Friday, February 26, 2010

How Blogger.com Began

The accompanying TechCrunch article.

This is sheer nostalgia! I remember coming cross mentions of 2 websites in an Indian IT magazine bought by Sebastian when he was staying with us for a few days in Pune.

Yodlee.com was decidedly useful and I found its credentials impeccable. Over the years, this service invented by a bunch of Indians in the US has steadily acquired customers (though mostly through 3rd parties like Mint.com) and become the indisputable leader in financial account aggregation.

Blogger.com, however, sounded very interesting but rather useless. I couldn’t understand what the ‘archive’ was supposed to do, why one wouldn’t prefer the ‘conventional’ way of publishing to the ‘blogging’ way and what blogging was supposed to achieve anyway. To put it flatly…I didn’t quite get it. But I liked its very geeky publishing tool, sort of made me feel ultra important as I waited impatiently each time I clicked on Publish to post something even as trivial as a 1-liner. I stuck with it anyway, mostly to post impertinent webly thoughts. As my blog matured, however, I realized its potential and deleted most of my crap posts (except for the 1st post which was re-dated while editing…thus losing the maiden post date) and started all over again.

The anecdotal first post is rather interesting. I was desperately hoping that my long-lost friends would chance upon me during a web search. Using the blog would probably be the easiest way to advert, I reasoned. Search Engines would pick it up and soon I would be visible to them all. Well, search engines sniffed my page all right but I don’t think any of my pals I’ve reconnected through the web discovered me this way! But remember, these were the days the phenomenon of social networking was yet to take off. Flawed though the belief was that my friends would desperately seek me over the web, it led me to the wonderful world of blogging. Serendipity, that’s what I like to call it.

I use both Yodlee and Blogger to this day.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hachiko: A Dog’s Story

File:Hachi poster.jpg

Based on a true story, this movie moved me to tears. Love is timeless.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Together!

DSC00427 (FILEminimizer)

Hama Star 63 & Galileoscope finally come together!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Our free wine glass finally arrives!

Our first free wine glass finally arrived yesterday. The wait was so long, I had actually given up hope. We'll probably use it for aromatic candles.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

This just arrived

Hama Star 63

My very first tripod arrived today and I’m all agog! Ever since I flew from India last year, the skies have been a bit of a disappointment. Gone are the crystal-clear tropical skies and welcome to a perennial shroud that has rendered my astronomical refractor vestigial. Still, I was nursing a hope that the clouds could be somehow wished away and then my Galileoscope would help me peer into the larger satellites of Jupiter or the magnificent rings of Saturn.

The arrival of my tripod now makes me fully equipped for a night of bliss! My calendar shows me the phases of the moon and weather forecast. My RSS reader tells what to expect in the night sky, Stellarium twins the sky on my computer, my iPod stocks Miles Davis and Liszt to accompany me in my heavenly solitude and my wife stuffs the wardrobe with clothes to keep me toasted in the English chill. I must be living a charmed life!

The Hama Star 63 is really tall, it’s actually taller than me when fully extended – vital when you’re using a refractor at awkward angles. In fact, the height-advantage might even make the star diagonal dispensable in some cases. I generally wouldn’t prefer using the diagonal because of its lateral inversion property.

It took me all of 20 minutes to fully understand the functionality of this tripod and test it with my wife’s Sony. It looks sturdy, feels reasonably lightweight and the movement offers no unpleasant jerks. I’ve read some reviews saying it isn’t really a heavy-duty stand, a claim I couldn’t possibly repudiate this early. However, I’m reasonably sure I won’t ever need to mount an elephant atop the tripod either. A few telescopes, some cameras, maybe a pair of binoculars someday and that’s about it.

Apart from the refractor, our camera is expected to take joy rides perched atop the Hama Star 63 too. In fact, this may well become its main line of duty, what with the constantly overcast skies. No more asking strangers to click me & my wife together. No more lone pics when we’re arm in arm.

Now if only I could vacuum the clouds above!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Replying to a Question

The Question

My Reply:
An organization protests Mother Teresa being honored with a US postal stamp and you hit back with a belligerent punchline. 'Protesting' and 'attacking' are the same thing to you? Even a mere dissident voice is construed as an attack on faith? Might I ask what's your Tolerance Quotient? Well, I have seen enough religious tolerance all over the world and was wondering just how well the atheists measure up against your camp's exemplary track record. If Hitler's anti-Semitism and Islamic fundamentalism are anything to go by, atheists have at least the right to voice their opinion and peacefully protest without outraging the likes of you. Wouldn't you agree?

By the way, I'm a very proud atheist from India.

Friday, February 05, 2010

My Blogger template is so convoluted…

...it doesn’t even respond to the template editor properly! The constant tinkering over the past several years has piled up so much of spaghetti code that I shudder to think of a new template. Starting from scratch is probably not even an option anymore.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

A case for Mr.Semicolon

This might be useful in keeping the semicolon from going extinct. Give it a try!

Internet Subsistence

image
I remember the fateful day we had Internet access from home for the 1st time. The fact registered rather late since I was shaken by a rather nasty experience.
Accessing the Net from home in UK has proven to be a major challenge, strangely enough. Our staple source for now is the 3G network but I’m not much of a fan of 3, our eponymously christened wireless provider. We have a cap of 5GB per month…which is fair enough. What’s not so fair is the completely unreliable metering that comes with it. I just can’t imagine how sloppy can these people get in calibrating Internet usage. Is it really that much of a challenge?
A remedy to this weird problem is Networx, a free bandwidth monitoring and usage reporting tool. I’ve been using it for a few months now and the statistical feedback it provides is a godsend.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

It’s heartening…

…that according to this page, my blog is more popular than any one else’s from Jamshedpur! I hope I can resume posting full-length articles soon.