Thursday, April 26, 2007

News That Matter

  • C-DAC [The institution that launched India into Supercomputing age] launched Pragati a Hindi web browser, which is based on Firefox. This is important, since there is much to be done in Indian languages computing, before Indian masses can interact with PC's and web in their local languages [via Quick Online Tips].

  • Economic Times reports that India may offer free broad band services to her people at 2 mbps, within next 2 years. The cost will be a fraction of Universal Services Obligation Fund (USOF). USOF is created out of annual deposit of 5 % of revenues of each cellular operator in India. It was supposed to be used for bridging the telecom devide that exists between urban and rural India. Incidentally, currently USOF burgeons at 9194.12 crore.

  • AOL has launched its Indian version -, which currently looks quite a basic portal.

3G Enters India...Almost.

Today, there is a full page ad of Nokia N95 in Times Of India. The features list of N95 is just impressive. It has a dual slide design, 5 MP camera, Wi-Fi abilities, internet browser with Mini Map for better internet experience, integration with Flickr, the LifeBlog application, GPS...and so on. Cool! That is a range of features I will die for! See all the features here and a deatiled review here. So, futuristic handsets are here, penetration of mobile-phones is rising at a scorching pace and operators are also prepared to play the 3G game. What about the spectrum?

Other news in the same newspaper, that has caught my attention is about Indian governement's decision (or is it just a proposal?) about inviting global bids for spectrum auction. The Indian Airforce is expected to vacate 42.5 Mhz of spectrum by July, this year. The bids will be invited after this. The significance of global bidding is that it will give some big global players, an opportunity to catch the telecom-boom bus, which they have lost or left earlier. For consumers, this will mean that they will have a richer 3G experience and the tariffs will be lowered considerably. And for government, this will mean big bucks. The news says -

"The most significant aspect of Wednesday's announcement read along with the modified 74% FDI guidelines in telecom announced by the government just last week, is a clear invitation for global telcos to put their money where their mouth is. Analysts suggest that this is perhaps the last opportunity for those who have not been a part of the Indian telecom juggernaut to now jump in."

Read the news here.

Best Cell Phones

Monday, April 23, 2007

Virginia Tech Timelapse on Wikipedia

It was great watching this video about how wikipedia changes during a world acknowledged event. I originally viewed it on Now it seems that even NY Times has made a great homepage feature on Wikipedia's woking in the wake of V Tech shooting. A must read feature on NYT and also a must watch video...

Are You Satisfied?

The Indian selectors have come up with this young team for Bangladesh tour. Can we say that the team is all new and young? Who else should have been deleted / added?

One-day squad:
Rahul Dravid (captain), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Mahendra Dhoni, Dinesh Karthick, Yuvraj Singh, Manoj Tiwari, Shantakumaran Sreesanth, Munaf Patel, Zaheer Khan, Rudrapratap Singh, Piyush Chawla, Ramesh Powar and Dinesh Mongia.

Test team: Rahul Dravid (captain), Sachin Tendulkar, V.V.S. Laxman, Mahendra Dhoni, Sourav Ganguly, Anil Kumble, Yuvraj Singh, Wasim Jaffer, Zaheer Khan, Dinesh Karthick, Shantakumaran Sreesanth, Vikram Singh, Munaf Patel, Ramesh Powar and Rajesh Pawar.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Leonel Maradona!

Great players are not born again and again. The simpply fantastic goal by Maradona against arch rivals England in the 1986 World Cup has always fascinated me. I have watched it again and again and again on youtube. Unbelievable!
However, a more unbelievable thing happened in the match between Barcelona and Getafe. The said-to-be 'Next Maradona', Leonel Messi scored this wonderful goal. The goal is so similar to the one by Master, that ... no words. Watch it!

Here is the goal by Maradona -

Update: This video is not allowed to be embedded. But being of the best quality, I tinkered with the code and put it here. Just double click on the video to watch it on Youtube.

Here is a similar one by the Next Maradona -

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Stage Is Set

After a long and boring Super Eight stage, now World cup has again come to where it belongs - an interesting mode, where the titans of the game will fight with each other with anger and might. Remember one thing, except South Africans who lost to New Zealand and Bangladesh, remaining 3 teams are in full form. This means that there will be a real feast for the lovers of the game and we will hope that the excitement which is expected in a World Cup will be there (at least) now. Evergreen favorites, Australia have not lost a single match in this world cup! They are all set to win this world cup, unless Sri Lanka or New Zealand do the trick. Sri Lankans have lost 2 matches in Super Eights. Many believe that the result of Aus-S.L. match in Super Eights would have been different if Murlitharan and Vaas would have played in that match. I believe that Sri Lankans actually have matched the shrewdness of Australians ans S. Africans, by not allowing Aussies to play Muralitharan before more crucial matches. Another underdog-turned-favorites are the Kiwis. They are in a wonderful form and in a right mental state. They have the real ability to upset the powerhouses of Australia and Sri Lanka. South Africans, unlike other 3 are inconsistent totally. They defeated Sri Lanka in the beginning of Super Eights; but towards end, they lost to Bangladesh and then to New Zealand. Besides, they have a reputation of buckling when it matters most. They will have to take a lot of efforts and play a better game to beat the image of 'chokers'.

Anyway, the stage is set now! I am ready to burn the midnight oil again after Indians returned from West Indies long ago.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Verginia Shooting Spree Underlines Gun Control Necessity

While reading about the shooting spree in Virginia Tech, in which more than 20 innocent and bright people died shocked me to the roots. The real shock comes from the fact that this incident is not an isolated event. Earlier, there were similar incidents across USA and which happened on some campuses. Being from India, where there are is a strict gun control regime, the US liberty for owning the guns intrigues me. As I flipped through Wikipedia, I came to know that the right to own arms in US stems from the American Civil War. The forces which fought with British troops owned their arms. Thus, today's right is based on the assumption that owning arms is the last line of defence against the tyranny of the government. The government is nothing but some persons, in whom there can't be ultimate trust by the citizens. But from today's realities, doesn't this seem ridiculous? In a democracy, people elect their own government. Citizens invest in the government, the authority to regulate their lives. In this situation, is it assumed that the people will fight with their revolvers and shotguns with the government, which in case of US is sitting on piles of nuclear weapons? On ground what the gun liberty regime means is senseless and tragic deaths of innocents frequently (and hunting of deers and bears?). Or am I missing something here?
Another two issues here are - Why such incidents are happening on university campuses? Does this mean a lack of support system in US for the youngsters? Again, here the shooter was a Korean student. The immigrant students again have separate issues of their own and the Universities will have to strive harder to ensure a rich and beautiful experience to the immigrant students.

Update: MSN India has added a post today [23rd April] about Gun Control Debate sparked off by Virginia Tech incident -
Virginia shooting revives debate on gun control

Saturday, April 14, 2007

No 'Oomph!' here.

Woolmer is dead. Allegations of match - fixing are as usual. India & Pakistan are out, even before Super 8 stage. Even West Indies, the hosts, are out. Lara complains about low turn-out of spectators for the home match. Now, Ponting says that W. Indies has worst practice facilities.

Is the World Cup 2007, a FIASCO?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Is the Democracy in India, a True Democracy?

In spite of some differences of varying extent in the association or separation, one fact that remains true about the governance set up in a democracy, that there are 3 basic functions of the State and these are Legislation, execution and judicature. There are 3 arms of state in a democracy, which performs these functions in – legislature legislates, executive executes and judiciary decides the legality within the ambit of laws made by legislature. The legislature makes the laws because it represents the will of the people. People elect their representatives in the elections and send the winners to the parliaments to protect their interests, on their behalf. Thus works the democracy. However, do the legislatures truly represent the people who mandate them? Theoretically yes, but on ground, the answer is a big no.

How can a person, whom I don't meet for the whole term of legislature said to be representing my aspirations? I would say that representing the aspirations of a few crores of voters is just not possible for a single member of parliament, more so in a highly stratified and fractured society like India. Further, here the system is 'first past the post' – he who gets highest number of votes, wins. So you can have a candidate garnering even 20 percent of votes and winning the election. Actually, had there been an option of 'None of the Above' in the voting list, I am sure that those who mark on this option would have been highest in number. Further do the interests of the representative as a politician, align with his interests as a legislature? Or, do they even align with my interests as a voter? A politician would certainly be a election oriented person, because there are no rewards for remaining politician. The returns, however, pour cats and dogs, once you win the election. Further, the unmanageable number of voters in a constituency means that rather than doing the hard work of winning heart of each voter, I would rather use the short cuts to win the elections. Here, the aspirations of people and representative nature of polity – both are compromised.

Now, if this is the situation, then why citizens should be bound by the laws made by a parliament which is not representative in true sense of the term?

What can be the solution to this issue?

Monday, April 2, 2007

Should Sachin Retire?

भारतीय क्रिकेट संघात आता सचिन तेंडुलकर नको, असे भारतीय क्रिकेट मंडळातील अनेक पदाधिकाऱ्यांचे मत होते; पण मांजराच्या गळ्यात घंटा बांधण्यास कोणीही तयार नव्हते. आता ग्रेग चॅपेल यांनी हे काम सोपे केले आहे. भारतीय क्रिकेट मंडळातील सूत्रांनी दिलेल्या माहितीनुसार- चॅपेल हे सचिन तेंडुलकरला कायमचा निरोप देण्याची शिफारस करणार आहेत.
गेल्या काही वर्षातला आपला हरपलेला सूर लक्षात घेऊन सचिन तेंडुलकरने आता निवृत्त व्हावे, असा सल्ला ऑस्ट्रेलियाचे माजी दिग्गज फलंदाज इयन चॅपेल यांनी दिला आहे. सचिनने आपला जो लौकिक उभा केला होता त्या लौकिकानुसार सचिनकडून गेल्या तीन-चार वर्षांत खेळ झालेला नाही. कारकीर्द वाढविण्यासाठी तो आता प्रयत्नशील आहे, असे इयन चॅपेल यांनी म्हटले आहे.
मुंबईतील एका सायंदैनिकातील स्तंभलेखात इयन चॅपेल यांनी सचिनला निवृत्तीचा हा सल्ला दिला आहे.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Anatomy of Compelling Digg Videos: 101

Have a good video. Definitely people would like it. So you want the people to watch it. So you have also put it on Digg.

But there are thousands of people like you out there. There are thousands of better videos. What do you think will then make the difference? Why a dig visitor will click on a video, which is just one of many? The answer is – Write a compelling description of your video. Those 3-4 lines below your video will matter the most. The description should be so compelling that the dig visitor must feel that he has come to Digg, just to watch videos like this. How to do it then? What is the single most compelling description ever written?

There are 3 factors associated with a Digg video – Content, Title & Description. Now there are following scenarios –

  1. Content is simply very much attractive – This is obviously the most ideal situation; and a rare one. When you have a strong content of video, your mantra would be 'Be Descriptive'. Just write core of your video in 5 to 8 words of Title, and elaborate 'what the title is?' in a Description of 2-3 lines. You are done.
  2. Average Content – You know when your content is average, don't you? We are the best judges actually. In such a case, what will obviously matter are
    other 2/3rd part – the title & the description. This is tricky. But the solution is simple. Here you will have to do upside down. Make your title a bit descriptive, e.g. 'Johnny Playing Football with Dog and Getting Beaten 2-0!' This surely not a substantive content, is it? This was for the title. For description, don't write more than 1 simple sentence. The most compelling description can be – 'Just watch it', or 'Dog's dribble rivals Ronaldnho. Watch it to know it!', or 'Beyond description; Just watch that!', or 'Not that the dog is playing football; it's the way it beats Johnny', or 'My God! The doggy is Pele!!'

If you look at the descriptions in point (2), you should come to know how the descriptions ought to be. If you write a description as – 'A little boy was playing football with his dirty looking doggy, when the dog beat the boy by 2-0. Watch the video, you will lol.' Doesn't it suck? You will think – 'Who the heck is the submitter, to tell me to watch it?' What's wrong with this description? Your obvious reaction would be like this because the writer of description has placed himself on other side of Line of Distrust.

What is this Line of Distrust? This is an invisible boundary that separates a consumer from a supplier of content / product. Here, it means that while writing a description, even if you have shot the video, you need to think from a viewer's point of view. Ideal description is as if a viewer is thinking to himself, or 'somebody' telling him to watch the video because it is really great. This somebody MUST NOT BE THE SUBMITTER but a fellow viewer telling how good the video is.

While writing a good description, submitting a good post / video, you must be on side A of the line of separation. And believe me this applies to every piece of creation in a process of communication.