Thursday, May 31, 2007

Windows Live Writer Beta 2 - new capabilities

Windows Live Writer Beta 2 has now been released with some very useful enhancements. It would make sense for most users to upgrade.

Here's my list of what is nice:

  1. It highlights spelling mistakes as you type. Reduces risk of publishing without checking spellings.
  2. You can add categories, or blogger labels.
    (Just click on the line below the main message window and your list of categories is presented. Check any that apply!)
  3. It allows you to add tables.
    You could do them earlier too, but had to create tables in FrontPage or some other HTML editor and paste the the resulting HTML code.

    Now it's easy to handle tables directly!
      Ever Seen A Sundog?
    You could even do a layout with tables!

    Wenpics on

To download and to get more detailed information you could visit:

Writer Zone: Windows Live Writer Beta 2 Now Available


BTW, while Beta 2 installs over the older version of Live Writer, it may be best to add the Weblog account afresh. Categories (labels) only started to function when I did so :-)


Is "India Everywhere" just a slogan?

Simon Robinson of Time magazine recounts incidents from his stay in India and concludes that:

... parts of Africa have better services and infrastructure than India, and just as good prospects for development. It's just that Africa hasn't yet come up with a catchy slogan to sell itself.

India Without the Slogans | TIME

I hope that Africa can make the most of their prospects.

The question in my mind is whether India Everywhere was just an empty marketing campaign.

Mr Robinson has a litany of woes to support his conclusion.

... one of them [a Global Fortune 500 executive] asked why his cell phone kept dropping out on the trip from the airport to his hotel. "It could just be that you were passing through the diplomatic area and there may have been security issues," offered an Indian colleague. "Or it could just be India."

Really? I live in the diplomatic area and do travel to the airport. It has never happened to me! 

New Delhi has several service providers, both CDMA and GSM, and they are not all equal. You get what you pay for. The Global Fortune 500 executive really ought to speak with his home service provider about the poor quality of coverage he got in New Delhi, when others have no problems (assuming he bothered to check and found this to be true).

The glitches could be due to incompatibility between the handset and the network protocols or configuration of the handset. But these things are a nightmare everywhere, including the US.

I was brought up in Delhi. In some areas, you had to wait for 15 years to get a telephone signal, not a few seconds. The long distance call charges were extortionate, if the service was available at all. And hearing the dial tone, when you picked up a phone was always a source of pleasure.

Incredible IndiaYes, India has the problems listed in this Time essay, but religious conflicts? Where in the world don't you have them? And the recent Mecca Masjid explosion in Hyderabad is a terrorist, not religious act. Surely the two are not same?

Yes, it is true that "compared to Beijing, which can decide to build a road today and start on it tomorrow, Indian authorities have to consult and win over the people".

It is true that "Fixing problems is difficult in a democracy". But even identifying the problems correctly is impossible without one. It is democracy that has prevented India from slipping into chaos despite the economic ruin that it was at the time of independence.

India is "a place of momentum and hope" at the moment. It hasn't arrived, but is surely on the right track.


Link: Incredible India

Friday, May 11, 2007

Workplace Relationships

professor blogs about the "kind of relationship the teacher is supposed to have with the students" and presents her viewpoint as follows:

The contract language is an attempt to change the focus from identity to the work itself. We may incidentally like each other or be annoyed by each other, but this is just the nature of being human. You work with people you wouldn’t be friends with sometimes.

Source: Who's your mama? « Is there no sin in it?

The same question arises in other types of workplaces too, indeed anywhere people spend a lot of time together. How do you treat colleagues much older or younger than you, or even own age?

A contracts approach is the logical one. It keeps the interactions Adult - Adult, which is highly functional. Yet, over a long period, most of us cannot sustain such interactions. Because, human beings need to relate to others as human beings. 

Rivier Classroom
Originally uploaded by FJ Gaylor Photography.

Furthermore, teachers, and often managers too, need to exert a good bit of influence that may not be possible in interactions modelled around contracts.

Think To Sir, With Love.




To understand To Sir, With Love, do read the AWB's wonderful response on her blog. An excerpt:

For example, one of the rules of the class is that they will not complain about their grades for 24 hours after receiving a marked paper. Why? Because I have written loving things on them. I have spent hours and hours tending to each of their needs, as I am able, looking for every shred of thought, humanity, understanding, and skill that I can, and written encouragements to find more. To flip back to the number of the grade and whine about it is a breach of our contract.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Beauty in flow

What is the best way to send a small round object the longest possible distance?

How can you obtain an accurate likeness on paper?

How can you most faithfully control production of sound?

Well, the best way to send up a projectile is not to swing a golf club. A controlled explosion in a tube would achieve the same result, more accurately.

Obtaining a likeness? Not by dabbing colour on paper, but rather by operating a timed mechanical shutter. And using a series of automated processes to finally transfer micrograms of ink to a surface.

And computers can play musical scores. Repeatedly. Slavishly. Accurately.

Why is a well-executed golf swing such a beautiful sight and a pleasure to execute? What infuses beauty in a charcoal portrait?

Why is the accuracy of MIDI sequencer a spoiler?

Of course, a musical composition is not fully captured in the score and requires interpretation--that is, introduction of fine differences between what is written and rendered. These deviations aren't noise. They have a logic that the mind can appreciate, but not analyze.

If the mind can't analyze these differences, did the composer grasp the full beauty of the piece when he put down the notes?

I suspect very often this beauty arises from body own's behaviour, its limitations and knowledge of its own abstract proportions.

Who creates a beautiful dance? The choreographer or the dancer? Why do we find it beautiful?



dancing in degas shadow Originally uploaded by jenink.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Where to get your car serviced in New Delhi?

In today's post Stephen J. Dubner blogs about IBM's exceptional customer service that made him wish that:

... IBM made more things so I could buy them and know that if something went wrong, the repair process would always be this good.

Source: Freakonomics Blog » Should IBM Run the DMV, CIA, and TSA?

Almost immediately one of his readers (Kent, unfortunately no url) asked:

Why is the co-author of Freakonomics buying overpriced insurance/warranty for a computer?

Good point. However, exceptional service is just such a magical thing that it makes you price blind.

Today a V-belt in my car ripped as I was driving to office. At 3.30 in the afternoon, with the Sun at its fiercest.

In some distress I rolled into the office with a noisy, flailing piece inside the bonnet. A friend suggested that I contact Himalayan Motors in INA market to have it fixed.

They agree to pick up the car and reach my office in less than 30 minutes.

  • The car is examined and the offending V-belt cut away with a blade in about 5 mins.
  • One of them recognizes that the car has visited their workshop earlier. (True. More than a year ago!)
  • The car is delivered back in little over an hour.
  • Two belts replaced (the other was also worn out).
  • Also, some length of rubber tubes (hardened due to engine heat), one T-joint (wrong size) and a rubber grommet (disintegrated) replaced too.

Total cost to me? Rs 270 (less than 6.6 US dollars), all inclusive.


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