Sunday 28 March 2004

Giving good phone.

How to get a Bluetooth hickey. (And before you ask, no, we haven't been visiting the UK lately, and in any case our phone is a battered old Nokia. We found this via this Wired News article. And for those interested there's also dogging, which you can read about here.)
The 2004 Wired Rave Awards pays tribute to "the mavericks, the dreamers, the innovators. The 20 people paving the way to tomorrow and inspiring us to follow in their footsteps. We admire their smarts. We salute their achievements. And we can't wait to see what they'll do next." And the winners are: Peter Jackson, Steve Jobs, Rebecca Solnit, David Byrne, Jeff Bezos, Joe Trippi & Scott Heiferman, Antenna Design, The Flaming Lips, Zaha Hadid, Bram Cohen, Richard Marks, Mike Lazzo, Joseph DeRisi, and the Public Library of Science.
For those of you who fondly remember the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy text-based game, there's now a new way to play it, via AOL Instant Messenger. (From a
Wired Story.)
P.S. A bunch of the other text-based games available as a free download here. Yes, Berts, Leather Goddesses of Phobos too.
Spam is passe (yeah right, tell that to my inbox). Spim is what you have to watch out for now.
The WorldInterWideNetWeb is no longer just about teenage geeks; more and more senior citizens are online these days. [*].
So, if you have an older relative or friend just getting wired, you might want to point the way to this useful feature on NYT. (Er, you'll have to sign 'em up for a free subscription too.)
"Everyone who has ever taken a shower has had an idea. It's the person who gets out of the shower, dries off, and does something about it that makes a difference." ~ Nolan Bushnell (Found at Conversations with Dina.)
Our buddy Nilanjana S Roy heralds The return of the short story, and also files the first book review we've read in ages that's made us want to go out and buy the book. (The review is of Kleptomania by Manjula Padmanabhan.)

Saturday 27 March 2004

And for the Escher fans who noticed the Lego interpretations of his work in the post below, you might want to check out this and this.
Ah, the things you can do with Lego®!
A blog we just discovered: Blame India Watch monitors the anti-India hysteria among tech workers in the US.
Missed this one: The Bloggies winners list is up.
Jesus: If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world – ah, Christ.
Judas: Hateth you.
Jesus: Who’s on first, right?
Judas: [laughs]
Jesus: [rolls eyes at camera] John could write gospel, but, you know, could he write dialogue?
Paul Ford, at The Morning News, brings you transcripts of bloopers during the filming of The Passion of the Christ.
One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief
that one's work is terribly important. -Bertrand Russell, philosopher, mathematician, author, Nobel laureate (1872-1970)
So far there has not been a movement loud or sustained enough to command political attention. Electorates demand economic prosperity—more of it—above all things. Gandhianism, the political philosophy that restricts material need, is now only a memory even in the country of its birth. And our awareness that the world will change in every aspect, should we be so aware, is muted by the future tense, even though that future isn’t far away, so near in fact that preventing global warming is a lost cause—all we can do now is to try to keep it from getting utterly out of control.
Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature, the first book for a general audience about global warming, does not understand why we're still not as alarmed as science tells us we should be.

Friday 12 March 2004

What bloggers (and blog readers) want. On how to save the world. (-: We will try and follow the first list there, if you will take a look at the second. :-)
"The average reader spends 96 seconds reading the average blog; The top ten blogs on the list had an average of only 37 seconds where as the bottom ten averaged 83 seconds; Blogs with comments scored a higher average than those without. " Some interesting research at LivingRoom:

Wednesday 10 March 2004

Sorry, just back for a second. Meant to ask you: did you catch Lincoln's Gettysburg Powerpoint Presentation?
If you're wondering what to do about dinner, pop by Research Buzz's Cooking with Google and 'Just type in the ingredients you've got in the fridge and click "Grab a Recipe," and Google will give you some ideas.' (We have, as diligent bloggers must, tried out that search a few times before posting, and now, we realise, there's drool on the keyboard. G'night all. Din-din time.)
We don't know whether we should feel insulted about no one ever bothering to Comment Spam this blog.
They named their new search engine Google, for the biggest number they could imagine. But it wasn't big enough. Today Google's a library, an almanac, a settler of bets. It's a parlor game, a dating service, a shopping mall. It's a Microsoft rival. It's a verb. At more than 200 million requests a day, it is, by far, the world's biggest search engine. And now, on the eve of a very public stock offering, it's cast as savior, a harbinger of rebirth in the Valley. How can it be so many things? It's Goooooooooogle.
Wired magazine's Googlemania issue is up.
He is a formidable chess player. He has created the best typewriter art this blogger has ever seen. And by the way, he happens to have been born with severe cerebral palsy. Meet Paul Smith.
The next time you get some newbie/dweeb/idiot/friend who doesn't seem to have figured out that almost all email-borne viruses these days spoof addresses, and who therefore sends you complaints about a virus he got from you, you might want to mosey over here, where helpful blogger Chris Linfoot has a ready-made mail you can copy-paste to the less enlightened.
If you have to live with spam, might as well put it to work for you. Kristin Thomas's spam poetry is worth bookmarking.
If you happen to pop by Illegal Art, turn your pop up blocker off. The EULA is well worth a minute of your reading time. Aside from the rest of the site, that is.
'In the future ... most people will speak more than one language and will switch between languages for routine tasks. Monolingual English speakers may find it difficult to fully participate in a multilingual society. "Native English speakers—particularly monolingual ones—have been too complacent about the status of their language and the lack of need to learn other languages."' From a National Geographic article on the future of language.
As India prepares for general elections, it might be worth you while to consider this:
The penalty that good men pay for not being interested in politics is to be governed by men worse than themselves.
~ Plato

Thursday 4 March 2004

"As for examples of writer's block, the strange thing is how paradoxically eloquent many writers are in describing their block. Because a block is often very genre-specific, as anyone knows who has felt blocked on a big paper and has procrastinated by writing long e-mails." Or blogging. Sigh. "As for treating writer's block, there is much more consensus among people who have it that it needs treatment. And there is a long history of writers self-medicating, usually not very successfully, with everything from alcohol to coffee to amphetamines." Ah well, while i go get me some coffee, you go read this interview about hypergraphia and its opposite, writer's block, with Alice Weaver Flaherty, the author of The Midnight Disease.
"To enjoy Synchronicity is to consider one's self to be socially enlightened without having to dredge up any real empathy." "You fantasize that your friends come over and admire you for having this album don't you? Yeah, too bad you can't fucking stand this shrill, rambling, incoherent mess." "All the years of Quaaludes and teenage groupies culminated in this plodding, faux-blues double LP." "'ll wonder if you ever heard so much pompous whining in your life." "You should know that Beck is the Christina Aguilera of the indie set -- sell this piece of shit while you still can." "Give it away give it away give it away now." "Most jazz created after the Big Band era is essentially musical masturbation (and like masturbation, if you must do it, you should do it in private!)."
That's just a teeny sample from the deliciously vicious One Hundred Albums You Should Remove from Your Collection Immediately. Among the skewered are The Joshua Tree, Nevermind, Let It Be, Synchronicity, Bitches Brew, Giant Steps, Dark Side of the Moon, Out of Time, anything by The Grateful Dead, and lots more. And there is also, as you may have guessed, a long list of comments ranting for and against the list.
Are you a cynic?
Mahesh Murthy on picking oneself up and carrying on.
Them non-bloggers have begun to whine.

Wednesday 3 March 2004

And we, by the way, have a great face for radio.

A few posts ago, we confessed to sometimes not watching just the news when we watch the news. And now, a glance at the site stats tells us that right after Kitabkhana and Desiviews, our biggest referrers are Google searches for Nidhi Razdan. Dang. So much for targeting the cream.
Oh well, might as shamelessly exploit this for the hits. Do tell, who do you think are the best looking news anchors?
Also at Outlook, Aman Khanna on Naipaul and the BJP. Naipaul at one point during the chintan baitak, while expounding on Indians and history, said, "subsequent Mughal rule and the British conquest too left their impact on India," but "one must move on." No, Khanna does not report if he prefaced that with "Take it on the chin."
Some tasty reading: the winners of the third Outlook-Picador Non-Fiction Contest, Cooking Women, are on the site. First prize went to Cooking Women by Anuradha Roy. Joint runners-up were English Vegetables, Desi Steak by our dear friend, Nilanjana S Roy, and Dr Sad and the Power Lunch by Kavery Nambisan (not yet up on the site).
And while you're there, you might want to check out the 2000 and 2001 winners and short-listed entries.

Monday 1 March 2004

The Maharastra goverenment's recent decision to enforce the letter of the law when it comes to under-21s drinking, brings up the topic of antiquated or just plain stoopid laws, of which we have our fair share in this country. "To some extent, I can understand why crooked politicians and corrupt officials do not amend idiotic laws — they remain a good way of extorting money from citizens." That's Vir Sanghvi letting off steam on some of them. Though he seems to have forgotten about the "permit" one needs to legally drink in Maharashtra. The one that certifies you as being an alcoholic who needs a certain amount of booze every day for health reasons? So, in Bombay, if you want to stay on the right side of the law and still have a tot or two in a "permit room" as bars are still called here, or anyplace else, for that matter, you must admit to being an alcoholic. One wonders if Bal Thackeray, who's most , er, endearing (to us, that is) trait has been a reported fondness for a glass of warm beer of an evening, has a permit? Oh yes, Vir, and what about the law that makes homosexuality a criminal offence?
Mr Sanghvi also would like to hear your point of view. "If you know of a law that is absurd, idiotic or impossible to follow — or designed only to enrich those charged with enforcing it — write in to us at this email address: We’ll carry the best letters on our website and we’ll print a selection in the paper."
Hey, and if you're writing in, send us a copy, will you?
"[Naipaul] and Nadira, Lady Naipaul, want me to go with them as a silent observer, for a reason. Neither of them know what form the interchange with the cultural cell is to take. They’ve been assured that the press will be kept out of it.
On a previous occasion, two years ago now, Vidia spoke to some members of the BJP high command and soon after Salman Rushdie wrote in the New York Times that this was a disgrace, that Naipaul had supported if not advocated the killing of Muslims and that the Nobel should be withdrawn from said writer.
Rushdie, an honourable man, must have been grievously misinformed. When the record was put straight, I am sure he wrote to the New York Times to recant, but alas the conniving Americans, with their divide and rule imperial policies towards the brotherhood of non-white writers, never published it.
There was to be no such misunderstanding this time. I was to tag along and be a fly on the whitewashed wall."
That's Farrokh Dhondy writing about Sir Vidia's recent tea party with the BJP.
We disagree with a some of what Naipaul is quoted as saying, but we wonder what you think of this snippet: "If the British hadn’t colonised this country we would have ground each other into dust." We have long held the view that India was a British creation - or rather, that the only thing that brought together such disparate communities and cultures was a desire to get rid of a common enemy. And a lot of of the country's current problems come from the fact that once we did get rid of them, we didn't quite know what to do with each other.
Disclosure: A significant part of our ancestry came from the sceptred isles, so the version of Indian history we heard from our grandparents had a different slant from the chapters we studied in our school history texts. For instance, "The Mutiny" as opposed to "The Uprising" of 1857.