Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Few Cool things i saw this week --

Cool things of the week -
1 - New website with a new idea - www.weddingbetting.com - people make wedding announcements and we guess how long will the marriage last
2 - WJLA news report on a coupon clipper

Check it out

Are we entering a Government 2.0 era

What is Government 2.0
Its a steal of an acronym from Web2.0, Enterprise2.0 commonly called for a interactive, collaborative form of using the channel may it be the internet, web, applications, video, forums etc, Some thing that allows the user to interact back with the provider
With that said, Is President Obama truly beginning to extend it to Government
The latest appointments of Vivek and Aneesh for the nations CIO and CTO job truly is a testimonty to his committment to bring leadership in technology to open up Government for colloboration
Todays Nations address on his 100 days milestone was spent over an hour to answer questions in various issues such as War,Security, Swine flu, economy, Auto makers, Pakistan, Border control etc. Obama addressed a variety of issues and provided oppurtunities for more questions and he has done over 5 such town hall type of press conferences. Such high numbers in the first 100 days in office of a President is not typical
I sat back and started thinking why not a Government2.0 model
One may question, We pay tax and we also participate in government and do the work ????
Well you have a choice not to participate in the government and have no traceability or voice in tax payer dollars or participate and make your voice heard
As a simple example we have Police services to provide us the protection we need and they are paid of the tax dollars we pay the local state and county governments, Still dont we set up neighbourhood watches in collaboration with the local sheriff ?
We volunteer to the local fire and rescue even though they are funded via property taxes / fire/ems taxes, Why do we do it , we do it because we care for our local community.

Thing a 1000 times bigger, if you participate in the government with the doors opened up by our new administration i think its a great oppurtunity for us to colloborate, make our voices heard and contribute to a significant way we do things
Score cards, Ratings on congressmen, senators are example , online blogs about positions taken by politicians are important, Rather than hearing the one way SPIN given to us by the Political pundits in FOX, CNN we should participate and share opinions and views and there are channels to promote them
If these channels gain momentum then the government will have no choice than to hear them
When an AP, Fox, CBS, Politico news reporter gets a seating , the days of having an Online blog moderator in that conference room is not too far away.
It could be an independent forum or a syndicated columnist forum,the thoughts shared is really the key
Participate, Collaborate and Contribute,
Thats the only way you can make a difference, Paying taxes alone will never bring any change

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Allergies Alert

Allergies Alert

Welcome Spring and Nice weather and ofcourse lots of POLLEN

For some allergy sufferers like me, a few tips could be useful. Check airquality before you plan an out door event or activity.

The Weather Channel provides an easy daily email alert to get pollen forecast, just like you check weather before you plan some thing, check the pollen forecast before you plan an out door stuff.

Try to build resistance, Fight it, i have found doing a lot of cardio during the allergy season helps me to fight resistance, may it be running , cross trainer, elliptical, or cycling try to do as much as you can

Obviously good eye drops, nose sprays does help, Cingular has been working for me past season.

Yesterday i was in a restaurant and a mexican waiter offered me a MEXICAN medication and told me it fixes the allergy attacks, i have my doubts but im going to try- what the heck, it has to be either drugs or better medicine to fix the allergy i go through, both ways its better than what i have now :)

TWC link for Pollen allerts


Another couple of pointers, Keep your car exterior and interior clean, wipe out with some disinfectants as much as you can, while driving keep the internal air circulator to be on, Change cabin air microfilter to get better airquality inside the car

I know the first 4 weeks of spring is miserable, but hey im not going to give up i will be outdoor, i will SNORT the freakin pollen and do whatever i want to, I keep thinking what if i gather a full bottle of POLLEN and SNORT it like BLUE MAGIC from American Gangster

What do you think will happen, any one wants me to try ????

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Elections in India

Elections in India
Indian general elections to elect the members of parliament is considered the largest democratic election process in the world. The elections covers about 700 to 750Million voters this year and its done in over 6 phases in different sections of the country and no counting or results are published until all elections are over.
Its a key factor as one states results does not influence or sway others as it happens in American between East and West or Midwest states
Although a multi party system is followed, there are three national level coaliations that are competing in the elections and there is stark differences amongst them in the way to run the country forward
Congress - Pure capitalist - western oriented approach - Secular
BJP - Capitalist with a Indian flavor - pro west but relegious fundementalism deep rooted
Third front - Mix of many idealogies - Heavy Socialism in their brains - against the rich for the poor/middle class - Should i say more Obama like :)

Given these choice the Indian public are going to be making some crucial decisions in the next few weeks to re-write their destiny for the next 5 years

Given that i stumbled on a site that i think is very interesting to provide data on the elections and the participants in the elections
Check this out


Post your comments on Elections, Candidates, Constituencies, Agenda etc --

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Travel Alert - spirit air deals back on

Travel alert
Spirit air deals are back on
If you want to do Miami this summer this might be a good time to go
June 1st week is 9$ one way - i think thats expensive than getting to the airport --
Post if you have any other travel deals
Im hungry for travel this year, will start as soon as the wife is back in country in JUNE

Idol Update

Idol Update
So after the disco week yesterday, i sat back and thought who are really the weakest links in the competition and who could make it to the top 3
My Votes would be
Adam Lambert
Allison Iraheta
Danny Gokey
I predict the winner would be Adam Lambert - he is truly a performer
Today would be the last day for lil rounds, matt girrurd, anoop desai ( bottom 3)

Post your thoughts --

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Travel Deal Alert - London --

Travel Deal
For those of you planning to make a trip to Europe this summer, this by far is the best deal i have seen to london so far
Please check it out

Post any other Mexico, Carribean, Europe travel deals you may have

Sunday, April 19, 2009

CNN iReporters in India

CNN iReporters in India
So if you would like your unique photography skills to be put to use and displayed and reviewed and rated, turn it into CNN iReports, its a great way to get visibility to your picture skills
There are some beaming beautiful pictures of india here.
Check it out

Saturday, April 18, 2009

TWO Indians for TOP Technology Jobs in Obama Administration

TOP IT JOBS in US Govt goes 2 Indians --
So for all the folks in DC metro, its a moment you could namedrop now
as the CIO of DC Govt and CTO of Virginia have got the CIO and CTO jobs in Obama administration
Congratulations to Aneesh & Vivek
Post your comments

Some of Best of Best stuff --

Best of Best
We always look for best of best in various thing, so i thought i would collect, gather from Fortune, Money, Time etc and post a few of them that might be useful for all

Best iPhone Apps
Best Places to find a Job
World Cleanest Countries

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spring&Summer Destinations

Spring&Summer Destinations Whats cooking for this season ?
Do you have any favs , any tiny hidden secrets or locations that is worth checking out this summer
A friend of mine recomended US White water rafting
Check it out ,it appears to be neat and its on my list for this summer
Memorial Day is approaching
July 4th is approaching
Any suggestions for really good Camping spots we have done a quite a few them, are there any where we can camp in the beach, so that we can knock 2 birds in one trip
Post your tips to plan for a better use of this summer

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

India Investment Oppurtunity -

India Investment Oppurtunity -

Following up the Currency conversion topic, for those of you who want to chose to invest in india now, please find below a good option that you may consider


Thanks to Rajini for the contribution --

Invest wisely, Calculate risk, reap benefits, grow wealth

Post any other options you may have

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Anaivaraikkum Iniya Tamizh Puthandu Nal Vaazhthukkall

Monday, April 13, 2009

Akshaya Tritiya 2009 Falls on Monday April 27 2009

Akshaya Tritiya
Borrowed from Wikipedia --
Akshaya Tritiya, variously spelt as Akshya Thiritiya, Akshaya Trutheeya, Akshaya Tritiiya and also called Akshaya Trithi, falling on the third day of the bright half of the lunar month of Vaisakha of the traditional Hindu calendar, is one of the four most auspicious days of the year for Hindus.
The word Akshaya, a Sanskrit word, literally means one that never diminishes, and the day is believed to bring good luck and success. It is widely celebrated in all parts of India by different sections of the society irrespective of their religious faith and social grouping. The day is particularly considered auspicious for buying long term assets like gold and silver, including ornaments made of the same; diamond and other precious stones; and the real estate. The legend states that any venture initiated on the auspicious day of Akshaya Tritiya shall continue to grow and bring prosperity. Hence, it is normal to see many of the new ventures, like starting a business, ground breaking for construction etc on the Akshaya Tritiya Day.
Hype around Akshaya Tritiya
Buying gold is the most important aspect of this day these days
So where to buy gold
You can buy in local gold stores
If you would like to buy online
http://www.gaithersburgcoin.com/index.htm -- Local to DC Area

If there any other places to buy please post

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Dollar cost averaging - DCA

Dollar cost averaging - DCA

What is dollar cost averaging, should we follow it as a methodical approach for investment

So what is a DCA

Its the method of investing a fixed dollar amount at regular intervals weekly,monthly, per paycheck, in a particular investment or portfolio, regardless of its share price. In this way, more shares are purchased when prices are low and fewer shares are bought when prices are high

The key here is to select an investment vehicle or a portfolio that is very well diversified, managed, reviewed in periodic intervals and re-structured based on market leading indicators,drivers etc
There are many options for that, you can look into Target time funds from TRowePrice, Fidelity, TIAA-CREF etc or Managed portfolios from Amex, Fidelity, Merril Lynch, charles schwab etc
So why is DCA very important
It imposes a regime and spreads the risk in buying points, Say you felt 10,000 is the bottom of the market ( atleast i thought) and invested a heavy sum at 10,000(DOW) it could prove to be a dangerous strategy rather if you spread out 1000$ every paycheck into a very diversified portfolio from DOW 10,000 to 7000 levels and back up from 7000 to 8000 levels the spread would be lesss risky and also at various different spike points in the market that the average yield will be better
If you could wait and invest all your money at DOW sub 7000 , in my opinion you should not be doing a day job rather work in managing money !!!!!
So 401k contributions are a great example of dollar cost averaging, even if you chose to you cannot time the market as your employer will auto credit it to your account and it will be allocated immediately based on your model. well you can always allocate to CASH and the split and dice it if you are a PRO, But staying out of the market in CASH has its negatives too,
when you sit out and dont enjoy the 1, 2,3% daily spikes thats really when the portfolio hurts
So i want to learn about your thoughts on DCA and how you have efficiently practised it and been successful
Give me your thoughts

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Travel Alert

Travel Alert
Virgin America has announced some great deals from IAD to across the country
Great value cannot pass up, Atleast i cannot, grabbed a IAD to LAX deal for Memorial weekend deal for 219$ round trip, thats more than what i would spend gas,toll, eating and back in car to NJ/NY.
Check it out
LAX to BOS - 79 one way - WOWWWWWW thats HOTTTTTT
Check out these sample (each way) fares from Washington, D.C.:
Las Vegas ... $109-$119*
Los Angeles ... $109-$119*
Orange County ... $109-$119* (service begins April 30)
San Diego ... $109-$119*
San Francisco ... $109-$119*
Seattle ... $109-$119*

Get Wifi, you can chat with fellow travellers via your console,
Thanks Sir.Branson -- I have switched from Southwest to Virgin

Tax Time in America - April 15th 2009

Tax Time in America
Its that time of the Year April 15th is approaching, and Im running around to collect my returns from the CPA, verify with all the statements make the IRA and other contributions and see the total damage…. Not bad I think im getting money back this time, thanks to all the zero deductions and excess contributions ahead of time.
So we scream and complain about taxes all the time, We pay federal, state, county, social security, medicare, property, business, sales, telecom,911 taxes etc
Yes when we see too many line items no one is happy, but I wanted to compare our tax table to other leading nations in the world, this is what I found.
Seeing through I don’t think we are that bad, ofcourse there are better examples like Singapore, but we cannot compare them to us, may Singapore to Fairfax county – that too MAY BEEE…..
Average 10 year experienced SW Professional makes 90,000 to 130,000 USD

0 to $16,700 10% of the amount over $0
$16,701 to $67,900 $1,670.00 plus 15% of the amount over $16,700
$67,901 to $137,050 $9,350.00 plus 25% of the amount over $67,900
$137,051 to $208,850 $26,637.50 plus 28% of the amount over $137,050
$208,851 to $372,950 $46,741.50 plus 33% of the amount over $208,850
$372,951 no limit $100,894.50 plus 35% of the amount over $372,950

Starting rate for savings: 10%*
Basic rate: 20%
Higher rate: 40%
Over £37,400
Average 10 year experienced SW Professional makes 75,000 to 100,000 Canadian dollars
15% on the first $38,832 of taxable income,
22% on the next $38,832 of taxable income (on the portion of taxable income between $38,832 and $77,664),
26% on the next $48,600 of taxable income (on the portion of taxable income between $77,664 and $126,264),
29% of taxable income over $126,264.
Provincial taxes like US state taxes are an average of about 8 to 14% on top
Average 10 year experienced SW Professional makes 80,000 to 125000 dollars
Taxable income Tax on this income
$0 – $6,000 Nil
$6,001 – $34,000 15c for each $1 over $6,000
$34,001 – $80,000 $4,200 plus 30c for each $1 over $34,000
$80,001 – $180,000 $18,000 plus 40c for each $1 over $80,000
Over $180,000 $58,000 plus 45c for each $1 over $180,000

Singapore – Lowest
Average 10 year experienced SW Professional around 100,000 to 120,000 dollars
Taxable income Tax on this income
$0 – $20,000 Nil
$20,001 – $30,000 3.5c for each $1 over $20,000
$30,001 – $40,000 350 plus 5.5c for each $1 over $30,000
$40,001 – $80,000 $900 plus 8.5c for each $1 over $40,000
$80,001 – $160,000 $4300 plus 14c for each $1 over $80,000
$160,001 – $320,000 $15,500 plus 17c for each $1 over $160,000
Over $320,000 $42,700 plus 20c for each $1 over $320,000

Tax Base (Yen) Tax
1 - 1,950,000 5%
1,950,001-3,300,000 10%
3,300,001 - 6,950,000 20% of base exceeding 3,300,000
6,950,001-9,000,000 23% of base exceeding 6,950,000
9,000,001 - 18,000,000 33% of base exceeding 9,000,000
18,000,001 and over 40% of base exceeding 18,000,000

Average 10 year experienced SW Professional makes 15,00,000 to 20,00,000 rupees In India, Individual income tax is a progressive tax with three slabs.
No income tax is applicable on all income up to Rs. 1,50,000 per year. (Rs. 1,80,000 for women and Rs. 2,25,000 for senior citizens)
From 1,50,001 to 3,00,000 : 10% of amount greater than Rs. 1,50,000 (Lower limit changes appropriately for women and senior citizens)
From 3,00,001 to 5,00,000 : 20% of amount greater than Rs. 3,00,000 + 15,000 (Rs. 12,000 for women and Rs. 7,500 for senior citizens)
Above 5,00,000 : 30% of amount greater than Rs. 5,00,000 + 55,000 (Rs. 52,000 for women and Rs. 47,500 for senior citizens)
Surcharge -- we have invented tax on tax - thats really unique no one has this
A 10% surcharge (tax on tax) is applicable if the taxable income (taking into consideration all the deductions) is above Rs. 10 lakh (Rs. 1 million). The limit of 10 lacs was increased to Rs. 1 crore (Rs. 10 million) with effect from 1 June 2007 for corporate assessees

Kal Penn Joins Obama administration

Kal Penn -
For those of you who dont know him - i wonder who does not know him, He is the INDIAN version of SETH ROGAN & Jonah Hill of the Jewish clan put together in one.
About Penn, his great works are Harold Kumar series, Namesake, National lampoon van wilder recently in The HOUSE.
So what is this pot smooking, weed wacking, mostly nude dude going to do for the country
I have no idea, but it will be fun watching him on CNN giving public affair tips when AC360 carefully listens to it, It would be a good cast if LOU DOBBS interviews KAL PENN
or even more interesting Bill Oreilly and Glenn Beck to interview Kal Penn
that would be ultimate
Most interesting fact i found about KAL PENN
Kal Penn is a vegetarian, and ate soy patties instead of hamburgers during the filming of Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Suburbia Vs Metro Living

Suburbia Vs Metro Living
What are the 10 things that will call you out as a Suburb dweller vs a Metro dweller
Im a part of the American suburbs so lets try to put a list of things that marks who we are :)
  1. We never use front door to enter and exit our house, we use garage doors instead
  2. There is a coat closet next to the garage as opposed to near the main door or both
  3. When it rains we worry about grass to cut and happy about not watering the lawn, When it snows we worry about driveways to shovel
  4. We Store STUFF in our garage and park cars in our driveways,We store more STUFF in our basement
  5. We make an home theater, excercise room, wet bar in our basement which we never use
  6. We have living and dining rooms in the house which we never use
  7. We buy STUFF from member clubs in huge sizes and numbers
  8. We keep a second refrigerator in our garage to store more COLD STUFF
  9. We dream of living in cul-de-sacs, We hate HOAs yet we live in them
  10. We see our neighbours when we pick mail, put trash out or cut grass

So the METRO folks , Tell us what makes you one ?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Spring Break - NEAT EATS

Spring Break - NEAT EATS Special
Since we are on spring break ( atleast DC metro), i thought i would come up with a list of really neat places to check out and grab a bite with your kids for lunch a special evening dinner or some thing you want to try out new
Keep in mind when you come to my blog you are not going to find any thing fancy and expensive, i could suggest them, but lets stick to the theme - Find cheap good stuff and should be cool
Im sorry i wish i can write about other areas but im going to have to restrict to DC metro because thats my area --

MiddleEastern-Afghan-Kabob places
Charcoal Kabob - herndon
Lebanese Butcher - fallschurch
Ravi Kabob - Arlington
Moby dick - all over the place
Nizam - TURKISH - Vienna

Elevation Burgers - Falls Church
Five Guys - All over
Potbellys - all over
Cosi - all over
If you go down to VA Beach Area
Check out Schlotzsky's DELI -

Mexican/South American
El Pollo Rico - Arlington and Herndon
Chipotle - All over
Guajillo - Arlington

Saravana Palace - Fairfax/centreville
Angeethi - herndon
Mayuri - Reston
Masala Country - centreville
Jaipur - Fairfax

Italian Pizza
American Flatbread _ Ashburn
Vapianos - Dulles town center
Vocelli Pizza
Ofcourse PapaJohns

Chinese/Japanese/Korean ( I know each dont get along with other but im putting them together)
Sunflower - Vienna
China Star - Faircity mall - Fairfax
Panang - DC - Malaysian - ROTI CANAI awesome
Sichuan Village - DC -
Lighthouse TOFU - KOREAN BBQ SOUP place - Annandale
Malaysia Kopitam - DC - malaysian
Singapore Bistro - DC
Vit Goel ToFu - Korean BBQ - Annandale
PadThai - Fairfax
Thai /Vietnamese and other asians
Burapa Thai - Ashburn / Leesburg
Busara Thai - Reston/Tysons
Tara Thai - Tysons
Pho -- Come on too many of them to mention - Just go get a hot soup

Jamaican Chicken cafeteria in Farrugut West metro eatery/food court
Teddys Roti SHop - http://www.teddysrotishop.com/
Panam - Family restaurant - GREEK - Panam shopping center - Fairfax
Narita - SOUP - Japanese - Vienna
Oriental Regency - Tysons - CHINESE

These are some of my pics what are yours
post if you have good suggestions for restaurants

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Common Cost Savings in Costco

Costco - My life saver

For those who know my shopping habits, mentioning Costco should not be any surprise but what are some of the small secrets i buy from Costco that still beats every one else in price

  1. Movie tickets - 2 for 15$ - normal tickets in theater are 10$
  2. Free AIR fill in Car tires(Tire Center) - normally it costs 75cents in a gas station
  3. Bolthouse Carrot juice or Naked Naturals - Cheaper than any retailer
  4. 32bottles of water - 4.59 - beats every one else
  5. Home and Auto insurance - BEATS all competitors in market
  6. McCormick and Shmick - Restaurant cards 100 $ cards for 80$
  7. Starbucks gift cards - 100$ worth cards for 80$ ( even starbucks does not offer this)
  8. Postal stamps- Forever stamps 41 cents - 100 of them -small discount dont know of the top
  9. Free EAR hearing test - You get a free test to check your ears
  10. Bed and BreakFast inn gift cards - 100$ cards for 80$

and definitely the last and most important

FREE SAMPLERS on SATURDAY AND SUNDAY -- Love itttttttttttttttttttt

Go costco --- If you have any interesting FINDS in Costco than the usual toilet tissue, paper towel,milk, egg, bread etc

POST It - it has to be a NICHE product -

Friday, April 3, 2009

Right to bear arms - Lets question - Why do we need to

Right to Bear Arms
In wake of today's shootings Lets question ourselves
Why do we need to have the RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS

Coming from a country of a billion+ people where right to bearing fire arms is very restricted privilege, i was first struck in dismay the ease in which any one can buy a gun in America

Who gives this undeniable right to bear arms that cannot be taken away ?

Amendment 2 of the US constitution Right to Bear Arms.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed

I get the right the thought behind it etc
But this was ratified in 1791, we have come a long way from then where we have structured police force, army, reserves, FBI, Neighbourhood watches etc to guard and protect us.
The primary interpretation of the Amendment is disputed,
Wiki says the neutrality of the article is questionable, we cannot even agree on the meaning of the subject.
What did our most recent President do about Second amendment in the midst of VA Tech shootings

""In 2004, President Bush, through the Justice Department under Ashcroft, also issued Whether the Second Amendment Secures an Individual Right, a lengthy memorandum which traced the historical development of the Second Amendment supporting its earlier conclusion. The memo stated:
The Second Amendment secures a personal right of individuals, not a collective right that may be invoked only by a State or a quasi-collective right restricted to those persons who serve in organized militia units ""

What is Obama going to do ?

Post your comments about this irrestibale urge to bear firearms and to also harm innocent

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Tip of the Day - Sending Credit Cards to India

Tip of the Day
Credit cards to India
Many of us send a add-on card to parents who live back home in India for their convinence and usage. Nowadays most retail outlets, travel agencies, gas stations ( or should i say petrol bunks) accept Creditcards.
As a matter of practice i have been using this service for about 5+ years and have changed Card providers for various reasons including false fraud alerts that declines transactions in India often.
One major factor i consider is the Foreign Transaction fee ( or exchange rate adjustment) or whatever the bank/card provide wants to innovatively call it
Read this link below --
Visa/ Master charges 1% for servicing the foreign transaction and card providers add a heavy 2% on top and used to charge 3%
Enter WAMU - then i found WAMU that gave add on cards to be used in India for 1% fee.
Well they went belly up and Chase bought them to change policy to3% ( i used to have add on Chase cards to begin with)
Also WAMU would only add 1 additional card per account - well that was a useless rule !!!!!!

Finally after some more research found CAPITAL ONE, the super market for Cards
CAP ONE gives you Master card ( i know visa is preferred in india...) that can be used in India for ZERO percent foreign transaction fee
Yes ZERO, i dont know how they do it as it means they need to suck up the 1% charged by Mastercard.

But as you can imagine, i care less, my transactions made by FAMILY from india at 50 to 51rs a dollar with Zero percent conversion fee looks really good

Now will you save money using this TIP

Post your comments