Thursday, 29 January 2004

WHOOPIE! "A German brewery has developed a beer containing vitamins and minerals it says are designed to slow the aging process."

Wednesday, 28 January 2004

His Billness will be so pleased.
"SCO has become the most hated company in the tech world, surpassing, at least temporarily, Microsoft Corp." Gosh, what did they expect? Taking on the entire Linux community! Well, it's a little matter of US$ 5 billion...
Wired's February issue has a good story on India's emergence as a software superpower, and the resulting angst in the American IT industry.
Google Bombing. Man, i posted about this ages ago! And i wasn't exactly on the ball. One of the claimants for First Google Bomb has a page dated April 2001. Where does that leave this article on the San Francisco Chronicle?

Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Monday, 26 January 2004

Advertising on the web is, sadly, still largely banner ads, those damn pop-ups and email spam. So a site like Trojan Games is refreshingly different. Funny, painstakingly detailed, it is just the sort of thing that prompts people to pass URLs around. (It is distinctly adult content, but no, it's not indecent. IMHO.)

Saturday, 24 January 2004

Been there, done that. :-)
You mean there was ten tons of cold beer just lying there and no one told me?
If all goes the way i want it to, i'm never gonna apply for a job again. At least not a cubicle farm-type job. Because if i do, i won't be in a position to write a letter to my prospective employers like this one at J-Fly. An extract: "If you throw me into an office the size of a bathroom without fresh air or windows, further blighted by the negative energy of seven other disgruntled employees--all the while enjoying the airy, bright, billowy ambiance of your own private office with imported bamboo furniture and soft sofas with beaded pillows, I believe you should reconsider your choice in candidates."

Friday, 23 January 2004

Another Social Networking site pops up to join the likes of Friendster, Ryze, Meetup, et al. And this one should be taken seriously, because it has Google's backing.

Wednesday, 21 January 2004

There's been a lot of media coverage on the WSF rape case. Bijoy Venugopal, on Rediff, asks a question that occurred to me: Can a man be raped? Opinions, people?
It's virus scare time again. This one's called Beagle

Tuesday, 20 January 2004

Found on a recent egosurf: probably the only poetry prize in the world where i have a chance of getting the judges to take a second look at my stuff! But then again, maybe not.
The trAce Online Writing Centre has announced a New Media Article writing competition "To provoke discussion and raise awareness of new media writing, trAce and Writers for the Future." Prizes are publication for real pay. Go here for details.

Monday, 19 January 2004

The "the long-gestating adaptation" of Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy is, apparently, finally going to happen.

Saturday, 17 January 2004

Will be blogging infrequently, if at all, over the next week, because we're pinch hitting for good pal, The Babu, over at Kitabkhana. TB's average readership was, at last count, roughly five thousand times this blog's. On a slow day. So we're nervous. To put it mildly. Will stop now. Fingers too sweaty to type.

Friday, 16 January 2004

Remember the Gibbs Aquada, which launched - literally - in the UK in September? Which made quite an, er, splash in the world's papers when Richard Branson bought one? Well, we're happy to report that we'll soon get to see an Indian amphibious vehicle, thanks to a tie up between Hindustan Motors, and Chinkara Cars. And since Chinkara's first car, the Chinkara 1.8S, already has some pretty high profile customers, you might just see one of them zooming off the Gateway of India one of these days and taking the short cut to his beach house.
Also happy to report that Shama and Guido Bothe, the people behind Chinkara Cars (and FOTB) are "Leading the show stealers" at Auto Expo 2004 in Delhi.

Wednesday, 14 January 2004

Where the words are free

Being perennially monetarily challenged and unable to make as many contributions to the sales figures of Strand, Crosswords, Oxford, that new bookstore at Kalaghoda, or even New and Second Hand or the pavement book guys as we would like, we have been trawling the net in search of free reads.
Being also kind and generous, we present our findings to you.
The Online Books Page at the University of Pennsylvania site is a great place to start, with its listings and links to other sites. (This is the site formerly hosted by Carnegie Mellon University, in case you're thinking you may have it bookmarked already. As i did.)
Then there's Project Gutenberg, ibiblio, the Million Books Project and National Academies Press. And the free reference books at Bartleby are an invaluable resource, IMHO.
Closer home, there's also the horrendously designed and very buggy Digital Library of India.
For kid lit, try Children's Storybooks Online, The International Children's Digital Library and Children's Books Online: the Rosetta Project.
This just in: For the SF fans, there's a bunch of free short stories over at SciFi.com's archive, including classic works by Robert Sheckley, Robert Silverberg, Philip José Farmer and Brian W. Aldiss. (Thanks to the bArt man for the link.)

Saturday, 10 January 2004

This is the story of one computer professional's explorations in the world of postmodern literary criticism. (Thanks for the link, Nisha.) You might also want to take a look at what they're saying about it over at Slashdot. Oh and you've probably heard of Alan Sokal's article in Social Text, way back in 1996, Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity and the story behind it? We're gonna find our dictionary before we get back to reading those. Meanwhile, want to try the Postmodernism Generator?
CRYbuddies is online. It's a CRY - Child Relief and You - site for older kids, that wants to sensitize more privileged children to the problems and issues faced by their underprivileged counterparts, without making them feeling guilty about having more. Please pass the URL on to kids you know - your own, nephews and nieces, kids of friends -and do encourage them to send CRY their feedback.
Salman Rushdie returns to Bombay after 16 years, to play footsie with girlfriend Padma Lakshmi.
Nissim Ezekiel, poet, teacher, translator, journalist, and much more, passed away yesterday. Over at Mid-Day, Jerry Pinto pays tribute.
You might also like to read this past issue of Mahfil - Journal of South Asian Literature .
This blog is happy to inform you that we have just got ourselves a Unicorn Hunting License. If you'd like one, be sure to read the regulations first.
The issuing authorities, by the way, are Lake Superior State University, the people behind that admirable annual list of Banished Words. Note to PR, advertising and news professionals: read this.

Friday, 9 January 2004

The cartoonist (and consulting radiologist!) Hemant Morparia, who with a few now-defunct columns, used to be one of the best things about Bombay Times, will be exhibiting at the Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai, from Jan 17th. (And while you're there do let us know what you think of the Sakshi site. We worked on it with Rabia Gupta Designs.)
Link found on: Mediaah!

Monday, 5 January 2004

Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the Worldwide Web, was knighted in the Queen's New Year Honours List.
Unlike almost 300 other people who refused royal awards in the past 50 or so years (including the poet Benjamin Zephaniah, who earned our huzzahs not just for the refusal, but also for breaking protocol and telling the world about it), TBL accepted. Sorry, Sir TBL.
"The more blogs you read and the more often you read them, the more obvious it is: They've fallen in love with themselves, each other and the beauty of what they're creating." Jennifer Howard in washingtonpost.com has a point of view. Hm. And we're linking to it. We shall decide if that's ironic in the morning.
Yeeha! Just found a page that promises many a chortle. The Guardian's The Digested Read archive. Enjoy.

Sunday, 4 January 2004

Ever wondered what Japanese Smileys would look like?

Net + Work? Whatever will they come up with next?

Networking sites have suddenly been getting really hot.
Recently registered on Ryze Business Networking and was frankly floored by the number of people already on it that i knew directly. And was truly amazed when i started exploring the Friends Of Friends function. From a base of less than fifty direct contacts (all but four or five of whom i have met in meatspace), my Friends of Friends list now numbers 1309, with more coming in every day. But this blogger must also confess to being kinda distracted with the social bit, and to not having cracked, or even tried to crack, a single big biz deal on Ryze so far.
There's also Friendster, which is focussed more on the personal relationships angle. Will check that out shortly. Watch this space. In case you decide to take a look before we do, check out The Buttafly Guide to Interpreting Friendster Photos and An Ode to Friendster first. And a more business-like look at the phenomenon by FOTB, Devangshu Datta.

Saturday, 3 January 2004

Some more stories from Wired, our favourite magazine and news service. Some of Wired's writers, like those in most US publications, sometimes have a tendency not to acknowledge the world beyond the 50 states. But thankfully, it's usually fairly balanced.
From Wired News:
"It's another blow to our delusions that we are the yardstick." Anne Druyan, science writer, producer and widow of Carl Sagan, in a panel discussion about a collection of photographs from inter-planetary space machines, Beyond: Visions of Interplanetary Probes, by filmmaker Michael Benson. Read the report here. (And you can see those stunning images on Planetary Image Atlas and Planetary Photojournal.)
A cause we gleefully endorse: The Bush in 30 Seconds competition at MoveOn.Org has got more than a thousand entries, and has "given rise to a somewhat bizarre phenomenon -- political ads as viral media. The website offers the option of e-mailing favorite films to friends... Political ads, at least these do-it-yourself ones, are suddenly hip." So i'm just getting with the programme by passing the link on to you.
Also, a story on the latest cyber-blackmail schemes. And the world's biggest bank, Cyros, will soon go global. But meanwhile, only Danes can make, er, deposits. Yes, it's that kind of bank.
And from Wired Magazine:
The Stradivarius of guitars just went digital: The 100-Megabit Guitar. Also, 101 Ways to Save the Internet (a largely US-centric piece, but forgivable, i think, since that's where most of the Net-shaping action still takes place). And could you write, cast, shoot, score, and edit an entire movie in a day? A report on the New York City Midnight Moviemaking Madness.
Um, we get a little carried away when we visit Wired. Must stop now.
In one of the better of the many, many wish lists we read in the last week or so, Wired News "asked a dozen experts in fields that are apt to touch all our lives this year -- privacy, defense, spam, security, open source, technology development, life online and human rights -- to answer this question: 'What do you wish would happen in 2004, and what do you think will actually happen?' " The Fantasy and Reality of 2004.

Friday, 2 January 2004

For anyone who loves both books and the web, and is wondering whether that convergence thingy is going anywhere, Wired has a nice piece about Jeff Bezos's effort to build the world's biggest digital book archive. It even has a business angle, for you MBA types.
It's not all getting bloodthirsty, though. Wired also carried a piece on Ibiblio, one of the Web's oldest and largest digital libraries, "all of it is completely free to visitors."
If you like Asimov and his Foundation series as much as i do, you'll want to see this. Somone thinks there's a lot more to it than Science Fiction. Oh yes, there's also someone who's apparently making quite a decent living out of psychohistory.