Book Review: David and Goliath

Author: Malcolm Gladwell

Rating: ★★★☆☆

I did not enjoy David and Goliath as much as Malcolm’s previous books. The gist of the book is many time we think about something as a negative/disadvantage but actually it is not. Underdogs succeed because they have advantages which we fail to see.  Examples in the book were covering varied topics and sometimes did not feel like had a good theme/rhythm. If you like Malcolm’s other books you will enjoy this one too but it is not as good as Outliers or Tipping Point. Smile

Bertha’s nemesis: 119-foot steel pipe

Finally we figured out what was blocking Bertha. SmileSmile 

Highway 99 contractors revealed Friday what’s been blocking Bertha, the giant tunnel machine: The obstruction is steel pipe, left buried by a state groundwater study in 2002.

By Mike Lindblom

Seattle Times transportation reporter

A fragment of steel pipe pokes between spokes of Bertha's cutting face, in this photo from Thursday's inspection. It's part of a 119-foot deep well, left in the soil after a 2002 groundwater test. <br/>

A fragment of steel pipe pokes between spokes of Bertha’s cutting face, in this photo from Thursday’s inspection. It’s part of a 119-foot deep well, left in the soil after a 2002 groundwater test.

Chris Dixon, Seattle Tunnel Partners project manager, left, and Matt Preedy, deputy Highway 99 administrator for the state Department of Transportation, explain what is blocking Bertha.


State officials revealed Friday that the mystery object blocking tunnel machine Bertha is a long steel pipe, left buried in 2002 by one of the Highway 99 project’s own research crews.

The tunnel drill has been stranded for a month near Pioneer Square, with no clear strategy yet to extract the pipe.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) could not estimate how much time and money it will take to get the world’s largest drill moving again.

Bertha’s cutting teeth struck the pipe Dec. 3, yet the DOT and its contractors avoided mentioning the steel as a possible culprit for four weeks, despite an incident in which the machine knocked a 55-foot pipe fragment to the surface.

What the ongoing delay means for taxpayers is unclear, but it’s certainly not good.

The costs will be determined later through negotiations between the state and Seattle Tunnel Partners (STP), maybe even a legal dispute.

The $2 billion tunnel budget includes a $40 million risk allowance for repairs and inspections near the front of the rotary cutting face — plus a $105 million general contingency fund to deal with crises. Matt Preedy, deputy Highway 99 administrator for the state Department of Transportation, said some of that money will be consumed.

The culprit is an 8-inch diameter, 119-foot-long well casing, used to measure groundwater for the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement project, officials said. Back then, a shallow cut-and-cover tunnel was a leading option.

Bertha’s nemesis: 119-foot steel pipe | Local News | The Seattle Times

2014: New Year Resolutions

2013 was amazing year especially one of the most satisfying year from career perspective. Shipping Xbox One was one of the most exciting thing I have done in my life. There was surely side effect of shipping, Smile gained lot of pounds. So now there are 3 things to do…

  1. Get weight under 190 – Diet, exercise(12K steps a day, 3 days in gym, 6+ half/full marathons)
  2. Spend more time with family – At least 3 vacations and more activities together.
  3. Read More – Time to start reading again (book a quarter, more technical stuff with regular blogs posts)

Most importantly keep debt to $0 and save more.

The Next Bubble? Travel Loyalty Programs | LinkedIn

I have seen benefits go down over years and benefit levels being added at top end. Smile This article was great read. Now I should stop flying with my preferred airline and just buy cheapest tickets. Will still collect the miles because I think they are free. Smile

Did anyone pay attention when Robert Shiller warned about the real estate bubble or Nouriel Roubini sounded the alarm bells about the impending global economic crisis? Probably not as much as they should have. So feel free to ignore this one, too: travel loyalty programs — and particularly airline programs — are a bubble. And it may be about to pop.

All the signs are there. Delta Air Lines’ recent, precipitous devaluation of its loyalty program is just the latest. Your hard-earned frequent flier miles now die with you, and can’t be inherited by your next of kin. (Yes, Delta can do that.) This follows a wholesale downgrade of its SkyMiles program. Several hotel chains, including Marriott and Hilton, have also decimated their programs in the last few weeks.

The Next Bubble? Travel Loyalty Programs | LinkedIn

Mercer Island Half Marathon

This year started with return from India. In India, just eat a lot, met with family and friends and did not do much running. Smile That means the start of year was bad. Could hardly run, legs started paining in first 30-40 minutes of run…

On March 24th finished my first half marathon of the year. It was a local event on Mercer Island. Was a great way to kickoff the event running for the year, I did my PR at the event. Smile 

Also another great thing was we ran the event as a family. Abhi & Arni did there first 1mile run, Swati did her 5k and I did Half marathon.


Official Results are here

2013 Resolutions

People who know me, also know that 7 is my luck number and I do everything on 7th, whether changing a job or making resolutions. This year I am planning to break that tradition. I am going to have just 2 goals which will transform into multiple activities.

1. Get Fit(Weight under 190 lbs):  Have gained a few pounds in past few months hence have to refocus on health. How do I do this?

    • Run at least 4 marathon/half marathons
    • Exercise at least 4 days in a week.
    • Set goal of 10k steps a day
    • Eat healthy

2. Launch an app in market: Have been thinking of building some apps for a while. This was one of the goals in 2012 but time flew by and nothing happened. 2013 will be the year to focus and deliver on this goal. Not sure what app or what I will do but have to do something. Smile Need to go attend startup weekend I think. Smile Need to find and spend more time on writing code for sure.

Additionally I have to spend more time with family, continue doing great at work and read more but that is a given. Smile

Reflection on 2012

2012 was an amazing year for me. 2012 was the year I got to best health in my life.  Additionally

  1. Fitness: I became a Triathlete by completing Lavaman in Hawaii and a Marathoner by finishing Chicago Marathon
  2. Work: I had changed roles end of 2011 and shipped entertainment service for Xbox 360, Windows 8 and Windows Phone in 2012
  3. Charity: Raised roughly 10k for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to find cure for blood cancers.

Fitness: 2012 started with practicing for Lavaman. It was hectic few months of training for swim, bike and run. Run was easy, bike was fun and swim was scary. Smile I freaked out just before the event but was able to still finish. Next I trained for Chicago marathon which as amazing experience.

Work: I changed jobs and joined Xbox end of 2011. Had tons of fun and enjoyed every day of 2012 working in Xbox team. It was an amazing experience to ship entertainment (Video and Music) services that power all Windows and Xbox devices. Next time you switch on your Xbox or Windows device and see popular stuff that is all developed by our team.

Status Report: (2012 Resolution List)

  1. Maintain weight under 185lbs: I achieved 185 but gained some now. Time to get back to 185 in 2013.
  2. Participate in 12 events: Lavaman, Chicago Marathon, Seattle RnR(Half), Seattle Marathon(Half), Resolution Run, Mercer Island 10k, Bellevue 10k, Kirkland 5k, Microsoft Campus Jam
  3. Get financial health in order and reduce recurring credit card debt to $0.
  4. Read everyday for 15-30minutes before sleeping
  5. Participate in 1 outdoor activity(walk, run etc.) with Swati every week.
  6. Volunteer time(at least 25hrs) for a charitable cause
  7. Start a business(maybe small or tiny or something… Smile)… Start something…

Red are no traction.