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Why I discontinued the edX course …

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A google search for study materials on fundamentals of mechanical vibrations a few months back led me to an exotic world of free online learning.

Yes, I am talking about edX [Let me warn you, it is highly addictive].

I became a regular visitor and tasted many of the archived courses.

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There were many subjects  I have been longing to learn for long.

Great teachers. With due respect to all those who taught me in schools; a class apart…

And great instructional technics…

And the freedom to take the courses at one’s own pace and convenience…

I soon found myself addicted to www.edx.org

One course that caught my attention recently was the Introduction to Marketing course, started in January 2016.

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Why Marketing!?

You may be wondering…

What is that interesting in marketing for an automobile engineer who is almost lost among machines?

It is something like…

Hmm…

What shall I compare it to!?

The little swallow of Happy Prince may understand it better!

Yes… the little swallow!

Anyone remember the little swallow in Oscar Wilde’s Happy Prince who courted the ‘most beautiful reed’ the whole summer?

“He was flying down the river after a big yellow moth, and had been attracted by her slender waist that he had stopped to talk to her”

Wasn’t it something similar?

I followed the course diligently the next couple of weeks…

It was contagious…

Soon the twelve year old left the online magic courses and joined me in edX with an archived course in Geometry.

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The improvement he made in Geometry in three weeks! You have to see it to believe it.

A CRDI engine with a strange complaint at a distant location and a level 3 course in NVH troubleshooting kept me away from edX for a few days.

By the fourth week of January when I sat with the twelve year old again he was completing a survey at the end of the geometry course.

“How do you compare this course with the courses of Khan Academy?” a seemingly innocuous question in the survey had an option “I don’t know about Khan Academy” as answer which was duly selected by the twelve year old.

We never heard of Khan Academy before. Neither son nor father.

The twelve year old did start another edX course in Algebra the same day. But the third day he dropped out of edX.

edX lost one of their customers to Khan Academy!

Segmentation, Targeting, Positioning, Branding… By this time I had started planting terms like these in casual conversations with unsuspecting colleagues.

“So he flew round and round her, touching the water with his wings, and making silver ripples”

And the twelve year old left edX for Khan Academy which was totally unknown to him till the survey at the end of the geometry course.

Someone comes to buy a car from you. A FXXX or a TXXXXX or a XYZ…

You take him around…you explain the features…you let him drive the demo car… and when he is about to leave, he has not made a decision yet, you ask him ‘How do you compare our XXXX with the SKYACTIV Mazdas?’

‘SKYACTIV? Mazda??’ it seems the customer is unaware,  one moment please… this is just an example… but I have seen recently a Nokia 3310 owner, an aged vegetable vendor in our village ridiculing his friend’s touchscreen mobile “12000 bananas! And not even a single button!”

So what do you think? Will the customer forget the ‘SKYACTIV’ and ‘Mazda’ on his way home and come back to take one of your cars?

I don’t expect that… he may come back… in his new SKYACTIV Mazda3 or CX-3, if he could pull his heart off the charms of the MX-5… to thank you!

That question of yours was a blunder my dear!

So was the survey question from edX. “How do you compare this course with the courses of Khan Academy?”

I am not here to compare Khan Academy with edX. I am leaving it to you.

I felt disillusioned with the edX course in marketing… How can I continue after I see them making such a blunder!

“You have been trifling with me”, the little swallow cried, “I am off to the Pyramids. Goodbye!” and he flew away.

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A loss of face

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“Acha how many faces does a cylinder have?”

I did not see the trap PQM2 has laid.

I conferred the title PQM2 to the eight year old recently.

The elder one, now twelve, is PQM1.

Oh, I forgot to tell…

PQM is Perpetual Question Machine.

Hope you remember PMM1 and PMM2… and the time and paper wasted on designing one…

PQM1 is no more active.

He has found more reliable resources.

PQM2 is a little mischievous.

I had observed on many occasions that he already knew the answers of the questions he asked.

Internet, Britannica, an elder brother who has answers for all the questions that can ever be thought of…

Then why he asks me!?

I often wonder…

Usually he starts firing immediately after I finish some telephonic conversation with colleagues on technical issues.

He watches me closely.

The elder is into intergalactic travel and does not find automobiles that amusing.

Lengthy the conversations will be…

I will be taking notes, referring manuals, …

He waits patiently till it ends.

May be he just wants to to show that life is not that easy at class 3 either…

“Three… three of course!… two flat and one curved…”

“And how many edges?”

I could see streaks of a mischievous smile piercing his tightly closed lips…

“Two… what happened Sid? It is very clear… three faces and two edges”

“You get zero marks!” he is emphatic.

“See this definition” he opened his text book ” a face should be flat… so only two faces for the cylinder… and the faces do not meet… so zero edges!”

Mission accomplished…

He has proven again that it is easy to make a mistake in mathematics…

“Don’t worry acha”

He is considerate over his father’s feelings…

He opened another text book.

“See this XXXXX School text book! What you said is correct. Three faces and two edges”

“I checked in net… XXX says three faces and two edges… YYY says two faces and zero edges”

XXX and YYY are two educational sites his big brother is frequenting.

“Acha… Alex got a baby sister… Alex says it is a Christian baby… Last week Yasir got a baby sister too… it was a Muslim baby… Acha…. what was I when I was born?”

“I see! But, Acha how did you find that I was a Hindu baby?”

A few weeks back I had overheard his brother enlightening him  on how to distinguish a baby boy from a baby girl.

Is he expecting some parallels here?!

Sid is always like this.

He jumps from one question to another.

I pretended I didn’t hear the question.

An answer will be taking us all the way to Adam and Eve.

“Acha which one will be faster… an yellow… nonono… a yellow… a … a yellow Camaro or a green Camaro?”

Sid is always like this.

He jumps from one question to another.

MazTech Middle East & Africa 2015

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It is hard to reach the top…

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How is it to remain there…

IMG-20150902-WA0022 (2)

Ask Team Galadari who retained the Top Spot at the recently concluded MazTech ME & AF

Capture

Spring Sprang Sprung

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‘Acha, whats inertia?’

It is Vinayak.

Schools are closed.

Vinayak and Sidharth are ‘home alone’.

I was in a training. I had told them not to call me unless it was very urgent.

He knows we break for lunch at one.

Why inertia!?

“Vinayak, inertia means… umm… imagine a body in motion…”

May be too much for an eleven year old…

“You remember how you lost your tooth last vacation?”

“Yeah… we were in that low floor bus… the lorry in front stopped and our driver… but that tooth was just waiting to fall…”

“Our driver applied brake and you moved forward…”

“I know, I know,… a moving body will continue its motion until a force acts on it to stop it… bus was moving, I was also moving, bus braked, no brake on me, so bus stopped and I moved forward,… I agree… but what is inertia of a beyblade?”

“Beyblade!”… so that is it! A long-drawn-out war was going on between Vinayak and Sidharth since 20 March.

It was Sidharth’s birthday.

He got a Beyblade stadium as gift from me.

As usual, he demanded an Yellow Chevrolet [This time he was more specific, CHEVROLET CAMARO!] at first.

Then, as in the past, considering the long wait to turn 18 to get a driving license, he is just 8, he settled on Beyblade stadium.

Of course, he took a beyblade as well, with a launcher.

“How can he play with a single beyblade?”

True… you need two…

My purse sheds weight again.

Another beyblade with launcher for Vinayak also…

The beyblade is a complex thing…

There are many things to consider when buying one!

Attack, defence, agility, stamina, power, stability… selecting a fighter plane is easier!

Vinayak took one that matched Sidharth’s in every department.

But Sidharth’s ‘cosmic warrior’ kept on beating Vinayak’s ‘thunderbolt’.

It was 137 – 0 yesterday evening.

Internet search made him wiser… there was one more parameter… inertia!

Cosmic warrior is 3.7% up in inertia.

“But, acha the bus was moving! This is just spinning!”

Hmm… Rotary motion is not in Class 6 Science?

Difficult to convince him that spinning is also a form of motion, and inertia is applicable to spinning bodies also.

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Tool setA few weeks ago I had bought Vinayak a screwdriver set.

There was a bit that matched the screws on the beyblade launcher.

I never thought he will be trying the screwdriver on the launcher.

He removed the screws and pulled the launcher apart.

Something flew off.

It was his first encounter with springs.

LauncherHe has been trying to fix it back for the last three hours… Sidharth told.

There were youtube videos on beyblade launcher assembly… but the spring   kept on flying away each time he put the pawl into position.

“Why?… Why did you open it?”

“To change the rotation… to reverse rotate”

“Change the rotation?!”

“Now both are rotating in same direction… I wanted to make mine opposite”

“What is wrong with its rotation?!”20150327_230623

“It is losing stamina when hitting Sid’s…’

“So?!”

“Opposite rotation, I will get stamina from Sid’s when we hit”

“Why did you open the launcher!?”

“I thought there was something inside that will change the rotation”

“You found something?!”

“Nothing… only one wheel with teeth, one stick and one that…”

“Spring!”

“Yes… spring”

It was the meanest spring I ever met.

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Sidharth googled SPRING and was directed to some online grammar courses.

He found SPRING SPRANG SPRUNG so funny and kept on chanting it till he fell asleep.

MazTech Reward Ceremony 2014

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MazTech

Happy

They did not try to win…

They just tried to be perfect…

Safe Journey to Team Galadari

Victims

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Two pictures… and a small poem
Not original
Pictures from news papers
Poem from memory, with a little support from internet…
I don’t remember where I saw it the first time.

Changed world

In a friction circle

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“Aha… you are here!”

I was meeting Hassan after a long time.

I remember very clearly, it was the day before the National day, six years ago, we met the last time.

We had parted not on very friendly terms that afternoon.

I did not know that he came in after a near fist fight with the body shop manager over a body repair in one of his sports cars that day.

Hassan, when I first met him, was, a flourishing hotelier, crazy about cars, and a die-hard fan of Mitsubishi Evo.

He reminded me of the illustrations of Emperors in school history text books.

“Yes boss” he was beaming with pride… “if you climb that ladder like DNA of mine, you can reach those great warriors you see in history text books…”

“I didn’t know that you were here!”

“Come with me…my car… ohohoh… you still remembering that!… that was just a joke man!… I couldn’t say sorry … the next day I left for Malaysia… almost one month… they said you left… how many years now dear!?”

He gave me a scare of a lifetime that day.

He took me in his Evo and straight went to the royal automotive club race track…

He wanted to show me some noise at high speeds…

I like speed… But 200 plus!

On the third lap I told something which offended him…

“I have a doubt engineer… lucky you are here… to be honest I never found someone as helpful as you are… come on… I want to show you something”

“When did you join Mazda?”

“I divorced my Evo…Miata is my queen now… I don’t like to call her MX5… Miata…  I don’t like the Xs… Miata my sweetie!”

“My son is crazy… cars! cars! and only cars!… yeah… you are right… like father like son…”

“He is pestering me with this…”

A quick juggling with the throttle, steering and hand brake… and the vehicle slid ninety degree into the parking lot of the fish market…

“What exactly happens now… that’s his doubt… I know you can help me… do tell me engineer… you studied automobile engineering…didn’t you?”

It was not the first time… Hassan derives some secret pleasure in cornering people like this…

“Hassan…it is Physics…may be a little difficult to understand…I can explain… but…”

“There is something which you don’t know dear… I was at Melbourne when I had to pack my bags to Swiss Alps… I was studying Physics there… One more year was all that I needed when the old man decided to put all these hotels on my shoulder… Rashid said no… so he is teaching architecture at YXXX… a happy man… I was afraid to say no… old man was very dangerous… I can understand a little Physics…”

“Let me try Hassan… the last time I explained this to undergraduates was fifteen years ago…”                                                                 Friction Circle rev.

He stared at the friction circle for a few seconds, then at me.

“Hassan, let us start like this…you are going straight towards art gallery…you are near pepsi now… you want to go to the fishing harbor… what you do now?… forget the hand brake!… you turn the steering a little to right… isn’t it?…the front wheels are at an angle now…not straight…they roll at an angle…the vehicle follows the direction in which the front wheels are rolling… right? … the vehicle follows the tire… right?”

“Engineer, what is so special in this? You want to take a turn… you turn steering wheel… it is natural… you turn the steering wheel, the front wheel makes an angle, and the vehicle follows the tire…“

“Hassan, one moment… a little imagination, the tarmac has turned into ice…I am sure you had been on ice… will it be the same?”

“You are putting me on ice!…thin ice?…just kidding bro…ice!… ice at pepsi round about! I will soon be picking shells along with my queen …”

“Why?!… friction, man!…friction!… between tire and road… there is no friction on ice…”

“You are right…frictional force between road and the tire in lateral direction during cornering… there are other forces also, acting on the tire road interface…during acceleration and braking… the vehicle has inertia…it will try to move straight… but you steer…the tire is at an angle …vehicle will follow the tires if this force of friction between road and tire balances the force of inertia of the vehicle”

“Otherwise skidding…I remember engineer… yawing…rolling…pitching…I remember everything! The maximum friction force that the tire can withstand at any point is the red circle, limit of tire grip…isn’t it?”

“Exactly”

“So when I turned the steering a little, the vehicle started to move in a circle… the frictional forces on the tires were keeping the vehicle on course…and when I applied the hand brake, the braking force on the rear wheel increased…so the lateral forces that could be sustained by the tire came down… clockwise yaw!…the same will happen if I suddenly accelerate during cornering… but the yaw will be… will it be the same? … it depends… front wheel drive or rear wheel drive…isn’t it? now I remember everything! I forgot his name… he once said physics does not need an automobile mechanic and an automobile mechanic does not need physics, but a race driver needs both… I forgot his name”

“Hassan… physics and automobile mechanic?!… I think it was science and philosophy… I too don’t remember the guy who told that”

“Engineer, it is science and mysticism… that was in Tao of Physics… Fritjof Capra… I was just testing your general knowledge… read some good books… there is a world outside these automobiles…  I will get you some books of Omar Khayyam… science does not need mysticism and mysticism does not need science, but man needs both… Tao of Physics… some say it is all nonsense… but I enjoyed it when I was young… by the way, that teacher wife of yours… is she still with you?”

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