Of Attitudes

Munch over this revelation I had yesterday:

When you break the rules, you’re in Rome, doing as the Romans do. When others break the rules, they’re moronic idiots who’re spoiling the very essense that keeps us civil.

Adlabs Wins Chandigarh FM Frequencies @ Rs. 15 Crore!

Incredible as it sounds, Adlabs bid a whopping Rs. 15 crores for Chandigarh’s FM frequencies and they won. The company is backed by Anil ‘Reliance’ Ambani (he bought it last year). The second bid for Chandigarh was from Bhaskar Group (the publishers of Dainik Bhaskar) for Rs. 10 crores. Apparently Chandigarh got the highest bid among the 21 cities for whom the bids were invited.

Chandigarh lacks a good radio station. We only have two: Local AIR and the limited duration Kasauli’s retransmission of AIR Delhi’s FM station. This is underlined by Rajesh Sawhney (President, Reliance Entertainment):

We have managed to get the key cities of Punjab, including Chandigarh. These markets are under-served by radio and we see great advertising potential here, especially from local advertisers.

So with Adlabs entry, things are finally looking up and maybe in another decade or so, we’ll have a healthy competition between different radio stations here.

Passing The City Pass

I don’t understand why only 256 passes have been issued under the City Pass scheme till now. At 300 bucks for a 4-wheeler, it’s pretty reasonable (that’s 60 parking entries – 2 a day on an average). If nothing else, it’s pretty convenient to carry the pass around rather than trying to find a non-paid parking or shelling out change every time you enter a paid parking area. People are doing the wrong maths.

Coldest Night In A Decade

Yesterday night was recorded to be the coldest night in the last decade, with temperatures dropping by a whopping 5 degrees below normal to 1.8 degrees Celcius. Heck, Shimla was warmer at 4.4 degrees yesterday night! No wonder I was feeling slightly chilly.

Saying Goodbye

Sometimes people come into your life and take up an unassuming, yet special place. You can’t really place why it happens and at times, you don’t realise their importance, till they leave. The more emotional make promises of keeping in touch, mailing regularly, and at times, maybe a little more than that. But it usually tapers off and eventually they become a memory.

Why don’t people realise the importance of saying goodbye?

Why do people pretend that it’s not the end and make a ghost out of what could be a monument?

Are we such cowards or so driven by our pretentious pride to show how unaffected we are that we become unkind enough not to state in clear words and communicate to a person our appreciation of their role in shaping us?

My company’s HR manager has moved on in her career and yesterday was her last day in office.

About 2 years ago, when I met her for the first time, I was a very different person from what I am today. A considerable amount of my conscious decision to be a better manager and a better person was a result of the chain reaction she set off in the company. We had a lot of fights initially and though things quietened down as we developed a mutual respect and a ‘hands-off’ approach toward each other, things never really became rosy (we had a verbal duel just a fortnight ago). She dropped the right phrases at the right time, discreetly pointed out the direction to take, was a patient mentor when it came to handling people and in general, taught me some valuable lessons.

I am going to miss her in this office. I wish I had said my goodbye better.

Another Milestone In Cancer Treatment

A milestone has been reached in cancer research. We now know how secondary tumours form (slightly better report at BBC).

Instead of a cell just breaking off from a tumor and traveling through the bloodstream to another organ where it forms a secondary tumour, or metastasis, researchers in the United States have shown that the cancer sends out envoys to prepare the new site.


TinyDisk blows my mind by how it works.

TinyDisk is a program from saving and retrieving files from TinyURL and TinyURL-like services such as Nanourl. It overlays a write-once-read-many anonymous, persistent and globally shared filesystem. Once something is uploaded, only the database admin can delete it. Everyone can read it. No one can know who created it. Think of it as a magical CD-R that gets burned and placed on a network.

Yeah, I know it’s not very useful in practical sense but as a concept, it’s a great example of out-of-the-box-thinking.

Ericsson To Set Up 2 Units in India

Ericsson is setting up a R&D unit & a global services delivery centre in India. Nice. I wonder if this means the mobile phones will be any cheaper. (pause) Naah, I didn’t think so either. :)

WTH is a global services delivery centre?

Pakistan & India – Enemies Forever?

Somebody speaks the truth aloud. Dr Farooq Hassan, the only lawyer to have served as advisor to four Prime Ministers of Pakistan and a leading jurist says:

A military government can never solve the problems with India, including Kashmir. Because if they do it, the reason of their existence disappears. Pakistan has the fifth or sixth largest army in the world and it is not there to fight either Iran, China or Russia.

I don’t see a merger of Pakistan back into India possible anymore though I still would like to think that us people can do it if we build up enough momentum. Military or political decimation of any other type of the smaller country is an impossibility of course.

Enemies forever? :-(

Angry Suspended Employee Sets Boss’ Car Afire

This guy got so upset about his boss suspending him, he went to his Boss’ house in the early morning and set his car on fire!

On Latest Jakob’s Alertbox: Top 10 Design Mistakes in Weblog Usability

I respect Jakob Nielsen a lot and mostly he makes a lot of sense. Especially, he stands for improvement in, and therefore talks a lot about, two topics that’ve been close to my heart: UI & Usability.

His latest Alertbox column titled “Weblog Usability: The Top Ten Design Mistakes” surprised me by its appearance; wasn’t expecting him to write on the subject this early. The introduction at the top really does make sense and clearly shows he understands the unique nature of blogs.

When I started reading the list of mistakes, I started nodding my head.

  1. No Author Biographies: Okay, I’m guilty of this and i’m going to correct this immediately. My About page has needed the edit for a long time anyway.
  2. No Author Photo: Guilty again but I don’t think this is going to change for me.
  3. Nondescript Posting Titles: Not guilty. :)
  4. Links Don’t Say Where They Go: Not guilty (mostly). :) However, though I agree that such links do indeed bring the usability of the blog down, it is usually taken for granted by the users. They want the commentary and not names to links and where they encounter strange blogs and do not trust the author, they indeed do take the necessary care before clicking.
  5. Classic Hits are Buried: Partially guilty of this but largely due to the fact that I don’t know WordPress hacking yet.
  6. The Calendar is the Only Navigation: Agree. WordPress provides categories though and therefore, not guilty. :)
  7. Irregular Publishing Frequency: Very guilty. 😉 However, this is a slightly borderline thing. I don’t think that the publishing frequency is such a big usability issue. In a way, if you think about it, it does bring the overall usability down of a blog but is it so much that it be listed as Mistake #6 in Weblog Usability Designs Mistakes list? I disagree. BTW, is it even a design issue?
  8. Mixing Topics: This is something that is slightly controversial. Perhaps partially true for a narrow segment, mixing topics is not really such a big usability issue with blogs. They are supposed to mix topics unless they’re subject-specific blogs. Most people who post different subjects on such blogs do it very intentionally and fully knowing that it’s going to be for the better of their blog and themselves. In a way, this is not much of a usability issue either, especially in light of the discussion in #6—the Categories feature that is in use in almost all blogs now very efficiently takes care of this issue.

But IMHO, #9 (Forgetting That You Write for Your Future Boss) and #10 (Having a Domain Name Owned by a Weblog Service) are nothing but pure advice on content. Whether or not somebody will be able to attribute a certain piece of information to me decades after I’ve written has nothing to do with the usability of my blog. Similarly, having a certain provider’s name in the URL of my blog has no effect either and is purely a non-affecting cosmetic that, if it makes a difference, does so only because of a psychological bias in the user’s mind.

This article is going to get a lot of press in the Blogosphere (heh) and I’m looking forward to reading other people’s opinions and rants.

Chandigarh, Panchkula, Mohali – The Tricity

Recently I find myself talking more and more about what’s happening in, around and about my country and its people, especially the Tricity even if I might not have been posting about it on the blog. Thus, I added the categories to the blog and plan to start doing just that.

Tricity? That’s Chandigarh and the satellite townships of Panchkula and Mohali. I’m waiting for the day when they are combined to create the Chandigarh Metropolitan Area (CMA). That seems unevitable; might take a few decades though (unless a Paki nuke wipes out the area… heh). Dark humour aside, I don’t remember where I read the three referred to as Tricity but I liked it as a noun and started referring to the three as such. I plan to formalise it completely now by using it in my posts.

In related news, I found Metroblogging through some link. It seems like a great idea. So I applied for Chandigarh. If you’re from Tricity and think you can post at least 3 times a week, perhaps you should apply as well. A city shows up on their list when they have 10 bloggers for one.

Hackers Ship Software Before They Put On Pants

The first paragraph of the foreward by Blake Ross to Hacking Firefox : More Than 150 Hacks, Mods, and Customizations by Mel Reyes reads:

If software is an art—and I think it is—then I must be the only artist in the world who advocates defacing his own work. But if ever there was a product designed for hacking, Firefox is it. Because Firefox is an open-source project, its lifeblood—its source code—is available to hackers the world over. And I do mean hackers. These guys ship software before they put on pants.

That kicked me. In a good way. BTW, ever tried asking the law enforcers on what they define a hacker as? 😉

American Senator Lantos Beats Chest, Brain Rattles Down To Ankles

It would go lower if there was space or outright reject his physical self since he doesn’t seem to be using it in any case. “Abject Lesson” indeed!

I am tempted to write to PMO to reject the resolution in IAEA irrespective of our independant analysis and take on the situation in Iran, just to show Lantos and his peers the middle finger for bad-mouthing thus.

And I wonder if he realises that he’s pissing off a lot of NRIs in California (his home state I believe).

Family: hisTree

An accidental click took me to Kartooner’s blog, and specifically to his latest post about family history.

I have a family tree at home that traces all descendants from about a dozen generations ago. When I saw it for the first time, I told my father I didn’t believe we would have that many directly related relatives that we know about. He smiled and traced back a few generations, fondly remembering his distant uncles and fore-fathers and what they were famous for. Then he told me a surprising fact about our recorded family history.

This family tree was drawn by my distant cousin who got all the information from a group of people who track family lineages and record them. It is their job. They come from a village in Rajasthan, returning to our village every 25 years or so and noting down all the new births, etc. All my cousin had to do was track them down, go through their books and note down the information he wanted. My family’s tree can be traced back quite a few hundred years actually.

In my last trip to my village in Uttar Pradesh a few months ago, my Tau Ji (uncle) took me visiting all our ancestral havelis (mansions, houses… call them what you will). And in one he pointed downward and said, “This is where our family started in this village”. We belong to Alwar in Rajasthan and had settled down in Uttar Pradesh about 300 odd years ago. Most of the Rajputs from that belt are there because of that ‘requested’ migration.

Like Kartooner pointed out, it’s truly an amazing feeling knowing where one has come from, who the ancestors were and what they did, if they were famous about anything and if so for what. I know my history and am proud of it. I’m glad there were people who documented it. I’m glad the stories have been passed down the ages.

Many are not this lucky.

Doc Writer

I have volunteered my time to help update and complete the documentation for Sylpheed-Claws for the soon-to-be-released v2.0.0. Paul has started a mailing list already. If you are a SC user and want to help out, join up. :)

War On Procrastination

Ain’t it outta this world that within a few hours of me declaring a personal war on procrastination (one of the biggest evils in me), I find that 43 Folders has a post about it? Go read it; it makes sense sense too.

Sharper Claws!

Sylpheed-Claws has hit 1.9.14 and with an astounding amount of updates, fixes, and new goodies!

From a UI perspective, it contains three big improvements worth mentioning:

  • Colourisation of quotes, signatures and URIs in Compose window. If you’ve ever read an email that shows you different colours for different ages of quoted text, you’ll realise that the moment you take this concept to the compose window, the intuitiveness and ease of replying increases manifold. Having it colour coded makes identification of various levels/ages of the message so fast and easy, once you start using it, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it!
  • Subfolders of Drafts, Queue, Sent, and Trash now behave like their parents. You could always create subfolders to these special folders but they always behaved like regular folders. For example, if you saved a draft of a message and moved it to a sub-folder of Draft, you could not double-click it and resume editing. Now you can. It makes sense to work like this, and now it does.
  • Filtering and Processing rules can be named. One of the things many people perhaps had problems with was that after creating rules, SC showed them exactly like that: rules. If you had two similar rules with subtle differences, you would either need to remember which one was which or open them up to verify. Now, you can simply assign an easy-to-remember name to each rule and drink some hot chocolate that will look good with that smile you’ll have when you do.

There are many other UI related small updates and fixes (some of them important) in this release among a host of other things. I’m so hoping Thorsten comes back soon and releases a Win32 build of it. 😉

Sidenote: Colin bought a new laptop after his iBook had a bath. And because of that:

* tools/asus_mailled.sh
A new script to blink an ASUS laptop’s mail LED when there is unread mail.

Now you know which one he bought. 😉

Pareto’s Rule & Indian DJs

Like many other things, the Pareto’s rule also applies to the Indian DJs: 80% of them have heard only 20% of the music they ought to have.

I listen to a lot of music myself: bought, borrowed, gifted, and stolen. Perhaps because of this, and/or because I had the right friends, I was in contact with the best DJs of Chandigarh around 2000 or so. As things came to pass, which they have an annoying habit of regularly doing so, they moved on to better jobs, and I became busy in other things and didn’t really keep in touch with them, or to get acquainted with or forge any friendship with those who filled in after them.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday, I went to Down Under (it’s a bar/restaurant in Sector 17, in Hot Millions 2’s basement) and quite a popular spot for guys. I had the pleasure to listen to three DJs there and they mostly did a nice job too. Of the 4-5 hours or so I was there, we mostly had fun drinking, eating and listening. They even tried playing a bit of rock: GnR, Metallica, etc. The usual suspects.

I ended up talking to them. I’m going to return there today evening with my CDs of Disturbed, Static-X, Taproot, and Thousand Foot Krutch and see how they take this stuff.

Drinking Coke Like Water

You know… I just realised, drinking coke like water when you’re thirsty is a bad idea.