click on the pictures and see for yourself.

1989, Job Numbers 1999, Job Numbers

In 1989, The highest number of H1 workers were from the UK and Phillipines. But they were at around 12-14% each, of the whole H1 Population. India was around 4%.
In 1999, UK and Philippines hadn't seen much growth in the H1 numbers and represented 5% and 2% respectively. While, India's numbers show a gargantuan change: 55, 047 / 119,000 odd. Almost 50% of the H1 job population. Even as China's numbers have grown, their share in this has not.

H1 Numbers: By Country

So, its more of an Indian thing now, with 50% of the H1 population in 1999 being Indians. I don't know about current (2007) numbers. Need to dig up more information. As "the senator from Punjab" as Barack Obama called her, says the government surely needs to think about increasing the cap. This was during the H1B visa debate which raged around June 2007. It started with this video. Went along with this one, was kept aflame with this one and people like Wogsland also argued against the cap in this video for example.

I feel there should be an increase in the cap, even if it is slight. Probably around 120, 000 in all instead of the 88,000 in all limit. This will keep people working in America whoever they are wherever they're from as long as they are a benefit to the US economy. Otherwise, this will prompt companies to find other reasons like for example: Microsoft has centers in Israel, Denmark,Canada to counter the effects of the immigration cap. More companies will outsource jobs. Talented students will try to find jobs in companies based in other countries. Eventually, USA will not be the only country where world class IT jobs are sought in. Already, Singapore / Hong Kong, Japan are serious contenders. Throw in a resurgent Europe and Asia into the mix, we've got a worldwide job market.

So, if you consider the now existing cap of 65,000 + 20,000 (Maters workers) which has in fact decreased from the cap in 1999 back to the 1991 limit in 2002 and the number of international students studying in the US (around 550,000 odd) out of which atleast 10% or around 10% are applying for a H1B visa when they complete their education, its "almost unfair" to say that "A typical High tech American graduate" is denied jobs to accommodate the ones who are equally suited for the job. Out of a 150,000 applications that comes in at the rate of 100,000 per day for an average of 88,000 odd "non-immigrant" work visas, nearly 70,000 applicants (most applicants have already secured the job in a company after several rounds of interviews) are denied visas by a random lottery.

Is this the price they want to pay for the hard work? The hard time they went through writing effective linked lists, binary trees and hash tables... preparing hard for the interviews, getting through the process and then their life being decided by a lottery? Pure luck?

But, there's another side to the story too, which needs more research before I discuss it here.

The other reason I wrote this blog is that I came across another list:

The Number of H1B petitions approved breakdown by company .. I was surprised to find that among all universities in the US, there were more H1B petitions from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2007 than any other univ. which is my university as a matter of fact. It has moved from rank 31 in 2006 to rank 18 in 2007. The "not-so-surprising" facts are clear to see, look at the number of Indian companies in the list.

Graph: Infosys ranks number 1, *UIC ranks 18

[ The web link to the article ] Click

The PDF: http://www.computerworld.com/pdfs/editorial/h1b.pdf

and yeah.. the H1B season for 2008 will be here in 15 days.