Keep the web free!

As a staunch an ardent netizen, I have been reading for sometime now, gruesome tales of censoring the web and my 4-letter vocab has two recent inclusions – SOPA and PIPA.

I was wondering if I was the only one to be overly concerned about the implications as I saw people on my social networks discussing ‘urgent and pressing’ matters like an asteroid that might collide with Earth a million years from now, global warming that might submerge all continents after we have reincarnated thrice and how contributing a cent towards the cause of world hunger will eventually solve the issue, if we are not already drowned by global warming or blown to smithereens by the asteroid.  😮

All this changed over the last few days when I noticed Piratebay hosting an anti-SOPA video in place of its logo on the homepage, Wikipedia blacking itself out for 24 hours and even almighty Google joining in the fray by blacking its logo out.

To profess my support, I Googled for a ‘wallpaper on free web, anti-SOPA’ but didn’t get anything at all except news sources covering the issue and story!! So I thought I will do my bit and came up with these wallpapers for most popular desktop, tablet and smartphone resolutions.  I agree they ain’t the best but it is a start. Maybe this effort (or the lack herein!) will inspire several of you to come up with better designs and messages – until we black out SOPA and its proponents permanently, desktop to desktop, mac to mac, smartphone to smartphone and tablet to tablet.

Here are some popular resolutions for your fave devices – if you want a specific resolution, kindly request in the comments and I will try and get you one soon. 🙂

Desktop::   800×600 | 1024×576  | 1366×768 | 1920×1080 | 2560×1600

Mac:: Macbook Pro | iMac

Smartphones:: iPhone 4 | Samsung Galaxy S | Motorola Droid | Google Nexus One | Samsung Galaxy Note

Tablets:: iPad | Samsung Galaxy

Facebook:: Profile Timeline banner




It took me four

Word count: 600 | Estimated time to read blog: 8 min

Image source:

When I was a teenager, I had a great fascination for leather jackets. I found it a cool add-on to the denims I was sporting in those days and neither John Travolta nor Arnold Schwarzenegger told me anything otherwise 😉

The first one was purchased after a surprisingly lucky break with the exams – my parents (and to this day, I myself) couldn’t believe I got such marks and as per terms decided before the exams, were compelled to buy it for me. I felt as great in it as a hippopotamus in a steam bath – the weather of Manipal is just not suited to leather jackets. But it was ‘cool’, you know! And in a short while i had quite a collection. Until…
…Until the day when I learnt that some being had to pay with its life to make me feel cool. It was then that the whole fascination came crashing down. The jacket felt as soft, as wonderful and as warm as before but it wasn’t the same thing at all. It still was the best jacket brand in the world – no other brand came close to it but I didn’t feel cool wearing one anymore.

Now you don’t need to be a student of marketing to realize that what just happened was a transition from a mindless, sense gratifying consumer to an informed one. I couldn’t ignore anymore the fact that the creation of that jacket was possible only by the death of something, however far removed and unimportant to me.

I have similar feelings about fireworks and crackers. To me, they signify the death of someone’s childhood. I also don’t promote movies of directors who repeatedly portray violence and glorify gangsters. To me, they signify actual deaths in the society as cinema is a very strong influencer and by glorifying such acts, there will be at least one among the viewers who will go ahead and commit such acts as are glorified.

Maybe I am over analyzing things. True, if you look at everything this way, no form of consumerism is ever possible. But to me, there are some more glaring than others and I choose not to ignore them for a start.

Moreover, you and I have a responsibility towards society – in the real world and online. Our choice and behavior will largely determine the future of how we all live in this very society. And in that, we can choose to support a Hitler who will promise great things at the expense of someone or a Mother Theresa who will promise equally great things by involving everyone. And it is my opinion that great tomorrows come from being open and allowing openness. A tomorrow however great, achieved by curbing/eliminating something forcefully isn’t worth the sunrise that heralds it.

To me, it is a sign of greatness and confidence to include everyone despite difference of opinion, conflicting business interests etc for the benefit of the collective good. It is a sign of insecurity and doubt to forcibly snub and exclude someone, not to mention a disregard for the collective good. How can such a one lead?

In making our choices, we at some point in time should cease to merely evaluate wrt our senses and employ rationale. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “The real seat of taste is not the tongue but the mind”.

So how many leather jackets does it take you to realize that you must look beyond that cozy feel and the hep looks?

Now read the title.

You can’t blame me for hit rate manipulations ;)


Word count: 771 | Estimated time to read entry: 6 min


It’s been a while since I last updated my blog. Frankly speaking, I am busy and typing out a long chunk of text doesn’t appeal to me anymore especially when I have foreign movies, Sci-fi novels and PSP games as alternatives. And when bloggers run out of ideas and time, the easiest thing to do is a compilation – like “Top 10 things for….” or “Best 5 tips for…” et alia.


Fortunately, I stumbled upon Google Zeitgeist, a site that lists the most popular search strings on a yearly basis across various categories. Here are some of the most interesting ones from India:


1. Katrina Kaif: Thanks to Akshay Kumar’s histrionics and a lot of jobless guys glued to the computer, in office and at home, Kat has made it to most of the categories on GZ, India. As of today, she is ranked #3 in ‘Fastest Rising’ where the only other human being, let alone a Bollywood celeb, is Genelia D’Souza at #7; she is ranked #10 in ‘Most Popular’ in which there is no other human being; #6 on ‘Mobile Search’ in which there is one another human being who I am reserving for a more elaborate discussion in 2 below 😉 and #1 on Bollywood celebs beating Aishwarya Rai. She is surprisingly not present in the ‘Holiday destination’ and ‘How to’ categories. Or perhaps GZ doesn’t want to list queries like ‘Katrina Kaif’s home address’ as a holiday destination and ‘How to get Katrina Kaif’s phone number’ as a ‘How to…’ query ?? 😉


2. Namitha: Now, this won’t come as a surprise to any of my regular blog readers because of my previous entries and my observations. Namitha figures #9 on ‘Mobile Search’. No wonder Google enabled the ‘widescreen’ option in the G1 Android phone! Now, don’t ask me why they enabled a touch screen too 😛


3. Kareena Kapoor: Now, I had to list her being a great fan of hers! She is #5 in ‘Bollywood Celebs’ and she’s got 1-up on Shahid Kapur even here (he is on #6). If wearing a skimpy bikini in Tashan could get a rank #5, c’mon Bebo, you know what it takes to get to the top! Of course, I meant choosing better movies than the likes of Tashan, what did you guys think? 😉 And if that is what you thought, then what advice can you give Mallika Sherawat who is on #9, despite everything, in the very same list!??? 😛 See, logical extrapolation doesn’t work always.


4. Google: There were some bozos who actually googled the word ‘Google’ so much that it made it to #4 on ‘Most popular’ and #10 on ‘Mobile Search’ category. It is like asking the station master which station one is in, 1 second after colliding head-on with the yellow board that spells out the location details in 3 languages at every railway station. I guess Google should put a ‘You are here’ board on their homepage. But I am still wondering, what kind of a guy would google Google? Perhaps those with full cabins in offices, is my best guess 😛


5. How to…: I think this whole category is quite hilarious so I will mention many things that caught my interest.


How to reduce/gain weight @ #1 and #6 respectively: Boy, am I relieved I am with the majority for once!  


How to get pregnant @ #4: Well, all I can tell you gals is to try not to experiment with iPill. Hey, the iPill is not an Apple product so please don’t swallow your iPod to see if your search query is miraculously answered. And ladies, for heaven’s sake, the ‘good old-fashioned method’ still works best! 😛


How to earn money/impress a gal @ #3 and #9 respectively: My guess is that those who first searched on impressing a gal then trebled their search attempts by typing how to earn money. The wise guys realized that to impress a gal, you need to earn good money! Let me simplify your task guys – try googling ‘How to earn enough money to impress a gal’. But then Larry Page and Sergey Brin, founders of Google and two of the richest guys in the world are still trying their luck at getting that answer right so I wonder if you will have any luck 😉


PS: Any reader who comments on why I chose to post an entry on this topic will get a brand new iPod….. Hey, wait a minute! Where did it go now?!!! Yikes!!!!!Looks like my neighbor’s daughter just swallowed it! 

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Fly from a ship (5)

Word count: 346 | Estimated time to read blog: 5 min

That’s the only clue I couldn’t crack in the Cryptic Crossword that appeared in The New Indian Express e-paper yesterday – Click on image to enlarge

This has been my best so far; the entire grid still eludes me. Yes, I admit I do use a few web tools for getting anagrams and filling letters of partially uncovered words but I haven’t come this far ever despite using such tools. After all, tools only aid – the cryptic has to be cracked in the mind.

Some of the clues that I have marked with an ! are really amusing. See 1 Across for example. Rearranging the letters of ‘No Women’ (Anagram) gets you ‘New Moon’ and isn’t the new moon a ‘heavenly’ body? (No pun intended 😉 ) Of course, non lateral thinkers will think the clue is sexist – and that’s the very intention, to mislead!

Another good one was 16 Down. Poet of golden study. The answer is Auden. Au is the symbol of Gold (remember class 7 chemistry?) and Den is study. So golden study = Au Den! And he is a poet!

Well, writing about cryptic crosswords also reminds me of 2 other things – 1 is a joke and the other is a book, on and by a crossword lover respectively.


Q: What did they do to the crossword solver after he was dead?

A: They put him 6 Down and 3 Across! 😀 😀


An ardent cryptic crossword lover, Sandy Balfour titled his semi-autobiographical book, “Pretty girl in crimson rose (8)”. He actually wanted to call his book ‘Rebelled’ but converted it into a cryptic crossword clue. The explanation is simple: Pretty girl is called a ‘belle’ and crimson is the color ‘Red’. Rearrange the letters of the 2 words and you get “Rebelled” and doesn’t it also match with rose (as in, “He rose with anger”)??

Well, I don’t subscribe to the print edition of TNIE and at the time of writing this entry, today’s version isn’t up yet. So I am still “clueless” about the one answer that eludes me.

Readers, what’s your best guess?


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3 for a start – but good enough to brag ;)

Two bloggers have given me a brief recommendation on their respective blogs.

Vishwas Mudagal, good friend since high school days and now co-founder of JobeeHive (for which I am now lead blogger) and blogger of Revolutionnnn….! (did I get the number of n’s right at the end, Vishwas??! 😉 ) mentions my write-up that got published in Swagath – the in-flight magazine of Air India.

Vishwas has also been generous to mention my article in the official JobeeHive Blog as well.

Ranjeet Elkunchwar, blogger of Virtual Panopticon is generous in his praise for my write-ups. A screenshot of his blog entry is seen below.

Thanks Vishwas and Ranjeet for the mention. Am glad you like my work and found it worth recommending.

Would my great grandson mind my 30-min showers?

Word count: 1950 | Estimated time to read blog: 0.00036 nano seconds!

For the technically challenged:

Don’t dismiss this blog because of the terms you see here. Just note that I have hyped both memory units and time – memory units are large and time is extremely small. So forget the yottas and the zeptos.


It is the lordless year of 200981 AD.

3day r@m wakes up from his slumber and starts planning his day’s itinerary. He syncs up with the Solar Power Grid placed on Mars to see if he has been allocated his daily quota of power. He has been. He checks his inbox to see if he has any new mails. 754. He does a quick scan and deletes the spam, reads the personal ones first and keeps the office ones for the last – the most important of them being the one from his boss who has asked him to master some robotics related topic. The mail contains a 25 Yotta byte attachment and he goes through it completely. All this takes him 0.36 micro second.

Really ain’t a big deal if you got a partitioned brain with independent processors governing each half-lobe. The right brain is creative so he has got a processor that enables him to paint, dance and flirt and he reserves it for his personal and social purposes. The left brain being logical, he has a processor that solves complex problems, finds patterns, sifts through information and this half of his brain is dedicated to all office and professional work. Not that he ain’t a “professional” when it comes to flirting 😉 Well, what if some creativity is required at his office? In that case, he replies like Presented Bai of Channel [V] – itna paisach mein itna hich milenga!

Having a separate processor for each of your brain lobes is really cool man. Takes the least amount of time for any shit you can think of. For chaps who freak over multi-tasking, this is the thing to get. Imagine you are attending a meeting and the presenter is damn sexy. You can understand and analyze all that she is saying with your left processor and ogle at her and make plans to invite her out for lunch with your right without each disturbing the other! You are doubly efficient!

Of course, the PROM containing morals and ethics runs across both lobes and this is a government mandate. You can’t avoid it and it is inserted by the doctor even before you are spanked alive and brought into the world. So you are almost born with it.

Sitting in his office he is applying the robotics concept to some complex algorithm. Nothing is impossible now because everyone knows everything. Competitive tests have been done away with and meritocracy is a thing of the past because everybody has equal access to every single bit of info. You might have better RAMs than a few others so you might get it a zepto second earlier. Big deal, huh?

An alert prompt flashes in front of his eyes as he is working: “Call from Pete – Accept | Ignore.” He wonders which Pete this is and considers himself lucky for having such a unique name. His parents had really seen the info glut coming and had given him a name so unique that all the search engine related queries for his name would throw results pertaining to him alone.

He triggers his social processor to accept the call and one part of his brain dedicated for receiving calls gets activated. You don’t have to open your mouth and form words when the call hits your brain directly. It is brain-to-brain communication and you don’t need those old, redundant fancy gizmos called mobile phones.

“Hi 3day”, brains Pete.

“Oh hia there Pete”, 3day brains back as his brain recognizes. It is his good friend from the days, or rather, zepto seconds of electronics engineering.

“You in India right now?”


“Well, I got a party tonight, make sure you attend. You’ll love it”

“Oh great! What time and where?”

“Well 7:00 pm. And all folks wanted to have it in Paris. So it’s Paris”

“Damn! 7:00 pm is just 2 nano seconds away. Paris is fine but I got some things to wind up dude”

“See if you can make it. Will wait for ya. Chao” and he brains off.

Now attending Pete’s party is no big deal because of the processors. Going to Paris isn’t as arduous as it used to be because all the world is nothing but a computer generated 3D rendering and you can teleport your mind from one place to another easily. Earlier you had to lug around your entire body just to get your brain to experience a few things about the new place and people. But now, thanks to the microprocessors linked with the 3D virtual rendering of all places across the earth, physical travel is passe. Now, it takes as much time to go from Bangalore to Mysore as from Bangalore to Greenland; the only constraint is your bandwidth. Distance has collapsed and you can no more vent your frustration on the government for bad roads in your city.

What 3day is actually worried about is the power levels. Both partying and working takes a heavy toll on the processors. Since power is rationed from the Mars Solar Power Grid, he might just run a blank and might mean shut down until he gets it exactly 24 hours after he got his previous quota.

He decides to risk it. He puts his robotic algo on self propagating mode, throwing in a sub-routine to generate only critical alerts and teleports to Paris.

The party is live and happening. Takes him no time to spot a blue-haired babe dancing seductively in the corner. He runs a semantic search on her – giving descriptions as he sees her and has all info about her. She is N*ksh*t* – hmmn that’s a cool name. Her bio data, qualification and every other possible info floats in front of his eyes. And the way she is looking at him in the eye, he knows she has all his info floating similarly in front of her lovely hazel eyes. It takes both of them only a fragment of a nano-second more to know that each is interested in the other because they searched each other’s brains out. This search is possible only if the feeling is perfectly mutual and the firewalls are temporarily down to enable this.

Ok it’s fun time. They embrace each other and begin to dance. 3day looks into N*ksh*t*’s eyes and gets the shock of his life. The colors are changing from red, to blue, to black to, white. He pushes her away – damn she might be a virus! He looks at her and her whole self is turning black and white and then fuzzy. He runs a full system bio-scan and it returns normal – 0.000000 infections. The logical part of his brain throws up a critical alert with a red exclamation mark and then….piff! blank!


His worst nightmare came true – he ran out of power and now with the processors totally dry he has to make do with his biological brain, which has taken over automatically. He is now in what his ancestors called “The Real World”.

Ha! He mocks his ancestors – those bloody wasteful bastards. Imagine living a life like that – having a house for yourself, wasting so much fuel on travel, inventing all crappy gizmos like television, laptops etc. Really ridiculous. And to top it all, they even went berserk over “environmental conservation to save future generations”. Save trees, save ozone layer, avoid plastic etc so that future gens also follow their wasteful example. And the amount of effort, money and resources they spent on entertainment and work was just too much. Mindless buffoons.

Little did they realize that mankind will evolve. “The trees might have vanished. So what? We live great on plastic. Our clothes are plastic and I think they are far better than those cotton Arrow shirts they used”, thinks 3day. Suits the current environment conditions. And all of that colossal space and effort wasted on travel, communication, entertainment and work is now just a small silicon molecule in everyone’s brain !

He is settled on his row and watches all the hundreds of others around him on other similar rows. It is like an MS Excel file and each has his/her own cell space. They are all plugged into the virtual world because they have power, lucky guys. He eats his vitamin dry soup – a small pack containing all the 26 essential vitamins and minerals identified by research, to keep human life going. He smirks again as he thinks of all the farm lands and restaurants that his ancestors had once maintained in the pretext of eating and staying alive. And yeah! Those crimes, wars etc that one human being perpetrated on the other – just ruled out now because every one had the same set of morals and ethics in his/her PROM. And how can one forget the healing procedures, doctors and dentists who pretended to cure/heal you. One didn’t even know if one was sick and had no way of finding out. No self-check, no auto-heal. Bah! He just couldn’t understand the world before 3000 AD.


Only 2 seconds had elapsed since he had woken up from his slumber. And in that time, he had done enough work that would otherwise take 1000 man-years for his ancestors. And he had entertained himself quite a bit. Now he had to wait for another 23:59:58 hours to get his power quota replenished and considering the way time and things moved in the “real” world, it was a heck of a painful wait.


Author’s note: (pinch of salt advised) 😉

First things first. This entry is certainly inspired by Neal Stephenson’s ‘Snow Crash’ that I am currently reading but I really believe in the following things:

One: is the migration of the human existence onto the virtual platform with a processor to control most mundane processes and also to assist decision making. Our life is governed by information and its processing. An IITian, for example, is considered special only because of his superior brain – in other words, superior source of information and its processing. I believe in democratizing meritocracy and making all info available to everybody. Also, I seriously fail to understand the word ‘Real Life’. Who told you what is real? Can I choose my reality?

Two: is the futility of environmental conservation. I know this is the hep thing right now and my anti stance on this issue might raise a lot of hackles, but I think it is futile. I might switch off a bulb now and turn off a tap which might help one of my great grandsons to keep his bulb and tap on for 3 more minutes, a few centuries down the line. But what the heck is a few centuries as compared to geological time? Every species and entity has its span and nothing can prevent its elimination. Environmental protection stems from man’s ego of being the most supreme creature to ever walk the earth and the desire to keep mankind alive always. So, at the root of it is pure human selfishness with a pretext of temporary sacrifice. Sorry my dear great grandson, I am headed for a 30 min shower right after posting this blog! You mind?


PS: Whew, these after-notes look like an entry in itself. Well, I have used a few subtle things in this entry most obvious of them being 3day r@m. (or is it?). Can you guess the significance of the digits in the year mentioned in the very first line? 😉 And you of course can’t get Pete, but I hope Pete will!

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My first day at TAPMI

Word count: 1200 | Estimated time to read blog: 10 min

Rain drops. That’s the first thing I saw when I woke up on the dull, grey morning of 17 June 2005. My room mate had not yet arrived and I had the entire hostel room to myself. Two cupboards, two cement cots with worn out beds, two tables with chairs, a fan and two book shelves were all that the management provided for the fees paid. Mosquitoes, cockroaches and lizards were thrown in free. 😉

There was a common bathroom and loo for two rooms and its 4 inmates had to time their bio-mechanisms for their own welfare. I got ready and dressed – in strict formals of course. We were getting trained to be managers and leaders. Hence I thought it best to begin by making an effort to at least look like one right on the first day. When I stepped out of my room, I realized I was not the only one who had got that brainwave. I saw a flurry of shiny shoed, slick haired men all over the place dressed in neat formals. The over enthusiastic ones carried some folders/documents and sported determined facial expressions that they had seen on some corporate honchos’ faces. Everyone was a CEO already!

It took all of us just one step outside the hostel to realize that wearing formals that day was a seriously flawed decision. (Now, to make seriously flawed decisions and then realize it, is so typical of management that we actually congratulated ourselves later. 😉 ) In our enthusiasm to look professional, we had forgotten what we saw first thing in the morning – rain drops. By the time we were out of the gate, all the hair gel had trickled on to our faces, our polished shoes looked like thick- crust pizza, the formals clung on to us like Raveena Tandon’s saree in “Tip tip barsa paani” and the determined expressions were literally washed off our faces down the drains of the hostel. (So now you know why my determination vanished on Day 1 and where it can be found.) The gardener in his comfortable overalls and plastic rain coat sniggered at us, adding insult to injury. But it did nothing to dampen our ‘B-School first day’ enthusiasm- it was so great that if it were to be converted to fire, it would burn down entire Manipal twice over, rain drops included.

Rain is the greatest prankster in Manipal. We gathered in the auditorium as per schedule and were busy drying ourselves when we noticed the sun shining brightly from the windows; not a drop of rain. We were welcomed by a senior professor, an incident that I have already described with adequate elaboration. Soon after this welcome note, we realized that Rain is not the greatest prankster in Manipal. 😛

We then queued up to submit our first assignment on “Unique experience and the learning we had from that” and got the rule book of TAPMI and a tie sprinkled with the TAPMI logo – the TAPMI tie (see pic above). All the girls in the batch saved Rs 500 because a tie was not forced on them.

We were then split into groups and each group had to study a particular function of the organization- academics, extra-curriculars, facilities, committees and fora, festivals, research etc and then present it to the rest of the groups. Faculty members distributed themselves to aid us in our findings. And in a short while, we were assembled again in the auditorium to witness the presentations. I guess a couple of guys and gals almost killed each other to be the one to present the findings of their respective groups – a mentality that would later be considered laughable and highly lunatic. It was perhaps the last time that the entire batch was seen together assembled in the auditorium. The faculty had cleverly made an assignment of this task as otherwise they would have to spend an entire day to educate us on all these.

It was almost 6:30 pm and some indefatigable students went for an overkill by singing songs and peppering their presentations with jokes etc. I was thoroughly drained out and was glad when the last presentation drew to a close. Suddenly a new assignment was sprung on us and we had to organize a cultural show for the faculty over the weekend. When there was a call for volunteers to organize this event, almost all the hands went up. The guy on my right started speaking to me in an excited tone and told me idea after another for the cultural event without my asking for it. Two guys behind me started enacting the skit that they would propose for the event.

The rain was on time and made Raveena Tandons of all of us on our way back to the hostel. We freshened up and headed to the mess. Out of sheer benevolence, since it was our first day, the mess manager had gone out of his way to change the regular menu to serve something edible. He knew very well that first days don’t repeat; we didn’t.

After the meal, it was time to socialize and we formed our own groups and assembled in nearby rooms to know each other better. Some guys lit up cigarettes and ranted about the rules laid down by TAPMI. The topic then turned to the babes of our batch and soon we all had a list of ‘must-watch’ chicks. I prided myself on seeing all of them on day 1! 😉

There was a sudden knock on the door and cigarettes were extinguished in a hurry and deodorants sprayed. We expected the warden but it turned out to be the senies. They felt that we hadn’t been ‘educated’ enough in the auditorium all through the day and the real education was to happen that very night on the top most floor of the hostel, the TV room. In a few minutes, we were all piled up in the TV room in a circle and a guy stood at the centre of the circle. He was the President and welcomed us all. It was a brief 2 minute speech and ended very soon and along with it ended all decency and decorum. In the melee that followed, “lamps were lit”, “Champas and Taras were repeatedly called” “Geminis were danced to” and at the end of it all, we were more steeped in the TAPMI culture than a decade at the auditorium. The rules were interpreted for us from a student’s perspective and the consequences reiterated. Senies hailing from the various states of the country called on their respective junies for an additional gyan session and by the time all this ended, it was nearly 2:00 am which was about the normal time any B-schooler would ever go to bed from then on.

We were looking forward to our first day of classes and all of us unanimously agreed to skip our bath and save time – the rain would be there on time anyways. 😉

PS: Thanks Balesh, for suggesting this topic. More such topics from the batch are welcome.

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