Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Shifted My Blog!

I have shifted my blog to
Wordpress is so much better!
See you there!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hush...the Net has ears...

An employee fired for calling her job boring. A cop losing a case as he made claims that ran counter to what he had stated in court. Multiple instances of college pics and party photos resulting in candidates loosing interview calls.

They probably deserved it is the general feeling. Except in the above cases, the revelations about the people involved all happened online on social networking sites. They were not overheard or caught in real life. The mentioned people incriminated themselves. Somebody investigated their wall postings and public album collections.

We Homo-sapiens are social creatures. We know how to sweet talk some one discreetly. Spread rumors and appear professional when some one asks us where we see our selves five years from now. We can handle peers and pressure because of two factors. Nature and Nurture. I.e. we have brought up to pick up behavioral cues about people around us or the skills are inborn. Many generations of nurture training fail us when online behavior is considered. We are not able to perceive how far our party picture will go; Our own sphere of influence. In the offline world we would choose to show it to say 7 close friends who we can trust because we directly interact with them. Also the photos are still physically with you.

In the online world. The ability to multiply infinitely the photos causes serious issues. Plus let’s say you trust seven similar people with the photos. Even if one of those seven fail in discretion, you now have the equivalent of infinite photos on the net. Imagine the shock of employees who were fired because their boss found some college snap “not consistent with the corporate philosophy”.

The boss was not on the friends list but still found out. We would continue to see this trend in the future because how counter intuitive the online world really is. Let’s say you want to tell your friend you have a boring job. You would generally check the surroundings, lower your voice and tell him if you trust him. Even if this friend betrays you, we can possibly deny totally what we are accused of. In the Online world, it’s hard to keep track of who is watching you. We forget who is on our friends list and often they might be people we have fallen out with. People generate hundreds of photos every year and it is difficult to keep track of whom you are sharing it with. The internet is simply not intuitive. And the worst part about the internet is that there is always proof left behind. Your not-too- honorable friend we just spoke about now has a screenshot to prove his case.

The non intuitive characteristic of the net also cost many cheerleaders and teachers their jobs in the United States when they were found in what is called "pictures not reflecting expected behavior standards". Ten years back the person involved may have carried on with whatever they were accused of silently. But now it’s broadcast on the net and all it takes is one leak. One person or computer or account to be compromised and often carriers go down. Similarly every tweet, bog post and email is now a permanent record that can be used in mind numbing number of ways to slander people.

It would not be surprising if self censorship steps in soon on a large scale. We might have to worry like celebrities about what we say, had said or dressed like might be used against us somewhere anytime in the future.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Awesome Free Google Service for India

Google has launched Voice Search for select Indian cities and its awesome!
  • Say you want to find out the phone number of a restaurant, maybe Corner House.
  • You have to call up 1-800-41-999-999 and you have to say "Corner House" after the Beep.
  • The voice recognition system takes what seems like 3 seconds to understand what you said and then repeats the query.
  • Then it asks for area,i assume if multiple locations are found, and again the system takes 3 seconds.
  • The system then sends you an sms and also reads out the results.

I tested the system for Hotel empire, Chinmaya Mission Hospital, Vidyarthi Bhavan and for Movie timings at INOX and they were all spot on.
Though for Hotel Empire I got the address and phone number but for others I only got the contact number.

And the best part is that its FREE! It is a toll free number you call. I have often ended up in MG road or Brigade road and have walked around looking for a newspaper to check movie timings.Now I guess that situation wont happen again.

Here is the official site with more details.
Google's aim is to organise the world'ss information. Good work so far!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Google screws up, Again!

Google seems to be loosing it slowly. First, they marked the entire Internet as spam. Then the great GMail outage happened, and the latest, your private documents in google docs could have been shared and exposed to other people.

Even though this happened to less than " .05% of documents" its a huge setback to Google.I really don't want people to find out my collection of email forwards and 18th century poetry.This is enough to scare me off the Internet cloud promise; Which is supposed to be google's weapon to finish off Microsoft.

When Bill Gates came to India, Pranoy Roy interviewed him. Gates was asked about FireFox and how it was eating into IE's market share. Gates said this " Every few years we hear about a company that's going to finish off Microsoft, and we say the same thing, Not yet!".

Friday, March 06, 2009

Another Indian Election

This summer, in a poling booth near you watch the biggest democratic drama in the world.

These are the things I remember from the last elections.

1. Large number of Film/ TV stars joining parties at will. It was a really funny spectacle, watching stars and wannabe's lining up.
2. Nobody expected the BJP to loose. It was taken for granted they would walk away with a comfortable win.
3. Sonia Gandhi was expected to loose hands down.
4." The left? Who’s that?" was the attitude of news anchors.
5. It was supposed to be the first "presidential" style election in India. Putting Sonia Gandhi vs. Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Guess is was also the last.

So many sure shot predictions were broken last time. Let’s see how this year’s predictions go.

I will be following some blogs and columnists this time to understand the election. The most important one of them all will be Swapan Dasgupta at the Daily pioneer. His analysis is simple, straight and very funny most of the times.

MK Akbar seems to be a good new find . Not read enough of his columns yet.

Thursday, March 05, 2009


Lyrics from the musical Mary Poppins :

A man has dreams of walking with giants
To carve his niche in the edifice of time
Before the mortar of his zeal
Has a chance to congeal
The cup is dashed from his lips
The flame is snuffed aborning
He's brought to rack and ruin in his prime

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Informed Comment

There are some blogs out there thatreally amaze me. The most impressive one I have recently stumbled upon is Informed Comment written by Juan Cole.When the Israeli army invaded Gaze I barely understood what was happening.

While most news channels choose to just report events during the invasion, I was a bit confused by coverage in the international media including the NYT and The Guardian.Most of these papers organized their coverage around the impact of this event on the other big event. Obama's swearing in.

Then I stumbled on this blog and was quite amazed at the length the author goes to analyse news from a variety of sources and his ability to make reading it relatively simple. And this is the middle east! Its quite complex and he really does help me understand the situation better.
He also vovers Islamic issues and studies. His clarity ensures I can just look up his posts and understand what's happening in that part of the world.

Monday, February 23, 2009

My article in Citizen Matters

I actually published something! The people at Citizen Matters declare themselves as " a Bangalore focused and citizen-oriented news publication". Well it feels warm and fuzzy to see your words in

Here is my article on how i remember Defense colony.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Shame on Barkha Dutt

Barkha Dutt is doing to this blogger what bullies do to little kids.
This link sums up the events well.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

English classes in school

The short story is my favorite type of lit. I've always enjoyed my English classes in school. Except for the weird poems that sounded nothing like the official interpretation provided by the teacher. I remember the lily and the oak.

The Noble Nature
Ben Jonson (1573–1637)

IT is not growing like a tree
In bulk, doth make Man better be;
Or standing long an oak, three hundred year,
To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sere:
A lily of a day
Is fairer far in May,
Although it fall and die that night—
It was the plant and flower of Light
In small proportions we just beauties see;
And in short measures life may perfect be.

Most of us students were not convinced by my teacher's interpretation that the beauty of the lily was better. we thought the oak was doing an unglamorous job as a tree very well!