## Sunday, December 31, 2006

### Another math joke I hadn't seen before

I Wish I Were Your Derivative So I Could Lie Tangent To Your Curves!

### It's 7:33 AM in the morning on the last day of the year 2006

And still no one else has arrived to work.

I feel like I'm the last person left on earth..

### It's 3 AM in the morning on the last day of the year 2006

And I am still in my cubicle in the office pecking away on the keyboard to get this god forsaken discretionary application (the view flow (whatever the hell that means)) to work properly!!

I've worked till midnight almost every day over the past month and have even come to office every single weekend, i.e. no holidays at all.

It's been days since I ate dinner at home. One of my room mates works in the evening shift and still reaches home every day before I do. He's usually fast asleep when I leave for work in the morning (he sleeps till 12 or 1 in the afternoon or something) and it's been days that we've met even though we live under the same roof.

This sucks!! Just a reminder to myself to get a life ASAP!

So here are my new year resolutions for 2007 -
1. Never ever again be stuck in a situation where brute force is required over intellect and creative problem solving. Don't let me forget this even when I'm in ISB.
2. Turn vegetarian again for at least a full month and keep a complete water-only fast for atleast two days. No religious reasons just like that. Maybe I believe in The great man's theory of fasts leading to greater concordance between the body and the soul. Come to think of it I do.
3. Find a cure for laziness and procrastination.
4. Either think of a set of universal reasons for everything or accept that there exist inexplicable holes in the fabric of reality. Do not continue along this middle uncertain path I am currently following.
5. Atleast keep some of my new years resolutions this time around!!!
Happy new year 2007!

## Thursday, December 28, 2006

### Pilfering from Mr. Rao

My good friend and prolific writer Mr. D. M. Rao has a great personal blog which is sadly enough infrequently updated. Here is one gem from his pages that I found particularly enchanting -

(I hope he won't mind my quoting it verbatim)

----------------- Warning pilfered material ahead! ------------------------

LIVING IN THESE TIMES

Stocks are doing fine. Weather is being rated the best in a long time. Presidents are gaining weight; some of them growing luxuriant hair. Old politicos suddenly are rewarded some publicity. N-deals are being signed. N-deals are being rejected. Inflation is being controlled. Railways is bringing money to the country. The Swiss are getting richer. So are the Americans. So are the British. So are some Indians. Quarter results are being announced. Some are doing great. Salaries are being increased. Some are buying houses. Some cars. Damn the world – I am sad.

Gold is being dug. So is oil. Gold is looted everyday. I wear, he wears, you wear. Everyone wears branded clothes. Branded watches. Shiny shoes. Shiny cars. IPods are sold by the dozen. Every minute. Competition is kindling the long forgotten spirit. The human spirit. The stars are moving away. The sky needs to be darned. Diseases are born. Diseases are fought. I give a damn – I am dissatisfied.

Millionaires are made. Swords are bought. Paintings are auctioned. And paintings are bought. Animals are killed. Men are killed. Forests are murdered. Wood is burnt. Gods are born. Men are worshipped. Boys turn into men. Lust matures to respect. Respect fades into Vacuum. Mothers are killed. Mothers hang themselves killing the wife, the woman. Diamonds are polished. Diamonds are paired. Weed is grown. Weed is sniffed. Sixteen year olds turn seventeen. What the hell – I am not cared for.

Thoughts are dying. Ideas are clicking in everyone’s mind. Two headed creatures are being operated upon. Three eyes, four limbs. One heart. One dies; the other kills. Roads are constructed, flags are flashed. Television gets brilliant anchors. Brilliant shows. Of people dying. Of wars. Of jubilation. Of a ruler losing power. Of a little Miss flirting in public. Disgusting americanisms are born every minute. The English are ridiculed. Time is not honoured. Temples are built. Rats are worshipped.

But I am still hopeless.

------------------------ End of pilfered material -------------------------

Keep up the good work buddy!

### The present is boring!

I have realized that I am totally out of sync with the present time. I live in the future, I live in the past. The present is oh-so-boring run-of-the-mill, so everyday, the mundane. Give me the cutting edge or give me the antique, don't bore me with present, the present is boring.

The present is the utility, the essential. Like cell phones or clothes. It's something I'd buy for myself but only because I have to have to. If a close friend gifts me a cell phone or clothes, I'll kill him/her, or atleast indicate disagreement by raising my eyebrows accompanied with curt politeness.

Gimme the cool stuff from think geek. Gimme a binary clock (no that's boring, now that I have it on my lappy desktop thanks to Super karamba, bringing it into the present). Gimme a smoke emitting dragon toy. Gimme old Chinese coins with holes in the middle. Gimme PS3s and XBoxes and DSs. Gimme Ming Vases. Gimme realistic light sabres. Gimme old atari game consoles and cartridges with pong and tennis and space invaders. Gimme a pinball machine. Gimme Calvin and Hobbes/ Dilbert comics. I don't accept PS1s anymore.

## Wednesday, December 27, 2006

### Awsome Psyop (Psychological Operation)!

Quoted from New York Times December 10, 2006 edition

--------- QUOTE -------------

In March, the University of California at Berkeley men’s basketball team played its final home game against the University of Southern California, whose team was led by its star guard, Gabe Pruitt. Pruitt was in the midst of a terrific year for U.S.C., averaging about 17 points a game, and for Cal, as the U.C. Berkeley team is known, the game was a must-win if it was to get a bid to the N.C.A.A. tournament. Cal needed to figure out a way to keep Pruitt from having another monster outing.

The solution to how to neutralize Pruitt came not from a game plan of X’s and O’s but from military-style psychological operations. In the week leading up to the game, members of Cal’s Rally Committee, who earlier obtained Pruitt’s Instant Messenger screen name, created an I.M. account for a fictional U.C.L.A. coed named Victoria. “Victoria” began flirting with Pruitt, sending him photos of herself (pictures of a very attractive woman that the Cal students had taken off the Internet) and telling him that she and her friends wanted to party with him and his teammates back in L.A. after the game against Cal. Pruitt responded in kind, writing, “You look like you have a very fit body” and “Now I want to c u so bad,” and eventually giving her his phone number and agreeing to get together when he returned from the game.

On game day, when Pruitt went to the foul line for the first time, Cal students began chanting: “Victoria! Victoria!” and reciting Pruitt’s phone number. Pruitt, a 79 percent free-throw shooter on the season, missed both shots and had one of his worst games of the year, shooting 3 for 13 from the field. Cal won the game by 11 points and went on to the N.C.A.A. tournament.

After the loss, Pruitt said of the Psyop tactic: “I’ve never seen anything like that, that big. It’s up there.” He then added, “My dad got a kick out of it, but he kind of told me to be careful.”

--------- END QUOTE -------------

Awesome!! Now that's what I call a true Hack!

PS: A "Hack" being defined by me as -
"Getting things done efficiently and elegantly in the real world!"

## Thursday, December 21, 2006

### So what if I'm forced to use Windows at work

Take a look at my Desktop -

Apart from the Desktop background, notice that the taskbar is on the top.

i.e. the Gnome-way a.k.a just-the-way-I-like-it!

Not visible in the pic are Firefox, Open Office and VLC Media Player which provide me alternatives for their standard windows counterparts.

You can't take Linux out of a penguin head!

### Enter the Rainbow Versatile Disc (RVD)

Found the following on the net. There is obviously something absurd inherent in the claim. As someone points out in the comments on the source page itself -

"Wonder if you can reverse this process and save this into picture image and read it digitally from your computer and save gigabyte file to 100kb picture."

Ha! Clearly compressing several gigabytes of (non-redundant) information into a picture of smaller size can't be possible. The only way I see it possible is if the "Rainbow" image generated is of an extremely high resolution which would require gigabytes to store as a digital image! In that case I doubt if such printing/scanning technologies are available yet, and the "Rainbow Technology" is nothing but a fancy encoding/compression algorithm which is useless in real life.

I can't help but remember the hype generated a few years ago by this Indian claiming to be able to manufacture petrol from plants! What a load of **** that "Great Indian invention" turned out to be! Edit: The guy has since admitted that it was a hoax and has been arrested.

The original article follows -

While the war of the next-gen DVD worlds rages on between Blu-ray and HD-DVD (and up till some time ago, EVDs), the future of digital storage may not lie in plastic discs at all.

A student from Kerala has developed a new technology by which extremely large amounts of data can be stored on simple, regular paper. It works along the lines of barcodes, but instead of thick and thin bars, Sainul Abideen’s 'Rainbow Technology' uses various shapes in various sizes and colors, thus giving it the name.

Sainul has already demonstrated the technology in his college, during which a 45-second movie clip was played back from the regular paper using Rainbow Technology.

The advantage of the technology—other than the high capacity that one RVD provides (between 90 to 450GB)–the discs are manufactured from paper, which makes them more environmentally friendly, and also a whole lot cheaper.

The uses for the Rainbow Technology are vast. Magazines that currently bundle CDs or DVDs will only need to 'print' the data on one page, bringing the cost of production down considerably. The page can be read back by Rainbow readers at the consumer’s end.

Sainul is currently talking to a UK-based company about manufacturing Rainbow Cards, which will be about the size of a SIM card and hold up to 5GB of data. While current technologies also allow for similar size cards to store similar amounts of data (4GB flash memory cards), manufacturing of these card on a large scale will cost just Rs. 0.50!

### Open Source Hardare Projects

Everyone knows about the rapidly growing list of Open Source Software projects, and even Open Source Animated Movies! But do you know of any significant hardware projects with a similar Open Source nature?

There is the OScar project, whose goal is to develop and build a car according to open-source (OS) principles! This is certainly cool! They are currently in version 0.2 or an "early conceptual stage" but things seem to be moving. Since they will be using only Open Source (Free as in Speech) software for everything, they are facing a problem with finding suitable CAD/CAM tools, an area in which Free Software is definitely deficient.

Note: Someone really should develop a decent CAD/CAM package for Linux as Free Software. I think a Blender based solution would be the most suitable. Infact there is something called BlenderCAD but is hopelessly alpha with zero features. I also created R2D3 which simulates Robotic Arms in Blender but it certainly is no CAD package and isn't pretty even for Robotic simulation.

Then there are Zero Prestige, which designs kites and kite-powered vehicles and Open Prosthetics, which offers free exchange of designs for prosthetic devices.

More power to them all!

Levels 0-4

### Haskell combinators for easy html table creation

Everyone knows how tedious creating HTML tables in JSPs is when you have to mess with all the rowspans and colspans! Well yesterday I got fed up and decided to write a custom tag library for easy table creation.

The basic idea was to be able to compose tables together using combinators. So you can say -

"Put a single cell table with text 'Blah' above another table which has a cell with text 'Duh' beside another cell with text 'Doh'"

i.e. I was hoping to write code like the following -
<table:above><table:cell>Blah</table:cell><table:beside><table:cell>Duh</table:cell><table:cell>Doh</table:cell></table:beside></table:above>

I started to write out the library but got stuck somewhere along the way. Writing custom tags is hell if you are trying something even remotely complicated. Plus, we use Struts-1.0-the-ancient-one at work and it does not support simple tags. Within minutes of starting to churn out the code, I found my brain unnecessarily cluttered with all kinds of java housekeeping code. The mistake was mine. I should've fleshed out the logic before jumping to coding.

Haskell is a great language! No other language in the world can make you concentrate on the logic without bothering about implementation issues as well as Haskell does. Plus Haskell does combinators really well! That's exactly what I needed. I finished writing the set of Haskell combinators in about half an hour and 40 lines of code.

### What is the language of the following program, and what does it print?

[/dlflg/=u]dZ[lflglblp*lqlg*+lpla*lqlf*+sfsgsbdsalblex]dscZ[lb%O]sdzzKsa[nlaldx*lflg%O*sfdsalblex]dsuZ[.]zsqsssgsbnsfspselsn[lcxsslqdlp+spz+sqdx]dx

----------------End Quote------------------------

## Sunday, December 17, 2006

### Procedure involved to Start a Company (Private Limited) in India

Found this very useful information here -

Update! Jan 19th 2010. I have updated the links to point to actual locations now.

-- Quoted From this point onwards --

This information will be useful for those who are looking in a nutshell the steps involved to start a Private Limited company in India

1. First and foremost identify the Directors of the Company. Minimum of two directors need to present and Maximum of 8 is allowed.
2. All Directors should have DIN (Directors Identification Number). If you do not have one you can apply DIN online
Documents required for DIN

A. Identity Proof (Any one of the following)
PAN Card
Passport
Voter ID Card
Others (to be specified)
B. Residence Proof (Any one of the following)
Passport
Voter ID Card
Telephone Bill
Ration Card
Electricity Bill
Bank Statement
Others (to be specified)

3. Once you have got your DIN then you need to apply for Company name. You need to go with 5-6 names in the order which you prefer.If the name is not available then they go to the next one in the order you have provided.

4. You need to apply online for the name availability . You need to Fill in Form 1A. Forms are avilable at this

5. Once you have got your name approved you have to apply for the Incorporation of Company. For this you
will have to prepare Memorandum of Association which will detail what the company;s operations the first list of directors
who are going the be in the board need to be defined in this document. This should be applied along with Form 1. Once this has been approved make atleast 10-15 copies of your Certificate of Incorporation and Memorandum of Association and have it in a booklet form.

6. Once your company has been incorporated you can open a Current account in any of the leading banks for carrying out your operations. You will need to submit a copy of Certificate of Incorporation and Memorandum of Association along with Borad resolution to open the bank account.

7. Then you need to apply for TAN and PAN for the Company
https://tin.tin.nsdl.com/pan/form49A.html
https://tin.tin.nsdl.com/tan/form49B.html

8. If your services are in Software related area you can apply for STPI license which will give you certain benefits like Company need not pay tax for 5 years, there will be no import or expurty duty levied on software/hardware, You will get office spaces at lower rates at STPI units. These are few of the benefits of becoming an STPI member.

All this you can do on your own or you can outsource these to professional auditor. We did it through Auditor and it took almost three weeks (Upto Step 7 excluding STPI) and all charges(excluding sTPI) would approximately cost you Rs.25,000.

I am not sure how much it would cost if you do it on your own. I read in one of the blogs that in Delhi the whole
process was completed in 30 minutes after the e-Governance was launched.

Good Luck and If you need more information or any guidance drop in a mail.

### Startups in India

A chart showing the major startups in India

Startups in India is a nice website with interesting information for budding entrepreneurs in India. It has writeups on many existing ventures which I didn't even know existed. It's a must see!

Now lets take a peek at some of the startups in India (listed in no particular order) -

http://sangeetix.com/ - Music/Lyrics search engine
http://desimartini.com/ - Indian dating
http://IndianRadar.com/ - Aggregated news and social bookmarking
http://IndiaListed.com/ - Online classifieds
http://campuschai.com/ - Sorta like a job portal but also provides tools for campus recruitment process
http://humsabka.com/ - MySpace clone for India
http://guruji.com/ - India specific search engine
etc. etc. etc.

Notice a trend? These are all clones of some existing website cast into an Indian context! I understand that execution is more important than the idea but ripping off the ideas of someone else is not a model I endorse. I guess the $50 million takeover by ebay of Baazee.com (its Indian clone) has done a lot to encourage such "startups", but not many more Indian companies will be acquired so easily and such startups will simply wither away when the ongoing Indian dot com bubble bursts. There is something to be said about creating a truly new product that emerges from a crossing of creativity genius with vision, a magical moment that creates real startups like Apple, and it's time some Indians proved that we are also capable of it. PS: Wait for ILE :) ### ITRANS - Indian Language Transliteration Package iTRANS is a Tex based Open Source Indian language transliteration package, which means that it can convert text in English to the corresponding Indian language script. Needless to point out, it transliterates not translates. It has pretty cool looking output. Check out the examples.  gujaraatii hindii maraaThii sa.nskRRita baa.nlaa tamiz kannaDa telugu gurmukhii sa.nskRRita Here is an example taken from http://sangeetix.com/ which uses iTrans to provide lyrics of songs in Indian scripts -> Text like this - %\startsong\stitle{dhiime.n\-dhiime.n gaa_uu.N huu.N dhiire\-dhiire gaa_uu.N}%\film{Zubeidaa}%\year{2000}%\starring{Karisma Kapoor, Manoj Bajpai, Rekha}%\singer{Kavita Krishnamurthy}%\music{A R Rahman}%\lyrics{Javed Akhtar}%%% Contributor: BOL ANAMOL #12494 [V S Rawat], 01/02/2004%\printtitle#indian%dhiime.n\-dhiime.n gaa_uu.N huu.N dhiire\-dhiire gaa_uu.N haule\-haule gaa_uu.N tere liye piyaa%(i am singing slowly, for you, o my lover)gun\-gun mai.n gaatii jaa_uu.N chhun\-chhun paayal chhanakaa_uu.N%(i keep on humming and singing, i am making jingle sounds with silver jwelry on my feet)sun\-sun kab se doharaa_uu.N piyaa piyaa piyaa%(please listen, since long i am repeting, o lover)gulashan mahake\-mahake ye man bahake\-bahake%(the gardens are full of fragrance, these minds are intoxicated)aur tan bahake\-bahake kyuu.N hai.n bataa piyaa%(these bodies are not in control, why is it so, o lover)man kii jo haalat hai ye tan kii jo ra.ngat hai ye%(this condition of the mind, this color of the body)terii mohabbat hai ye piyaa piyaa piyaa%(this is caused by your love, o lover)piyaa piyaa ozi.ndagii me.n tuu aayaa to dhuup me.n milaa saayaa to jaage nasiib mere o%(when you arrived in my life, i received pleasant shadow in the scorching sunlight, my fate has become good)anahonii ko thaa honaa dhuul ban ga_ii hai sonaa aake kariib tere o%(the impossible was to happen, the dust has turned into gold, when i came near you)kahuu.N aur kyaa tujhe mai.n piyaa o%(what more can i tell you, o lover)terii nigaaho.n me.n huu.N terii hii baaho.n me.n huu.N%(i am in your eyesights, i am in your arms)Kaabo.n kii raaho.n me.n huu.N piyaa piyaa piyaa%(i am onto the pathways of my dreams, o lover)piyaa piyaa omai.nne jo Kushii paa_ii hai jhuum ke jo rut aa_ii hai badale naa rut vo kabhii o%(the happiness that i have achieved, the season that has come in full swing, may that season never change)dil ko devataa jo laage sar jhukaa hai jisake aage TuuTe naa but vo kabhii o%(the one whom the heart feels god, the one in front of whom the head bows, may that statue never get demolished)kitanii hai miiThii kitanii suhaanii tuune sunaa_ii hai jo kahaanii%(how sweet how beautiful is the story the that you have recounted to me)mai.n jo kho ga_ii na_ii ho ga_ii o%(the more i indulged in that, the newer i became)aa.Nkho.n me.n taare chamake raato.n me.n juganuu damake%(the stars shone in the eyes, the fireflies glittered in the nights)miT gaye nishaa.N gam ke piyaa piyaa piyaa%(the scars of worries disappeared, o lover)%#endindian\endsong% Gets converted into this (click to enlarge) - ## Saturday, December 16, 2006 ### Open Source Xara Xtreme Xara Xtreme is an Open Source Graphics Package for Linux! I haven't been able to try it yet but the screen shots look extremely impressive!! The image above is a vector illustration created entirely in Xara! I just gotta try this baby! ## Wednesday, December 06, 2006 ### MIT Open Courseware MIT OpenCourseWare is a free and open educational resource (OER) for educators, students, and self-learners around the world. It features MIT class notes, audio and video files. I was particularly impressed by the course material for Classical Mechanics Physics course taught by Prof. Walter Lewin. There is complete class footage for a large number of his classes from courses 8.01, 8.02, 8.03 and it is awsome!! I wish I had a teacher like that in my School/College. ## Tuesday, December 05, 2006 ### IE7: Turn off clear type to improve speed! OK, so it's been a few days after I installed IE7 on my work comp and it turned out to be a big mistake! IE7 in no way compares with Firefox or Flock, plus it is wayyyy slower! And because outlook uses IE, it too has become just as frustratingly slow. Well i found a solution to the slowness. I turned off "Clear Type" and things are relatively better. Flock is still the default browser on my system though! ## Monday, December 04, 2006 ### Free Lunch This one is sort of an economic puzzle. The puzzle is interesting in itself but I especially found the viewpoint of the author (not me!) intriguing. In all it is worth a look. Again, I cut-n-pasted it from the alt.buddha.short.fat.guy (Honestly :-))) newsgroup and am NOT the original author. <--Warning: Pilfered material ahead--> I have a puzzle for you. According to Maurice Levi in his book "Economics Deciphered" it was a Ph.D. exam question in economics at the University of Chicago. I guess I would never have gotten my Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago because I think their answer is wrong. But more of that later. First let me present the question. I will use Maurice Levi's wording verbatim: "There once was an upright and very proper Englishman who regularly took his summer vacation on a tiny, agreeable, Aegean island. The Englishman had returned to the island so many times that his credit worthiness had been established beyond any possible doubt. There was absolutely no chance that this Englishman's bank would fail to honour his checks and, indeed, all of them had always been honoured promptly. Since the Englishman's credit was so sound, the islanders were totally happy to allow him to pay by check, with the certain knowledge that they were good checks. Indeed, so well known and trusted was the Englishman on this tiny island that the islanders were happy to accept the Englishman's checks from each other. For example, if the restaurateur wished to pay the grocer partly with a check he had received in payment for a meal, the grocer was happy to accept the check. The grocer was then able to buy gas with the check, and the Englishman's checks circulated in this way around the island. Indeed, the checks were never returned to the Englishman's London bank for collection. Who paid for the Englishman's holiday?" Well, who did? Here is Maurice Levi's answer: "Clearly, the Englishman did not pay, since the checks were never returned to London. Then it was obviously the islanders, but which one of them? Because there is no last person to hold the checks - since everyone can spend the checks and everyone will accept them - it is not the last people holding the checks. O.K., then, who? The answer is that all the islanders paid, and not just the ones who sold things to the Englishman. They all paid because their willingness to accept the Englishman's checks had put the Englishman in the position of being able to "print" money. He had become like the central bank in every country, which can print money that people are willing to hold. (Indeed, they must hold central bank money since it is legal tender. It is against the law not to accept it.) By "printing" money, the Englishman had raised the tiny island's money supply. And as we know from the quantity theory of money, if we print more money, we raise prices. How, then, had the islanders paid for the holiday? They paid by being left with reduced buying power because of the higher prices. They paid through the inflation brought about by the circulation of the checks. The goods and services consumed by the Englishman with his newly created 'money' - **given an unchanged output of goods and services on the island** [emphasis mine, G.R.] - leaves fewer goods and services for the islanders to enjoy." My Comment: Well - it sounds reasonable. The Englishman increased inflation on the island and that was essentially a tax that everybody paid. But wait. What if the "output of goods and services on the island" increased because of the influx of capital. What if the waiter who served the Englishman his kippers every morning used the checks he got from the Englishman to complete the down payment on a new ceramics factory he had dreamed about opening. Suppose the general wealth (in goods and services) of the islanders increased because the Englishman's "money" made investments possible that were not possible before. Then inflation would have hurt nobody. Who paid in that case? In fact, is that so different from what happens when an American entrepreneur borrows$60,000 to modernise his factory. The bank loans him
the money; that is they add $60,000 to his account. But who paid for that$60,000? Well, the Federal Reserve System requires that the bank have
$10,000 in reserve, but where does the extra$50,000 come from? [See Secrets
of the Temple by William Greider, pp.59 - 61.] And who pays the banker's
salary? The bank can create money because people trust it. Just like the
Englishman on his beloved Aegean Island.

On the other hand, suppose the Englishman (by the way, no racial slurs are
intended, some of my best friends are English) had paid with pound notes,
instead of personal checks. Then everybody would say that HE clearly paid.
But the islanders would circulate the pound notes among themselves, just
like his checks. And if the notes never left the island the situation with
respect to them would have been exactly the same as it was with the checks.
Would you say that, in this case, the Englishman's holiday was paid for
twice? Once by the Englishman himself and once by the islanders?

So what's the answer? The answer is that the question is wrong. The crowd
that calls itself conservative has been trying to convince us that
everything must be paid for. That, in any interaction somebody wins and
somebody loses. If something good happens then something bad has to happen
in order to balance the books. Somebody must pay. They seem to believe this
although it is plain to everybody who cares to look that the air is free,
the sunrise is free, the rain is free. Good friends are free. Love is free.
Water used to be free. Wild berries are free. Who pays the wood thrush for
his concert? Who pays for the wonderful gifts of our forbears? Language,
literature, art, music, mathematics, the wheel, the idea of money, science,
central heating, plumbing, the idea of machines - all that. We accept it all
and exploit it, yet nobody pays.

It is the task of economists to trace and explain the flow of goods and
money. To do this they must deal with the fact that sometimes goods and
money are created out of nothing more than trust, sometimes not even that -
and sometimes they are destroyed. But the question "who pays" is a religious
question not an economic one. I believe this is always the case. I believe
that asking who is going to pay for health care, welfare, education, etc.
makes no more sense than asking "who pays for our delight when we spend an
evening with our friends?" Or "who paid for the Englishman's vacation?"

I believe that there is such a thing as a free lunch. Indeed we are all
guests, every moment of our lives, at a sumptuous free feast. We can
contribute to it, if we wish, and make it even more sumptuous for everybody.
All it takes is a certain amount of respect for our fellow guests at the
banquet table.

<--End--->

### Chacha search engine!

This one is a radical idea! Chacha (Chacha.com) is a search engine powered by human "Guides". Now that begets a distinct feeling of Deja Vu (remember About.com), but Chacha is different. Chacha homepage is spartan and resembles Google's except that you have an option to search with a guide. If you choose that option, you would be connected, in realtime, with a live flesh-n-bones guide who will "scour the deep web" (using google.com/ask.com or whatever the hell he/she pleases) and present you with the results. All the while you can happily chat with them and tell them exactly what you want! It's like having a research assistant that does all the heavy grunge lifting while you concentrate on getting work done. The people behind chacha pay these people for their hard work (in helping us anonymous junta) and that makes me wonder if they haven't lost their marbles. Let's see if their experiment holds up much longer.

## Saturday, December 02, 2006

### Internet Explorer 7 - more standards compliant?

In my work, I routinely create JSP pages from pre-supplied html prototypes. Now the guy (or girl? I've never met the person so I'm not sure) creates these prototypes using non-standards compliant html/css/javascript making them unusable on Firefox/Flock et all,which really bugs me! Of course my bosses are fine as long as the pages work on IE. Since the markup is IE specific, they obviously do and IE is what I am forced to use.

Not anymore! I recently switched to IE version 7 and it is obviously more standards compliant than it's predecessor! The pages are broken in both IE and firefox and I have some real ammo in my war against non standards-compliant code!

IE7 also looks and feels more like firefox (what with the slightly enhanced eye candy and tabbed browsing). Also it has shamelessly copied the convenient-search-textbox-to-the-right-side-of-the-address-bar from firefox. And surprise surprise,, the default search enging there is google! Not MSN, not Windows Live Search! Wonder why? Also, IE7 uses some Microsoft 'technology" called clear type which to me looks EXACTLY like the default fonts look&feel that is already present in most Linux distros (I think I first saw it in Mandrake 10.0).

So IE is following in firefox's footsteps, which is clearly the leader in the browser wars!

Add to this the irritating check for "genuine windows" that it performs at the beginning of the installation (which rules out IE7 for the vast majority of people in India using pirated windows as well as the smaller minority of pc owners without an internet connection) and you can be sure more and more people will switch to firefox, inspite of IE7's improvements.

All in all a great contribution from Microsoft towards strengthening the Standards promoting, Free Software community!

## Friday, December 01, 2006

### Ms. Dewey Search engine

The search results are so-so (based on windows live search).. but the idea is funny.. Gets old really fast though..

http://www.msdewey.com/