Thursday, 30 September 2010

Lessons from the PhD experience

Three of the greatest lessons I learnt from the PhD experience (these past four years in general):
  1. put in the effort without going overkill and allow things to ripen by God's permission in their own due time;
  2. if things are not working out, don't get stressed, get up instead and go for a walk;
  3. things always work out better than planned so enjoy the ride.

North Downs

Headed down to the North Downs for a day walk last Saturday. We walked from Ockley Railway Station to Leigh Hill (Tower) to an empty Holmwood Railway Station (we missed the last train) followed by a bus (the last bus) to Dorking. We left home at 7am, got back at 10pm and walked mainly 9:30am-1pm (Ockley railway station to the tower) and then 4pm-7pm (the tower to Holmwood railway station). The first of many day walks around London insha-Allah. Click the following link for a picture compilation:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mepdhRYWA5A

Not all good though... I went/walked despite a bad swelling on both shins (caused by muay thai sparring last Thursday) and I think I aggravated the injury quite bad. Felt pains the last two nights that I can say for the first time in my life were quite unbearable. Had to take painkillers! Still, the trip was worth it. Was an awesome day :)>

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Not everyone who is sure, knows!

Note to self: Not everyone who speaks with certainty knows what they are talking about. People will be people.

The greater difficulty I guess is in discerning those who know they do not know from those who don't know that they don't know... and reacting accordingly.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

M&S billboard advertisement complaint

After being directed by my local council to submit my complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority, just did so, as follows:
I find the billboard advertisement (a woman scantily clothed standing with open arms and the caption "Ooh! la la") quite inappropriate for the place it has been placed and would sincerely hope that some due consideration would be undertaken in future. The road is used frequently by school children (there is a school just up the road) as well as it generally being a family area and there being a place of worship (a mosque) just immediately around the corner.
The advert has been up on the billboard at the bottom of my road for a couple of weeks now and makes for quite an unpleasant walk to the Masjid!

Monday, 20 September 2010

Lawrence (Guerilla) of Arabia

Was browsing the Independent website this morning and came across this article entitled 'Guerilla of Arabia: How one of Britain's most brilliant military tacticians created the Taliban's battle strategy' by Neil Faulkner - interesting general comments about insurgency linked up with some nice comparisons of the present-day US-Taliban situation. The article closes with "military mastermind" Lawrence of Arabia's 15 principles of modern guerrilla warfare...
  1. Strive above all to win hearts and minds;
  2. Establish an unassailable base;
  3. Remain strategically dispersed;
  4. Make maximum use of mobility;
  5. Operate mainly in small, local groups;
  6. Remain largely detached from the enemy;
  7. Do not attempt to hold ground;
  8. Operate in depth rather than en face (i.e. not in lines);
  9. Aim for perfect intelligence about the enemy;
  10. Concentrate only for momentary tactical superiority;
  11. Strike only when the enemy can be taken by surprise;
  12. Never engage in sustained combat;
  13. Always have lines of retreat open;
  14. Make war on matériel rather than on men;
  15. Make a virtue of the individuality, irregularity, and unpredictability of guerrillas.
... Funnily enough, never seen the movie ('Lawrence of Arabia'), though rated one of the best of all time! Added to my 'to get/watch' list.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Mike Lynch, Autonomy

Short (7 mins) inspiring interview with Mike Lynch about his founding of the software company Autonomy (now one of the largest technology firms in the UK):
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10322676

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Inappropriate billboard advert complaint

Letter sent to MP...
Dear John Cryer,

I wanted to make a complaint about a billboard advertisement at the bottom of my road which features material (a woman scantily clothed with the caption "Ooh la! la!") quite inappropriate I feel for the place it has been placed. I tried looking it up but I am not sure who I should direct my complaint to. Not sure if you know? Would it be the Advertising Standards Authority or someone in the council perhaps?

I apologise if this is not the kind of thing I should be contacting you for.

Yours sincerely,
Adil Hussain
... Awaiting his reply.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Interviews

Good couple of videos on silicon.com entitled 'Interview dos and donts' and 'How to shine in interviews'. Some of the key points to think about when watching again: Energy, Passion, Commitment, Enthusiasm, Positive perspective, Don't be negative, Make eye contact, Smiles, Ask intelligent questions, Don't try to look clever, Show interest in the culture of the organisation, Find out more information about the company, Demonstrate your interests, Prepare your questions, and lots more besides!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Jews and Islam: People of the book

Letter sent to The Economist...
Dear Editor,

I was reading the article entitled 'Jews and Islam: People of the book' in the August 14th issue (Books and Arts section) and couldn't quite understand (at the end of the first paragraph) the use of double quotes around the word "protected" as well as the use of the adjective "heavy" to describe the tax paid by non-Muslims. I would be curious to know how much this tax was exactly. Perhaps the author(s) could provide some sort of figure? Also, excuse my ignorance but I thought this tax was as a replacement for the 'zakah' that Muslims pay and which non-Muslims needn't pay and also as an exemption for non-Muslims' not participating in the army. Please correct me if I am mistaken. This is a genuine question by the way and I hope I don't come across sarcastic.

Regards,
Adil Hussain (07954 402 672)
... The slyness of their comments really ticks me off sometimes!