## Monday 9 November 2020

### How to track proceedings (arguments/orders etc) in Indian Courts in Real time (Live) in Twitter

Go to Google Play, search for Twitter App, install it and open it

Once you have logged in to Twitter, you will see All Tweets with the latest appearing at the top. To refresh the tweets, swipe downwards on the Smart Phone screen.

For Tweets of proceedings in Indian Courts:

Press the search button (Magnifying glass) at the bottom of the app (see picture below)

In the screen box, search for "Live Law" .In the search results, press on the Live Law site. (see markings in picture below.)

Tweets from Live Law will be displayed. (If you are seeing promotional material from their website instead of the Tweets screen below, please press the LiveLaw icon (in a small circle)).

As earlier you will have to swipe down to see the tweets.

You may see various courts tweets mixed up and can focus on the tweets of your interest by checking the hastags of the tweet eg. #PrashantBhushan.

## Friday 5 May 2017

### Conditional Minimum, Maximum, Average, Maximum below Average etc using Excel

In G2 to G17 and H2 to H17 of an Excel sheet the data as shown in the picture below is recorded. Column G contains the category of vehicles sold over several months. Column H contains the corresponding count (quantity) of the category sold. (Although the data is sorted below for visual examination, it need not be sorted for the purpose of the task.). In reality the data could cover several unsorted categories (not just two as below ) spread over several months/showrooms .

1.  to find out minimum and maximum quantity of categories (cars ,scooters) using the entire data set.
2.  to find the average of the categories
3. to find the minimum quantity of cars above the average of cars (the quantity next to the average above the average)
4. to find the maximum quantity of cars below the average of cars (the quantity next to the average below the average)

Please input the data as above in the cells in Columns G and H . Then, input the formulas as shown below in Column L (The formulas to be input are displayed in adjacent cells in Column M in the picture below.) After entering the formulas, press Ctrl + Shift + Enter if the formula type is Array (see Column J). If formula type is Regular, just press Enter. (If you did not press Ctrl + Shift + Enter while entering, press F2 in the cell and  then press the Ctrl+Shift +Enter; there is no need to type the Formulas again.) If you are going to type the formulas below, instead of selecting the range of cells, please note to name the Sheet as "Sheet1"

The learning here is that Excel has ready formulas for conditional Averages (arithmetic mean) . But for more complex computation, we have to depend on Array Formulas using a combination of existing formulas.

Note: If the Array formula is entered correctly using Ctrl + Shift + Enter together, the formula will be enclosed in braces ({}) as shown in the picture below (formula shown is in L2) . The braces are not to be manually input.  If not with braces, the result displayed may be incorrect.

## Friday 28 April 2017

### Fish Rain in Thailand and Einstein on Stupidity

Earlier today I read a WhatsApp post containing photos of Fish raining on Thailand  roads. (I later discovered that this was a 2017 regurgitation of the original 2015 post.)

The "fish on roads" photos had provoked thoughts of "evolution,  miracle, warnings from God etc" in the mind of the person who had posted it in WhatsApp.

Pursuing my hunch that this was a cheap hoax, I searched the Internet and came across this link which explains the context of the Fish Rain hoax:

The article above further provoked me to wonder about human stupidity. I recalled this pearl of an observation by Einstein quoted by Fritz Perls, a great Gestalt Psychologist, whose books I read in my early twenties.

"Two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I am not yet completely sure about the universe." - Einstein as quoted by Fritz Perls

Just like Adam Smith's famous "invisible hand" that maximises overall human welfare,counter-intuitvely using selfish human behavior, the Internet has spawned its own "invisible universal brain" that takes no chances with human stupidity and ensures its infiniteness by constantly circulating such hoaxes.

In case you are getting the feeling that I am early vaccinated case, let me reassure you that no vaccine has yet been discovered against human stupidity. (While others use Whatsapp, I have my own playfields.) Also, given that Mankind has more urgent, pressing priorities, it is unlikely that any attempts will be made to discover such vaccine till eternity. In addition, we hold the late Mr. Einstein in such high regard that we will do everything humanly possible to ensure that he is not proved wrong.

The late Amos Tversky, who would have won the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics with Daniel Kahnemann, his long time collaborator, but for his untimely death in 1996, was once asked about Artificial Intelligence. He replied, "We study Natural Stupidity". Studying stupidity can be a gainful occupation.

## Wednesday 29 March 2017

### Nothing Suceeds Like Success - Guarding against Survivorship Bias

Nothing Suceeds Like Success - Guarding against Survivorship Bias

After winning a toughly poised cricket match, a news reporter asks one of the players about the defining moment that made a difference between winning and losing. The player responds: "It was a tense time and our morale was down. Royal Challengers had everything in their favour. Nothing could be easier for them than scoring 25 runs in 20 balls with 4 wickets on hand. Our team went into a huddle and the captain exhorted us, 'Let's make it, boys. Let's do it. '. And we got charged with energy, bowled, fielded tight and won the match."

On reading the story, many team leaders in areas as diverse as cricket and business are tempted to replicate the success story by getting into similar huddle meetings at moments of crisis.  (In fact, most positive thinking and motivational literature is replete with such prescriptions.) But, in most cases, such remedies do not work. Why?

Conclusions (as in case of effectiveness of cricket team huddles above) based on incomplete stories (data) can be erroneous. Had the news reporter asked the player, "Was this the first occasion that the captain gave such a pep talk?", the answer would likely have been, "No. He has done so in the past also. But on the previous occasions some other factors caused our defeat."

So, leaders who arrive at conclusions based on incomplete data and conclude that pep talk is "the" factor responsible for success, should be aware that pep talk is one of the factors and that there are other factors, including random ones, that make a difference.

So, What is Survivorship bias?

Survivorship bias is a faulty thought process  "that occurs when someone tries to make a decision based on past successes, while ignoring past failures." (Source RationalWiki). Being aware of the Survivor bias helps us keep it in mind while making decisions.

A famous example of Survivorship bias illustrates how millions of dollars were saved in the US during World War II by not making what could have turned out into a foolish  and expensive decision. The wrong decision could have changed the course of the war.

During World War II, a military Think Tank, consisting of the some of the finest strategic thinkers in the US was tasked to suggest measures to make planes stronger so that they could survive attacks when they flew inside enemy territory on bombing missions.

The Think Tank studied planes that had flown deep into enemy territory and had successfully returned to find patterns and identify attributes that made these planes "successful". They discovered that some areas in the plane bodies had plenty of shots and other had none. So, the obvious answer was to strengthen the areas having shot marks.

The rest of the Think tank agreed with this solution except for one of its members, Abraham Wald. Abraham Wald, a mathematician from Hungary, had fled to US during World War II.  He reasoned that the planes they had studied were ones that had got shot and survived. He therefore deduced that the areas that needed strengthening were not the areas with plenty of shots, because they were proven to be strong by the very fact that the planes had survived. The areas to be strengthened were the areas where the surviving planes did not have shot marks. The planes had survived because the enemy had missed shooting those areas. Hence, the areas without shots were the ones that needed strengthening. (Source : David McRaney article on Survivorship Bias)

The majority thinking in the above story is an example of Survivorship bias. And is one of the causes of wrong decisions. As one can well imagine, implementing the "obvious" solution would have meant spending millions of dollars on strengthening areas which needed no strengthening. And also, being none the wiser as planes would have continued to be shot down because the vulnerable areas continued to remain vulnerable.

Michael Shermer on Survivorship Bias in The Scientific American :  This post has a reference to Gary Smith's book "Standard Deviations" which says that 20 of the 35 publicly traded companies listed in the "In Search of Excellence" have done worse than the market average. Also, a Venture Capitalist's views on the subject.

Meera Lee's article on Survivorship Bias : The gambler example, a detailed discussion of Abraham Wald story as well as a reference to the "College dropout" as a wrong defining characteristic of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs success.

Karen E Klein's article in Bloomberg : Here she talks about Bill Gate's favorite Business book by John Brooks, "Business Adventures" about which Gates said: "Brooks didn’t boil his work down into pat how-to lessons or simplistic explanations for success,"

### A WEB PAGE IN MEMORY OF SRI. R.K. TALWAR

A WEB PAGE IN MEMORY OF SRI. R.K. TALWAR
Former Chairman, State Bank of India

## Thursday 10 May 2012

### Type in English and create Hindi/Kannada/Marathi Documents in Word

Here's an easy way to type in English and create documents in Hindi/Kannada/Marathi (transliteration) in MS-Word.  An advantage of this method is no font installation or additional software (other than Word and Google) are required. The receiver too can read it in Word without need for any additional fonts installation at his end.

(Government Departments insist on  correspondence in the official language of the State.Public Notices are displayed in Offices/Hospitals etc in multiple languages for public convenience or on account of the Official Languages Policy. For such requirements too this howto will be useful.)

2. In the language selection box (see red rectangle above), select the language (e.g. Hindi). Some other languages available are : Kannada, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Gujarati, Bengali etc.

3.  For example, to get
in Hindi, you need to type Mujhe Bangalore jaana hai
in the space below the language selection box in the Google Transliteration website.

4.  Type mujhe and press the space key. On pressing the space key, mujhe is tranliterated into Hindi. Type all the four words and you get something like this:

(Notice that Bangalore (in Hindi) has not been typed correctly.)

5. To rectify the spelling, click in the middle of the second word and you get spelling variations (see below):
Click on the correct spelling variation needed (4th word in the displayed list) and the original word is replaced.
(Note: Try variations in English to get the other language word right (E.g Bangalore, Bengalore etc)
6. The above text is just an example. You can type several sentences and paragraphs. You can also transliterate into two languages simultaneously by selecting a different languages before typing:

6. Next open a blank Word document.  Select all the text in the Google transliteration website, then right-click and click on Copy.  Click in the Word document, right-click and click on Paste.  The pasted text may look like this:

7. In the Word Document, press Ctrl + a (to select all text). Then, in the Home Tab, select the Arial Unicode MS font (see below).

7. The text should now be correctly displayed as shown below. Save the document for printing or sharing.

## Tuesday 8 May 2012

### Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and Blackberry Balance

Employees nowadays bring their own Mobile devices to the office and use them to access company resources like email, files and programs. This trend is called "Bring Your Own Device".  In such cases, the company saves the money that would have been spent on providing mobile devices to the employees, while the employees get to use their preferred mobile technology.

What appears to be a win-win situation is not so for the following reasons:
Companies struggle to manage and secure business information residing in/accessible through the phones.

To address these concerns, Blackberry has recently introduced Blackberry Balance ("work-life balance") technology.

Using this technology, IT Departments can set business rules to prevent copying of business information. Business data will not be share-able in personal apps and any attempt at violation will be detected and the employee notified. When the employee leaves the company, the IT Department will be able to remotely wipe all business information in the phone. Similar action can be taken when the phone is lost.

The announcement on the Blackberry website:

BlackBerry® Balance™ technology enables BlackBerry smartphones and tablets to be used for business and personal purposes without compromise.

Boost job satisfaction by supporting employee-owned smartphones
Offer greater BlackBerry smartphone choice flexibility to your workforce while retaining full control over business data security
Allow use of personal apps while restricting copy-and-paste functionality to prevent business information from being shared

## Saturday 5 May 2012

### Filling up blank cells in Excel

Compare the two screenshots below:

Sales data ( as shown in the picture at the Left) is entered in an Excel sheet.  The problem with this type of data entry is that Excel functions like SUMIF or COUNTIF will not work correctly. SUMIF, SUMIFs, etc are useful for finding the sales of a particular Salesman, say Govind, from the entire list of data.  For that we need data like the one at the right. So how do we quickly/automatically fill up the blanks?

Steps:
Fill up a sheet with the incomplete data as shown above.
( "+" in the steps below indicates "and")
1. Click any cell with data in it. Example, B5 with "Govind"
2. Press Ctrl + * keys to select the block of data. (If you are pressing the * (asterisk) key in the QWERTY part of the keyboard, then press Ctrl + Shift + *), This will select the entire block of data.
3. Press Ctrl + g (g can be capital or small).  Go To box will appear.
4. Click on the "Special " button
5. Next, click on radio (option) button: "Blanks"
6. Click on Ok.
7. Press the = key
8. Press the ↑ (up arrow) key
9. Press the Ctrl + Enter keys.
The blank cells will be filled with the value in the cell above.
10. Select the entire block again.(See step 2 above.)
11. Press Ctrl + C to copy
12. Click on Paste Values (in the Home Tab-->Clipboard Group) - see graphic below

(Note: "Paste Values" is done because the blank cells are filled up using formulas and unless the formulas are replaced with values they can mess things up when the data is sorted, etc.).

Note:
If the dates in Column A are not displayed correctly and are displayed as numbers: Click cell A2 which has the correctly formatted date. Next click on the Format Painter  (in the Home Tab-->Clipboard Group)(see graphic below). A paint brush symbol will be attached to the mouse.
Drag the mouse over the cells with dates in Column A to apply the correct format.

## Friday 18 November 2011

### Excel How to find difference between two dates (in years/months/days)

How many ( complete ) years are there between 15-Oct-1983 to 19-Jan-2010?

In Excel:
In cell A2 input 15-Oct-1983 or 15/Oct/1983
In cell B2 input 19-Jan-2010 or 19/Jan/2010
In cell C2 type the formula =DATEDIF(A2,B2,"y")

Notes:
The "y" in the formula can be in upper or lower case. It SHOULD be in DOUBLE quotes.
The function DATEDIF can be entered in lower case of upper case but should be spelt correctly.

Hint for months and days:
To get difference in completed months, replace "y" with "m" in the formula
To get difference in completed days, replace "y" with "d" in the formula

Note 1: If we use DATEDIF to calculate the number of days between 15-Mar-11 and 18-Mar-11 using "d" as the third argument in the formula, the answer will be 3 (i.e. it will exclude the end day). If we intend to include the end day in the calculation, then we should use the formula =DATEDIF(A2,B2,"d") + 1

Note 2: From Excel 2007 onward, the DATEDIF function is built into Excel. For Excel 2003 and earlier, go to Tools-->Add Ins--> Analysis Tool Pack --> OK to enable the function.

## Wednesday 28 September 2011

### Current date and time : Excel keyboard shortcuts

(Note: "Ctrl + ;" should be read as "Ctrl" key and ";" key pressed together

Press Ctrl + ; (semi-colon) to input the current date in a cell. The input date will be the current system date and will not change.
Press Ctrl + Shift + ; (semi-colon) to input the current time in a cell. The input time will be the current system time and will not change.
(To input both Current date and time in a cell: - Ctrl + ; (then input a space using the keyboard space bar) followed by Ctrl +Shift +;

Depending on the requirements, you can also use functions as below:
Current date (dynamically changing):
In a cell input =Today() and press Enter.  This will input the current date in the cell. As the date is based on the function TODAY, unlike the keyboard shortcut above, this date will change when the system date changes, for instance, when you open the Excel file again on another day later.
Current time (dynamically changing) :
In a cell input =Now() and press Enter. This will input the current time (along with the current date) in the cell. As the time is based on the function NOW, unlike the keyboard shortcut above, this time will change when the system time changes, for instance, a few minutes later.

Hint: Use TODAY and NOW in Excel Sheets which are used for printing reports. They will automatically update and show the current date / time