Friday, December 28, 2007

The Best of Times

It was built with the idea that good time would last forever.

But like the Paradise Theatre, New Delhi's Chanakya Cinema was closed down this week.

It was in the 70's that I saw my first movie at Chanakya: Lost in the Desert--the story of a small boy surviving in the desert after a plane crash. It's not a movie often remembered today, but I can still recall the vivid grains of sand projected on the finest screens of its time in New Delhi.

Chanakya was an experience unlike any other. In its early days, the movies were mostly Hollywood, though a few years late; and the crowd, expatriates and the rich that lived around the area. The quietness of the surroundings, the bold architectural style of the theatre building and when you entered inside, the plush carpet--everything in Chanakya had character. For India passing through difficult times, it was a piece of the future that we hoped to create.

As a schoolboy I heard of the technical challenges in designing the "structure and the acoustics" (yes, the very words of the storyteller), with assistance from the nearby IIT.  Don't know how much of that story was true, but it made us want to grow up and do big things.

India has since arrived. And so have the new generation of malls and multiplexes around Delhi, one of them being planned for the hallowed ground where Chanakya stands today.

The city of Delhi has been rebuilt at least 6 times in last 2000 years. So one structure being razed to make way for another, is perhaps par for this course.

Nevertheless, the memory of Chanakya shall remain in the hearts of men and women of Delhi, who can associate events in their lives with movie posters that adorned its walls at the same time.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Beware of who automatically sees your shared feed in Google Reader!

Google has added your friends shared items right inside the Google Reader. See the link highlighted below:

Google Reader

It is a great way to share the feed with chat friends on Google Talk, EXCEPT:

It appears that your blocked contacts would also see your shared feed when they begin to use Google Reader. While the shared feed is public, you may not want it to appear automatically in blocked contacts' accounts.

If so, you have to delete their contact information from your address book!


My shared items from Google Reader

Tried EVERY SEO trick and failed? Read Jonathan Morrow

There is a technique to making your reader follow the words effortlessly.

If they read, they also comment, subscribe or link. After that what you've learnt in SEO school may prove useful.

Getting them to read is the key. And it works like this:

Google would always find you and send a few visitors. But visitors don't automatically become readers. You've to entice them to read. If they read, they feel a little compulsion to act. For instance, some of them might give you a link.

But it's not for us to worry about links and how they convert to PageRank. It's for Google to worry about their technology and to send visitors to pages that people read. We can trust them to keep tweaking their methods and find content that people like to read.

Read Jonathan Morrow for content, and you'd learn something useful. But study his method to entice you to read on, and you've cracked the code!

Try Jon's latest post on Copyblogger. You may want to think how you'd treat this subject before reading the piece.

Your writer's muse is like a puppy. It needs care and discipline and if you treat it well it will be your best friend for many years to come.

read more | digg Jon's story


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Monday, December 17, 2007

Nature's way: Does he snore for you?

981269875_32a6377cf6_b Source:

ninjapoodles, who relates an interesting story about the picture.

She also blogs at Ninja Poodle.


Does it constitute an explanation that snoring is caused by the vibration of soft tissue at the back of the throat?

That's like saying that the coqui frog produces ear-splitting calls because of the vibrations from a sac near its mouth. Of course, but why?

Click here to learn about frog communication. For a theory about snoring read on.

Such a theory must explain:

  1. Why does it affect men far more than women?
  2. Why does it seem to switch on in middle age?

It must also explain why evolution hasn't worked to eliminate it when:

  1. Women don't consider snoring attractive and
  2. It could cause a serious disorder called sleep apnea in the snorer.

Could it be that snoring offers (or once offered) a survival advantage

Quite likely, when you consider:

  • It isn't a health problem, unless it becomes excessive and occurs in conjunction with other conditions, such as obesity. Well , what is not a health problem in its more severe or excessive form?
  • The snorer can sleep undisturbed. Actually, so can his companion in bed, unless there is some other underlying reason for her disturbed sleep.

But what could be its survival advantage? Perhaps, the fact that snoring loudly can scare away animals that may attack a sleeping family.

Plus, an adult male would be the best choice for tackling an animal that comes snooping:

  • He would be strong, and skilled, enough to take on a wild animal that may be reasonably repulsed
  • The one to sacrifice, should this become necessary. He would have already passed on his genes to the next generation.

Oh, btw, animals also snore. It would make sense for them to snore too, isn't it?


Thursday, December 13, 2007

When all information might reside on your iPod?

To the prediction that all content in the world would easily fit inside an iPod by 2020, Amit Agarwal asks a relevant question:

Interesting but if these Google-iPod predictions happen to come true, we would definitely need something like a Google Mini Search Appliance for our Apple iPods.

Source: Google: All Content In This World Will Soon Be in Your iPod | Digital Inspiration Technology Guide

But wait a second. Are we taking of all content of the year 2020? Can we even estimate how much content that might be?

Yes, cost of storage has dropped dramatically, but many other technologies have seen similar improvements that could cause a content explosion. Network speed, for instance.

Or take cameras and video recorders in cell phones. What might be the impact of streaming high-definition video produced continually by every cell phone? And the impact of inexpensive bandwidth to store all of it online?

Yes, much of the content so produced may be pointless, but would that deter us?

We may actually never need much storage on an iPod, no matter how many functions we can think of fitting into it today. The memory required may be no more than what's needed to operate a cache for the ever connected iPod of 2020.


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Capturing essence in a few strokes

With a few pen strokes, Hugh of gapingvoid captures Barcelona's church, Sagrada Família.



The church appears to reach out to heavens in much sadness, if not anger.

The pictures I took of the church (coincidentally at the same time as Hugh was there) don't capture the feeling as accurately as his sketch.

I played with one picture in Photoshop, but the results, even when interesting, weren't art.