Sunday 31 December 2006

Bachelor's Soup Noodles, Versions 1 and 2

A couple of recipes I perfected years ago. :)

Version 1

• Make up some instant soup. Any soup. Doesn't matter. Follow instructions on pack.
• As the soup cooks, throw in a packet of instant noodles (making sure to remove them from the packet first), and a chopped up tomato.
• Simmer for two minutes. Don't let the noodles absorb all of the soup.
• Serve in soup dish. Or eat out of the pan.

Version 2
A later refinement, for when you have more time on your hands.

• Pick up some cooked kababs from the nearest roaside stall. Keep aside.
• Chop up a tomato or three.
• Pour yourself a drink. This is hard work, and you've earned it.
• Perhaps two onions too. And maybe a few pods of garlic.
• Dump the onions and garlic into a frying pan with a little oil. Add a salt to taste and BP levels. If you like your food spicey, you may want to chop in a chilly or sprinkle on some of that red masala powder, or whatever else comes to hand.
• Fry on a low flame till the onions begin to turn translucent. Remove from flame and take out most of the mix. Put the rest back on the flame and fry till the onions turn crisp. Set aside.
• Sip your drink. Go on, pour another.
• Take the lightly fried onion add the diced tomato, fry for a bit, stirring now and then.
• Throw in the kababs. It really doesn't matter what kind you've bought, but if it's a sheekh, you should cut it into smaller pieces. Cover the pan.
• Pour another drink. Sip slowly.
• When your finely-tuned instincts (honed by past sad experiences) and bubbly noises tell you you've cooked all the germs to death, remove from flame.
• Put a few cups of water into a saucepan. Nope, not that. That's your drink.
• Boil water. Get packet of instant soup powder. Tomato for choice, but anything else will do. Follow the instructions on the pack for cooking time.
• If you have any dried herbs or stuff like that, toss some in.
• Break in packet(s) of instant noodles.
• Let the noodle-soup mixture simmer for a couple of minutes.
• Dump the onion-tomato-kabab mix in. Stir for another minute.
• Let cool.
• Have another drink while you're waiting.
• Oops. One drink too many. The food's gone cold.
• Remember the crispy brown chopped onions and garlic you set aside? Sprinkle that over the noodles just before you eat. It will make you feel very professional. Garnish and all.
• Eat. Deeyamn! It tastes great cold too! You're good, Griffin. You deserve a drink!

Tuesday 26 December 2006

Sihuañu’u Ejaërepa aide’ose’ere

It’s Christmas, so it’s mandatory
To send out greetings old and hoary.
So before them church bells stop chiming
I shall attempt some cheery rhyming.
(Sure, free verse could do as well;
But we are, um, well, traditional
In some matters. Though we retain the
Right to go back on that position.)

As per Petrarch, we start the sextet
With a volta.But he’d be vexed at
Our scorning a-b-b-a rhyme so
We defect to Shakespeare! Ho ho ho!

Which leaves us just enough time to say
Merry Christmas! (Darn, shoulda sent this yesterday.)


Sunday 24 December 2006

Sunday 10 December 2006

It's not a Nanny State. It's a desperately greedy one.

Bala just pointed me to a TOI article that tells us about our noble Govt moves to cut off phoneys in Net telephony. Apparently they think they need to make more money of us net users.
After blogs and websites, the government is planning a clampdown on BPOs and KPOs over, what it feels is, illegal use of internet telephony.

It is giving final touches to a proposal under which ITeS companies must furnish the names of authorised service providers from whom bandwidth and internet telephony minutes have been taken. The companies will also have to give an undertaking that they will not use the services of unlicensed foreign service providers such as Net2Phone, Vonage, Dialpad, Impetus, Novanet, Euros, Skype and Yahoo.

As per Department of Telecommunications' (DOT) estimates, these unlicensed service companies provide 30 million minutes of internet telephony per month to corporates, call centres and BPOs in the country.

According to official sources, foreign players such as Skype, in addition to disturbing the level-playing field for bonafide licensees, were also causing great revenue loss to the government as they did not pay the 12% service tax and 6% revenue share on internet telephony.
Now, tell us, since we're already paying taxes via the rates we pay our ISPs to use their services? The government is already making its kick on it. And how would they do this, we wonder?

Bala says 'It'd be interesting to see how they can "block" or even "detect" Skype." So we said to him, 'They seem to be talking about comp-to-phone type stuff. Wonder if they will—or can—target comp-to-comp?' To which Bala said 'They can block voip traffic en masse at ISPs. But it'd be difficult to identify pc-to-phone calls."

Oh yes. They've added the perfect little thingy to get the attention of our nannys in Parliament.
Sources said DoT was keen to implement this move on security grounds too. Foreign service providers could be a "serious security threat as they did not come under any Indian regulator and policy framework," they added.


Once this proposal is implemented, the government, in case of an emergency, would be able to trace details of all internet telephony minutes. This is because, when minutes are purchased from authorised players, the company is mandated to provide any data pertaining to the use of internet telephony like call detail record, if required by the security agencies.
Oh look, it's the ISP's posteriors that are on fire:
The government move, when implemented, will fulfil a long-pending demand of internet service providers (ISPs). Internet Service Providers Association of India president Rajesh Chharia said: "It is essential that the government seeks this undertaking from call centres as these foreign service providers do not possess the requisite licences as mandated by the Government of India for Indian ISPs."

Well, what's your take?

Northward ho!

We shall be away for a bit. Y'all be good now. Irregular blogging resumes.. oh, when we feel like it.

Friday 8 December 2006

Global Voices Summit, Delhi '06

Had this in Drafts for ages, but didn't get around to posting. Stoopid us. Anyway. Here you are:

I'm attending the Global Voices Summit in Delhi!
How can we use the Internet to build a more democratic, participatory global discourse? How can we create a more inclusive conversation about what is happening on our planet, and how human beings in different parts of the world are impacting each other in countless ways we don’t realize every day?

This year we also hope to address two further questions:
• How do we bring more unheard, ignored, or disadvantaged voices into the global online conversation?
• How do we help people speak and be heard - even when powerful people try to stop them from doing so?

WHO: Global Voices editors, contributors, community members, interested bloggers and journalists. Basically, anybody who is interested in what it means for media, geopolitics, and global society when the whole world starts talking online.

WHEN: 9am-5:30pm IST, Saturday December 16th, 2006

(A smaller private planning meeting will be held for GV editors and authors only on Sunday the 17th.)

HOW: If you’d like to join us, please add your name to the sign-up wiki here. UPDATE: Sign-up is now full, but you can add your name to our waiting list or participate remotely.

WHERE: At the Indian Habitat Centre

ONLINE: If you can’t make it in person, please join us online via webcast and live chat. We will be posting more information on this page about how to do so as the time approaches


9-10am: Overview: what Global Voices has accomplished to date

10:00-10:10 - QUICK COFFEE!!

10:10-12:00 - Outreach, starting with the case of India: how do we expand blogging and online/mobile citizens’ media from being an activity of the elites to include the voices of the less privileged and rural communities?

12:00-1:30 - LUNCH on site with “breakout groups” (details TBA)

1:30-3:00 - Language and translation: This flows nicely from outreach: what are the best way to translate back and forth so that people writing/speaking in one language can be read and heard by speakers of other languages? This session would provide specific examples about what has worked so far, what hasn’t, and some ideas for what might be done in the future to promote more communication across language groups.

3:00-4:30 - Technology tactics: What technologies and tools are most suited for bringing a more diverse range of people - ethnically, linguistically, economically, geographically - into the citizens’ media community? Also, what tools are needed for people who want to speak but whose governments try to prevent them from doing so?

4:30-5:30 - wrap-up

The GV post.


Thursday 7 December 2006

But aren't them emissions flammable?

An American Airlines plane made an emergency landing in Nashville after passengers reported the smell of sulphur from burning matches.

The matches were found on the seat of a woman who had attempted to conceal the odour of flatulence with the matches, Nashville airport authorities said.
The rest, on the Beeb.

Sunday 3 December 2006

Pico, Pico, Pico

Pico Iyer: On Travel and Travel Writing
Two decades after boarding a plane for the trip that would yield "Video Night in Kathmandu," Pico Iyer talks to Matthew Davis about fact and fiction, books he wishes he hadn't written and his humble beginnings as a travel writer.

Pico Iyer on Travel Writing
A while back I was in Larry Habegger's Master Class for Travel Writers, and Pico Iyer came to talk with us about travel writing. I recorded the conversation, and am publishing a small part of it here, with Larry's and Pico's permission.

The Nowhere Man
The transcontinental tribe of wanderers is growing, global souls for whom home is everywhere and nowhere. Pico Iyer, one of the privileged homeless, considers the new kind of person being created by a new kind of life.

You know you're spending way too much time online when..

..seeing this at 4.43 a.m. makes you feel like you have no one to talk to.

Friday 1 December 2006

Community is the new blog, anyone?

Everyone's bulding communities online these days. Including, it must be confessed, a blogger not unconnected with this blog, who is ambitiously building several of the little tykes.

So, all ye communitists, here are a few insights from Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr.
The interesting thing about acquisitions of this kind is that you can't just suddenly build a community. You can't just go out and replicate all of the features and functionality of something you've seen, it doesn't really work that way.

The most difficult part is not the technology but actually getting the people to behave well. When first starting the community the Flickr team were spending nearly 24 hours online greeting each individual user, introducing them to each other and cultivating the community. After a certain point you can let go and the community will start to maintain itself, explains Caterina. People will greet each other and introduce their own practices into the social software. It's always underestimated, but early on you need someone in there everyday who is kind of like the host of the party, who introduces everybody and takes their coat.
The rest of the interview on .net magazine is here.

German engineering in da house, ja!

The VW—sorry, Vee Dub—Unpimp Your Ride commercials.

[Via email from Sujoy Mukherjee]