Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Where is my home?

Delhi is beginning to get colder. This morning there was also a light drizzle.

Why does such weather make one happy?

Tens of millions of years ago where human ancestors were born in Africa or Eurasia, the climate may have been just like this.

Since then not only humans but weather too probably drifted away from what was paradise.

However, occasionally, we can still experience it.

Lovely morning!

Have a great day!


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Monday, September 17, 2007

Milan's first Twittergram

Milan's first Twittergram
Originally uploaded by Robert Scoble.

Robert Scoble recorded a Twittergram to announce the birth of his son.

Something about the first cry that just gets your attention. It’s different than any cry that’s come since.

Source: Two days of Milan — his first Twittergram story — BlogTalk Radio « Scobleizer

I know what Robert is saying.

Nearly 15 years ago, when I heard my own son cry for the first time, I was startled. It was a voice that I recognized instantly--and unmistakably. It was my grandmother's!

When he cried again, I tried to hear carefully. The resemblance was much less obvious.

It was gone in a few hours.


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Monday, September 10, 2007

The menace of chain mail

Did you receive the warning that:

  • Some erasers contain formaldehyde?
  • Most major brands of lipstick contain dangerous levels of lead?


Surely somebody tipped you off about Microsoft and AOL coming together to give away thousands of dollars?

How do you deal with these forwards?

I've tried pointing out obvious errors in the story with a link to, or other sites debunking urban legends. Mostly it doesn't help. Some cheerfully say oops, and send another forward within the next hour. Others remonstrate that they were only trying to he helpful.

It doesn't occur to the decent, and otherwise intelligent folks, that they jeopardize their own and their friends' email addresses, while wasting everyone's time, attention and patience.

I wish Google--because they are the best, but also other email providers--would add the following functionality to their email:

  1. Trap email with dozens of addresses in the body or the headers at the sender's end, warn him or her of the danger and offer to strip out the addresses. (Facility to strip out email addresses from forwards would be useful otherwise too.)
  2. Block suspicious messages (like they do with attachments) at the source,inform the sender that the story could be a hoax, provide links to verify the facts, and suggest that the message could embarrass the sender.
  3. Let people elect to have their email address removed from suspect chain mail messages, before these are sent out. Of course, this can work only if the sending and receiving address are with the same email provider, or across co-operating providers.

Meanwhile, please, somebody suggest what to do.


Saturday, September 08, 2007

No Robert, small publishers needn't worry

Robert Niles argues that if service providers are allowed to offer premium access to corporate clients, it threatens net neutrality.

He would like to see legislation to prevent the such a move.

The industry's plan ... would charge individual publishers different rates for bandwidth based on negotiated deals. AT&T, for example, could cut a deal with Fox News, serving its content to subscribers at a faster rate than that of the New York Times. And people-powered sites from DailyKos to Free Republic would be left with the digital scraps, their readers waiting while AT&T gives higher priority to requests for webpages from its corporate partners.

Source: It's up to Congress now to protect Net Neutrality

Bandwidth cost is hardly the dominant factor in distributing content. It is zero for millions of bloggers. Who pays their bandwidth cost?

Answer: Those who derive economic profit from their outpourings.

Technology has made the Long Tail of publishers economically viable for hosting services that find a way to make a profit from them.

For a healthy tail, it is necessary that its economic viability be preserved, but that's not a task for legislation or government policy.

I don't worry about Fox News, they have to worry about


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Problems installing Windows Live Writer

The new Windows Live Writer is out and making waves in blogosphere.

I had the misfortune that it failed to install on either my desktop or laptop, connecting through two different networks. This happened with XP Professional and Home editions.

The problem got solved following advice on this page.

If you are having problems installing Writer, Messenger 8.5 or Mail, in particular if the the Windows Live installer disappearing halfway through (after a Windows Vista UAC prompt if enabled), this may help.

  1. Close all Windows Live applications
  2. Navigate to C:\Program Files\Windows Live and delete the Installer folder
  3. Navigate to C:\ProgramData and delete both Windows Live Installer and WLInstaller directories if you have them.
  4. Reboot (important!)
  5. Reinstall the application you want to install

Windows Live Installer problems? Try this. - LiveSide - News blog

(Step 3 is not for XP and I didn't do anything here. You may read the full post and discover more about the problem and a link to the official solution, none of which I have tried.)

Post made from the mint fresh Windows Live Writer 2008!


Happy fallout of Keystroke loggers

Amit Varma writes about an initiative of the Mumbai police that would cause such distress in the population that the terrorists may be popping champagne:

A few days ago, Mumbai’s police revealed their plans to install keystroke loggers in Mumbai’s cyber cafes, besides imposing licensing requirements on them.

This is done ostensibly to fight terrorism, and here are the implications for you and me. Whenever we surf from a Mumbai cyber café, everything we type will automatically be captured on record. Our email passwords, every message we type, the sites we visit, the pictures we download: everything will be stored in police records, rendering us, effectively, naked in their eyes.

India’s Cops Get Orwellian - The India Uncut Blog

However, things might actually turn out a lot happier for everybody, if you carefully consider the implications.

If the police enforce it aggressively, it might popularize:

  1. OpenID, thus avoiding login at individual sites. I shall provide a low cost OpenID service with a mouse activated onscreen keyboard. :-) Yes, with randomized layouts, in case mouse trails are also logged.
  2. Skype and other voice and video services.
  3. The sign language over Skype. Thus making communication easier for the hearing impaired in the non-virtual world, with wider benefits to society.
  4. Touch screens, light pens and other types of digitizers.

Cyber cafes might vertically separate into two business lines:

     (a)  WiFi service providers,  and

     (b)  laptop renting services.

This is to be welcomed. Internet cafes forcing you to rent their outdated PC's, or regular cafes renting their expensive WiFi are both unholy economic alliances.

The credit card companies would have to smarten up and improve security, if they wish to survive. No citizen groups could have forced them to do it, without this initiative by the police.

With so many things to look forward to, we really need to worry about any rearguard action to derail the scheme.

Two likely groups of spoilsports are:

  1. The policemen, who'd refuse order to scan the cyber logs. And I don't blame them because it would be the most extreme form of torture. How many million lines of "hi, wassup?" can anybody endure?
  2. The lawyers, who might have it declared against the law.

Whatever, there's sure to be fun in days to come.