Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Five indispensable Firefox tips to get the most out of tabbed browsing,

  • Go to Tools, Options, Advanced, Tabbed Browsing -> Uncheck "Hide the tab bar when only one website is open"

  • Go to Tools, Options, Advanced, Tabbed Browsing -> Uncheck "Select new tabs opened from links"

  • Double click on the tab bar -> Open a new blank tab

  • Middle click on an open tab -> Close tab

  • Middle click on any link -> Open link in new tab in background

Middle click = click on scroll wheel if you have one instead of an middle mouse button.

If you don't have a scroll mouse, I suggest you get one. If you can't, then Ctrl-clicking does the same thing as middle clicking.

These seem like simple tips but they aren't very prominent in the documentation.
Settling in to another cold cold winter. A gray sky means warmth. A bright sunny sky means bone chilling cold. Snow means slippery roads and sun after snow means really slippery roads. Barren trees except for the evergreens, which seem to turn a darker shade.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

I'm typing this from the sixth planet of the Hoth system.

I installed GNU Emacs on my laptop the other day and I'm beginning to understand like what adulterers feel like. (This is just a temporary experiment gVim honey, I promise, just for the short duration that I feel like learning Lisp, it'll pass.)

Now initially, I had installed both GNU Emacs and XEmacs but I quickly uninstalled XEmacs. Now why would I do? Especially considering that XEmacs:

  • Installed easily and more cleanly on Windows

  • Seemed to have a much more polished UI with a functional toolbar and a tab bar for open buffers

  • Seemed to have a better menu design etc. etc.

Well, XEmacs took a while to start up, even on my AMD Athlon XP, with 512Mb RAM. That was enough to uninstall it. I mean, the only editor that's allowed to take that long to load up is Microsoft Word. Besides why would I install a polished Open Source product and rid myself of all the pleasure of tweaking around with a crappy one?

Anyway, now I can begin my nice little rant about how crappy GNU Emacs is compared to gVim and how to tweak it to make it better.

Let's begin with how GNU Emacs doesn't seem to understand anything at all about setting up a profile in the correct directory on Windows. (Actually Vim doesn't setup a profile in the correct directory by default too, but at least it will read off a profile in %USERPROFILE%.) Note to all Open Source developers: Windows doesn't ship with a %HOME% variable. Your options are %USERPROFILE% or %APPDATA%. %USERPROFILE% will be a easily accessible path, while %APPDATA% is typically a hidden folder. After running addpm.exe, a user has to manually add a key called HOME with his path in it, inside HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\GNU\Emacs.

Let's move on to changing the default font. I tend to use Bitstream Vera Sans Mono as my default monospace font. So it's time to manually create a _emacs file in %USERPROFILE% and add the following lines to it.
;;; Set various font options for Win32

(setq w32-enable-italics t)
(set-default-font "-*-Bitstream Vera Sans
Mono-normal-r-normal-normal-12-90-96-96-c-*-iso8859-1")

After doing that and restarting Emacs, you realize that Emacs doesn't seem to be using Windows XP ClearType rendering. (ClearType is sub-pixel font rendering for laptops and LCD displays which really improves the clarity of type on screen.) A quick Google reveals that the ClearType rendering mode on Emacs is disabled thanks to political issues with Microsoft i.e. due to unclear documentation from Microsoft. (Does anybody else except me see the irony in this?). gVim seems to have no problems using ClearType.

Now to install some keyboard shortcuts which are familiar to anyone who started on Win32. (Read: Mostly everyone). (These come preinstalled in gVim.) Stuff I needed to change was the familiar C-X, C-C and C-V for cut, copy and paste. C-Tab for next buffer, C-S-Tab for previous buffer and C-f4 for close current buffer. To achieve the clipboard stuff, you need to install the CUA mode for Emacs (http://www.cua.dk). I also needed to set tab length = 4 and turn on syntax highlighting by default. Add the following lines to _emacs to achieve the all of this.
;;; Enable CUA mode

(require 'cua)
(CUA-mode t)

;;; Set some Win32 keybindings
(global-set-key [C-f4] 'kill-this-buffer)
(global-set-key [C-tab] 'bs-cycle-next)
(global-set-key [C-S-tab] 'bs-cycle-previous)

;;; Set tabs to display as 4 characters
(setq default-tab-width 4);

;;; Start global lazy font lock mode
(toggle-global-lazy-font-lock-mode)


We're not out of the woods yet though. I still haven't figured out how to install A-f4 to replace C-X C-C. Or rather I haven't figured out how to have multiple key-bindings for one command in Emacs.

And after 3 days of Emacs, RSI seems like a real threat now. And no, I don't feel like replacing caps-lock with ctrl globally on Windows. I would rather install C-` as a clone for C-X. Also, how do you get Emacs to remember the directory the last buffer was opened from? Anybody know how to do that? (No, I haven't googled for this, yes, I might in the future.)

And yes, my sincerest apologies to anyone who was offended by the sheer geekiness of this post. (Even more apologies for all the trolling, it's cold here and I've been cooped up at home.) To avoid further geeky posts like this, send hot babes to:
<ADDRESS CENSORED>
Madison, WI

Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.

More posts to follow. Hopefully.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Two more desi photoblogs courtesy of Photoblogs.org.

Photographs by Pranav

Point and Shoot

(Pranav your website is sort of hard to navigate what with the scroller never settling down under the mouse. Also its constant motion distracts attention from the pictures. I think a simpler layout would help lots)

Monday, November 29, 2004

#include <stdio.h>


int main() {
while(1) {
printf("I am still alive


Ah! Who cares about stupid code type posts made just to infuriate readers who don't like tech type posts. Yeah, I'm still here, still fighting the good fight, still defeating dragons by day and gryphons by night, still creating sublime poetry that enchants cities, still rocking the world in concert, still sweeping the Academy Awards, still trucking, still the glorious defender of truth, justice and comic books, still too bloody sleep deprived surviving on a stiff dose of coffee and adrenalin.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

I just read Amit's excellent post on Firefox link customization using userContent.css and decided to hack around a bit more. What I produced was something that I had always wanted Firefox to do:

  • Now if I hover over a link which will open a new window, I see a red * before it.

  • If I hover over a link which has another URL embedded inside, I see a red ~ before it.

  • If I hover over an email link (one which will open your default email program), I see a red @ before it, and

  • If I hover over a javascript link, I see a red ! before it.

This is extremely useful, especially to a heavy user of tabbed browsing like me.

Here is the code:

*[target*="_blank"]:hover:before {
content: "*";
color: red;
}

*[href*="=http"]:hover:before {
content: "~"; /*content: "\0021b7";*/
color: red;
}

*[href^="mailto:"]:hover:before {
content: "@"; /*content: "\002709";*/
color: red;
}

*[href^="javascript:"]:hover:before {
content: "!"; /*content: "\002707";*/
color: red;
}

Cut and paste this into your userContent.css file and enjoy! Any further suggestions you have are welcome. And thanks again to Amit for an excellent tweak!

Update: Just some code fixes suggested by Amit.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

'ello, what's all this then?
Like every other blog in the world that's reporting this ...

The Mozilla Foundation released Firefox 1.0 today.

To those who haven't heard of it before, Firefox is a free alternative to Internet Explorer. It has built-in popup blocking, an integrated search bar for searching with one click, and tabbed browsing which let's you view multiple windows in one browser window. As of today, more than 8 million people have already downloaded it. You should too!

Monday, November 01, 2004

A Sunday afternoon trip to Devil's Lake made me realize how winter is almost upon us.

Friday, October 22, 2004

After a lot of painful hunting, I found and fixed a 1-pixel bug which pushed my precious sidebar all the way to the bottom in Internet Explorer. Stupid stupid IE.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Short little Stacy R. is gone! Hallelujah!

Week after week, she would walk around, with no tangible contribution of any kind, a nasty temper and an even nastier tongue and a lot of dumb luck in the boardroom. She finally got what was a long time coming. Especially after she got Pamela kicked off.

Even better, thanks to the team reshuffling, two of my favorite people, Raj and Jennifer are on the same team and they won!

(Yes I know, I've just sort-of-live-blogged the Apprentice and I need to get a life in a hurry.)
I have to write this before the Apprentice starts so I'll hurry.

This is a rant about three products, and how they interact - Mozilla Firefox, Adobe Acrobat Reader and Microsoft Windows XP. The problem occurs occasionally while viewing a PDF file in a tab. The browser locks up and and decides to take Windows along with it. The only recourse is rebooting.

In a situation like this, it's hard to place blame. Should I curse Mozilla Firefox as this problem never happens when Internet Explorer is working with Acrobat Reader?! Should I blame Adobe Acrobat for creating a plugin that unfortunately takes too long to load up, loading something like 26 (Look in the Acrobat plugins folder) different plugins itself?! Or should I blame Microsoft Windows XP which gets completely crippled when any process locks up and occupies 99% or more processor time, allowing the UI to become so sluggish that it takes more than 35 minutes (I timed this) to simply bring up the Task Manager so I can kill the offending task?!

Frankly I'm frustrated. I don't feel like giving up Firefox because I like tabbed browsing and Sage too much. Adobe Acrobat is a necessary evil. And Microsoft Windows has developed such a reputation of crashing and freezing that it seems futile to even begin to rant about how a user should always be able to easily kill a process.

Perhaps Robert or Ben have any suggestions or soothing words.

I'm halfway into the Apprentice now and Andy just came up with the Polaroid photo idea.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Malformed HTML and other booboos

http://www.securityfocus.com/archive/1/378632/2004-10-15/2004-10-21/0

That is a Bugtraq entry by Michal Zalewski pointing to a tool which creates tiny fragments of malformed HTML (Careful with that link, it may crash your browser). These fragments seem to cause crashes and unresponsiveness in all browsers except Internet Explorer. I tried some examples out with Mozilla Firefox 1.0PR and sure enough there were crashes.

People may say, (typically the Open Source apologist, Slashdot crowd) that it's just crashes and it's not a big deal. It is a big deal. If you know input to make a program crash then it's turned into a denial-of-service attack. It would be interesting to see how many bugs are reported in the Mozilla buglist as a result of this tool, and how quickly they get fixed. My guess (and hope) is that the Mozilla developers will work really hard to fix these bugs quickly to maintain the momentum that Firefox has gained.

This makes for an interesting observation. Apparently IE's HTML rendering engine is much more robust than that of its competitors. Why is IE so maligned for security concerns then? It's because of IE's solid integration with Windows and a poor UI for installing and uninstalling ActiveX controls. Any vulnerability in IE can quickly become a vulnerability in Windows (and most vulnerabilities for IE do try to compromise the users local machine). And most users blindly install ActiveX controls without checking where they come from.

To Microsoft's credit, the ActiveX control UI problem is mostly fixed with WindowsXP Service Pack 2. And Service Pack 2 has also got a built in popup-blocker. All Microsoft needs to do now is to implement a good and highly customizable UI for tabbed browsing and I'll be (maybe) willing to leave Firefox. Keep in mind also however that popup-blocking and ActiveX UI improvements in IE are only available for WindowsXP. If you use Windows 2000 then you are probably better off with Mozilla Firefox 1.0PR.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Hob Gadling's Handy Bollywood Guide

What is Bollywood?
Bollywood is the Bombay film industry. It's the word you get when you mash-up Bombay and Hollywood.

What does "dishoom" mean?
"Dishoom" is sound you hear when a punch lands in a Hindi movie. Kind of like "Pow" or "Biff" but with a little more "Dishoom"!

Who is Amitabh Bachchan?
Amitabh Bachchan is Bollywood's most famous actor. He was the first Bollywood hero to break the sappy romantic loverboy mold that all actor's before him had fallen into. He was the angry young man. Better biographies can be found here and here.

Sholay?
Sholay, starring Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Hema Malini, Sanjeev Kumar, Jaya Bhaduri and Amjad Khan as Gabbar Singh, opened in India in 1975, and went on to become one of the biggest hits in the Indian film industry, running for five consecutive years at Bombay's Minerva theatre. A pastiche combining comboy Westerns, buddy flicks, revenge dramas, love stories and sheer Indian song-and-dance, it seeped into the collective psyche of India. Every kid in India can glibly quote from it and it's been parodied, copied and analyzed to death by every comic, hack and intellectual worth his salt. You should watch it. But it will lose some flavor in translation.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Got boingboing'ed about the hilarious Bollywood US Presidential election satire! Thanks to RT sending me the Dishoom link via email.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004


    Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
    We will grieve not, rather find
    Strength in what remains behind;
    In the primal sympathy
    Which having been must ever be;
Intimations Of Immortality From Recollections Of Early Childhood, William Wordsworth.



Relevant poetry in the oddest places.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

So what does a single guy with a TV do on a cold cold weekend? He watches so much TV that by the time it's Sunday evening his eyes hurt.

And then, when he's sick of the television, he moves to his computer and blogs.

Some thoughts about friends. Some are boring. Some suck. Some are nice and some care. Some you won't hear from for ages, but when you do it's like they never left. Some you won't hear from. Some stop being friends anymore. Some you forget. Some you'd like to forget.

Those pithy messages were brought to you by bored-single-guy productions. To avoid getting assailed by other such messages in the future, please suggest convenient methods to occupy an idle mind.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

September has barely ended and we already have temperatures below freezing. Suddenly the idea of spending a life over here seems slightly tedious. California, how I long for thee.

In other news, the car hunt still progresses at a steady pace.

In other news, a shipment of 4 CD's from BMG music seem to have disappeared in the mail. I am extremely depressed by this. I do hope that I get them somehow.

In other news, 3 CD's arrive from Amazon, but among them is a Enhanced CD version of Mirror Conspiracy by Thievery Corporation. It is returned. I would rather have a plain vanilla CD which works on all my CD players and computers rather than some crappy version of copy protection which damages audio quality.

In other news, I have stopped liking serious and critically acclaimed movies. I could not go past 30 minutes with Quiz Show but watched Spawn and Kiss of the Dragon without a break.

In other news, tomorrow is laundry day and take-out-trash day.

In other news, Portabella mushrooms taste great when cubed and sauteed with onions, garlic, tomatoes and chilly powder. Don't forget the salt.

In other news, I should probably really go for a Badgers game, instead of simply having the brats down the street.

In other news, calling cards suck. I wish there was a way to call long distance with a guaranteed quality of service.

In other news, yes, I am a Apprentice junkie. Also, a Conan junkie, but I guess you already knew that.

In other news, the task of making a copy of all the CD's I own is taking too much time. It will be done though. No point in playing the originals. They are better preserved in their cases. Plus, I can apply Wavegain to the copies and not worry about fiddling with the volume knob.

In other news, Ron Garney's art on the JLA is a breath of much needed fresh air. Here's hoping he stays on for a while.

In other news, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely strike again with WE3. 1 know 0.

In other news, Supreme Power seems to be delayed, and quite frankly it's frustrating me to no end. This is the only comic on the market that I can remember the story to without having to re-read. Yes, it's that good. And frankly it's a pity that someone like J. M. Straczynski is wasted on something as confining as Spiderman.

In other news, I first-posted on Slashdot.

In other news, it's still too cold. Blogging does not generate too much heat.

Good night.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Added althouse and pictoria, two excellent photoblogs to the sidebar.

Disclaimer: althouse has strong Republican views.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

So, Winamp now supports aacPlus. The aacPlus format (also known as HE-AAC for High Efficiency Advanced Audio Coding) makes music compressed at 48kbps sound like an MP3 compressed at 128kbps. The upside of all this is that people with low-bandwidth Internet connections can (finally!) listen to really good quality music online.

Here's what you do:

1. Download and install Winamp 5.05
2. Scoot over to Tuner2
3. Listen! (Click on the shiny "listen now" buttons :))

Highly recommended are SomaFM Groove Salad and Tag's Trance Trip.

(People with high-bandwidth connections do not despair. aacPlus also makes possible 5.1 Surround Sound streaming audio at 160kbps! (Tuner2 has some streams.) All you need is a 5.1 Surround enabled soundcard and speakers and voila! Your gloating rights are back again!)
Firefox 1.0PR was released yesterday. A better web browser than Internet Explorer, it features built-in popup blocking (no annoying popup windows to close), no ActiveX (no spyware hijacking your PC) and tabbed browsing (multiple pages in one window so less clutter).

Now would be a good time to mention that the majority of visitors on this site (67%) use Firefox. It's just a 4.5Mb download, so time for you people to upgrade!

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Recommended Music

I own all the albums listed below. I own many others too but these I still listen to.

The Beatles
The idea is, that you buy all their albums. Begin with this one:

Rubber Soul


Pink Floyd
Make sure that you listen to the whole album in one go. No picking and choosing songs. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Dark Side of The Moon


Wish You Were Here



U2
Consistently strong lyrics, Bono's great vocals and Edge's unique guitars on everything except their last album, All That You Can't Leave Behind, which was below par.


Joshua Tree


Rattle And Hum


Achtung Baby


Nirvana
This is one spooky live album. Again, you have to listen to the whole album as one.

MTV Unplugged in New York


Air
Air picked up where Pink Floyd left us. Music to make love by. Moon Safari's an instant masterpiece, Talkie Walkie is a only average.

Moon Safari


Talkie Walkie


Zero 7
The perfect complement to Moon Safari.

Simple Things


Thievery Corporation
More wholesome electronic jazz.

Mirror Conspiracy


Lemon Jelly

lemonjelly.ky


Lost Horizons


Daft Punk

Discovery


Soundtracks / Various artists

Trainspotting
Ah! The perfect slobfest weekend, when you do nothing much but sleep in late, watch crappy (and occasionally nice) movies at home. When lunch consists of French toast and sausages at Mickey's and dinner is takeout from Taco Johns. When you discover good music which you had missed so far (more on that later.) When the guy at the comic shop hasn't one but two JLA issues waiting for you.

When the weather is so nice that you should be out running and jumping and having a barbecue, but you prefer to lounge in your balcony. When an old friend calls you long distance, and then your call is interrupted by another old friend who hasn't been in touch. When you group chat with your buddies at 2:00AM on MSN and all complain about how life has lost its edge. When you have a million chores to do but you don't do any (except laundry 'cause you need fresh underwear!) When you suddenly discover that the touch pad on you laptop has a convenient switch off button, so you don't mistype. When you finally get time to update your damn blog!

Anyway about that music thing. So the band I just discovered is the Velvet Underground (specifically I listened to and immediately ordered The Velvet Underground and Nico.) Anyway, here's a thought, rather that flooding my sidebar with recommendations, I'll just make two separate posts and link to them from the sidebar! My genius has no limits!


I am tired, I am weary
I could sleep for a thousand years
A thousand dreams that would awake me
Different colors made of tears

- Venus in Furs, Lou Reed, The Velvet Underground and Nico.

Monday, August 30, 2004

I'm not sure if online petitions work, but I guess something like IMAP access for Gmail is worth a try. Sign it here.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Ah Blogger-toplevel-random-blog-bar, how I love thee!

You have given me a whole new way of wasting precious minutes of my tiny life, reading about other people's tiny lives.

Seriously though, I plan to experiment a bit and see what percent of blogs are political propaganda, what percent are contain the words "ponderings", "musings", "thoughts", "ramblings", "pondermusings" etc. in the description, what percent are Spanish, what percentage suck, what percentage rock, what percentage have so messed up a template that the blog-bar does not show up, what percentage are dead, what percentage are spam blogs and so on until I'm bored and decide to do something else.

Like watch Conan O'Brien on my new TV!

Ah brand-new-24-inch-flat-screen-Toshiba-TV, how I love thee!

You have given me a whole new way of wasting precious minutes of my tiny life, watching other people's tiny lives.

Seriously though, I plan to experiment a bit and see ... Oh. Wait.

Friday, August 13, 2004

A warm summer is all you look forward to here in nowhere-land. And then we have this, record low temperatures for summer.

"I think it's terrible," said Tropics server Nadia Sarkarat, 19, of Waukesha. "This is August. People should be going to the Wisconsin Dells, not walking around in winter coats."

Sarkarat was bundled up in four layers, including a long-sleeved T-shirt and hooded sweat shirt, but she still wished she had brought gloves to fend off the biting winds.

Can somebody up there please send us a few scorchers?

Friday, August 06, 2004

Slick web-app department

Microsoft strikes again with MSN Web Messenger Beta. A full-fledged (almost) version of MSN Messenger using only a browser. No Java and no ActiveX! Yes, you read that right no Java and no ActiveX! It works using Firefox so it's obvious they are using standard W3C technologies. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

<gasps for breath and claws his way towards the land of books>

Finally got new things to read, and began by reading Alias: Book 1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos. This is immediately added to my list of must read books. Jessica Jones is an ex-super heroine who has given up super stuff to become a private investigator. Best quote (at least, best quote from what I have read so far):
Lucas will feel guilty about this. He's a decent guy and a buddy and he'll feel bad about this. But that feeling will pass. Because he'll also look back and remember this was the one night that I let him do anything he wanted. And even though he'll know it's wrong he'll smile to himself. He just won't be able to help it.

Then he'll feel bad again. But I can't say that I care, really. I don't care what he feels like. I just want to feel something. It doesn't matter what. Pain. Humility. Anger.

I just want to feel something different.


And while on the topic, I must mention Jeff Smith's Bone. Bone immediately pushed Sandman (by Neil Gaiman and various artists) down to number 2 in my list. (Sorry Neil.) The best way to describe Bone would be Calvin and Hobbes meets The Lord of The Rings but that doesn't really do it enough justice. So, I'll just stick to the word 'magical' and leave the rest to your imagination.

I almost finished reading Bone two weeks ago. 'Almost', because I still haven't read the last graphic novel in the series. However, I hadn't noticed the humongous 1300 page, One Volume Edition on Amazon before. Guess where I'm going to be spending my next paycheck!

Among other things I have with me but haven't read are Cerebus: Volume 1 by Dave Sim and Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. Reviews will follow soon.

Saturday, July 31, 2004

Secunia announced a fairly serious UI spoofing vulnerability in Mozilla Firefox and Mozilla. Essentially an attacker could popup a window with a disabled status bar, menu bar and tool bar and draw his own versions using XUL (XUL is the XML based UI design language that powers Mozilla). Here is a proof of concept, and you have to admit it's pretty scary. Try clicking on the padlock icon in the bottom left corner to see just how scary this is.

Someone on Slashdot posted a quick and dirty fix which is extremely useful. This fix basically ensures that the Menu bar, Status bar and Tool bar are always visible, even on popups. (Frankly, I believe this is good design. I don't see why site designers should be allowed to hide these things. To often some moron site designer decides that I shouldn't be able to close a window, resize a window, or view the status bar. As I user, I should at least have an option to always keep these on if I want to.) Here is the fix:

  • Start Firefox and enter about:config in the URL bar

  • This should open a special page, the Firefox equivalent of a registry

  • In the filter bar on top, type dom.disable and hit enter to filter down to the entries we are interested in modifying

  • For the following entries, double click on them one at a time, and change false to true in the ensuing popup:

  • dom.disable_window_open_feature.close
    dom.disable_window_open_feature.directories
    dom.disable_window_open_feature.location
    dom.disable_window_open_feature.menubar
    dom.disable_window_open_feature.minimizable
    dom.disable_window_open_feature.personalbar
    dom.disable_window_open_feature.resizable
    dom.disable_window_open_feature.scrollbars
    dom.disable_window_open_feature.titlebar
    dom.disable_window_open_feature.toolbar
    dom.disable_window_flip
    dom.disable_window_move_resize
    dom.disable_window_status_change

  • The last three entries might already be true if you've visited Tools | Options ... | Web Features | Javascript | Advanced ... and unchecked all but the last check box. (According to me it's a good idea if you do.)

After doing this, any attempt to spoof the browser interface will be obvious, and you'll see multiple menubars, multiple statusbars and multiple toolbars.

No fix is available from the Mozilla Foundation yet. However, here is the real bad news. This has been a known bug for 5 years! Yes, that's right 5 years! It was marked as confidential, meaning that the developers knew how bad it was but chose to hide it from everyone anyway. This is the antithesis of Open Source. The reason Open Source software is supposed to be more secure is that all bugs are disclosed to the public. Making a bug confidential is exactly the approach taken by closed source companies. Security through obscurity doesn't work. Right now, there is a scramble to fix it but that's after it was disclosed to the public by an external bughunter. This whole situation has been, at least in my eyes, the first serious blemish on the Mozilla Foundation. Another couple of goof ups like this and I will seriously consider switching back to Internet Explorer after Windows XP Service Pack 2. (And the version of IE shipping in XPSP2 does ensure that the status bar is always visible). And if that's not secure enough, there's always Opera.

And lest any Internet Explorer users reading this are feel the need to gloat or be smug, need I remind you that Internet Explorer has been vulnerable to this for a long time. Here is a simple spoof page, a lot more can obviously be done using DHTML and Javascript. And more common examples are those particular popup ads which pretend to be Windows popups and present "Ok" / "Cancel" buttons.

Update (August 1, 2004): According to this post on MozillaZine, this vulnerability has been fixed in the "nightlies" and a patch or a new release should hopefully be out soon containing the fix. Quoting tojofb's post on MozillaZine:
Using 7/19 nightly the spoof didn't work. I received a warning and also the address bar at the top displayed in yellow background.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

So why is it that my generation and my time seems such a let down? Am I just romanticizing achievements of the past too much or is something really wrong with us? Why have the Nineties and Two Thousand And Somethings brought with them such short attention spans that we never follow up on what outraged or excited us a few hours ago? Some say that the reason that this is happening is that our brains simply have too much information to process and not enough time. Is that the reason or are we as a generation getting dumber? Yes, we do process more information than our fathers and mothers used too, but they too processed much more that their parents used too. After all, it was in the Sixties that television and FM radio really took off. Of course we have the Internet and cable TV, and maybe that's what is rotting our brains, or rather flooding them with too much crap. Saturation is the word in charge.

The scary thought that follows from all this how easy it is for us to be manipulated by the owners of the media infrastructure. Our minds face DDOS attacks every time we turn on the television, radio or computer (DDOS attack: (n), Distributed Denial Of Service attack, a way of disrupting the normal operation of a computer system connected to a network by making multiple requests for processed information from multiple locations.) Democracy was always a good deal for the rabble-rousers and now the rabble waits on a sofa with cola and chips.

Everybody agrees that democracy is a better system than fascist dictatorships (Everybody other than fascist dictators of course!), but is it really the best system? It was invented by the Greeks a really long time ago. Why hasn't anyone invented something better than that? Something that will protect the intellectual and the common man from themselves and each other. Something that will perhaps tackle the root of the problems with all systems of politics - man's tendency to not think? Perhaps it's because our rulers need their subjects who tend not to think. After all if they started to think, the rulers could very quickly lose their jobs.

All the news that I have read seems to point to the fact that the IQ of the human race has risen over the years. But perhaps we also need to factor in the fact that the set of problems and potential killer booboos we have to face, has also risen (killer booboo: (n), event which could lead to the mass extinction of the human race, or at least kill an awful bloody lot of us.) So, is there any hope for my generation at all, or are we simply going to be content with rants on blogs with 5 page hits a day and the next channel on the TV? We are a generation of cowardly cynics and are being ruled by a generation of idiotic control freaks. Pointy haired bosses are funny in Dilbert's cubicle but fairly chilling if they are going to run your life the way they seem fit. Forever. What we really need is a way to prevent our rulers from handing over our reins to the next generation of morons (And believe me the next generation is dumber and more controlling), and a way to get hold of them ourselves. I think we're going to be too busy to bother.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Just this morning, the hit count for this blog was 999, now it's 1001! Thank you whoever you were mysterious 1000th visitor. (Look in the bottom right corner if you have no clue.)

(And yes, post count also went to 50 posts with that previous post about spell checkers. This is cause for celebration, I am going to party tonight and would advise all readers of this blog to do the same. Elvis has left the building.)

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

I just discovered a very very useful extension for Firefox, Spellbound, a spelling checker for anything you type into a web form.

What's shameful is that this is not listed on any of the usual Firefox extension sites, neither Texturizer, Extension Room nor Firefox Update list it. And it's so useful it should probably be a part of the basic browser. One more example of open source's tendency of smashing it's own toes with glee!

(Now you have no excuses for bad spelling)

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Finally found a book (a normal book, not a comic book) which I can read without falling asleep and dreaming of comic books - The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, by Douglas Adams. I just wish that Mr. Adams hadn't gone to the Happy Place where dead writers go, so early in life.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Just a little addendum to the previous post.

Maybe I should change that sidebar of mine to read, "Save Yourself From A Horrible Fiery Death"...

Any comments and flames are welcome.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

This is the longest I time I have spent without writing, and for some reason it's not really bothering me as much as it should. I think this is happening because I am busy enough with work and algorithms and commuting. It's strange but I believe my creativity is simply finding more outlets at work.

I can write about mundane things I suppose such as Spiderman 2 and Fahrenheit 9/11, but I don't really think that will be in the spirit of this blog. So instead I'll just talk about how more and more people I know seem to be shifting to Firefox from IE. It was inevitable I guess. Microsoft last released the last version of IE in 2001 and there haven't been any features added since. Add to that the fact that malcontents on the Internet seem to be eager to find vulnerabilities in IE and exploit them.

I switched browsers when the URL phishing vulnerability for IE was announced. Microsoft took a whole month to fix that. Until they did the recommended workaround in the Microsoft Knowledge Base was to type out the URL for each link that you were planning to click! (If you don't believe me read the third bulleted point in the Knowledge Base Article.) The phishing vulnerability allowed malicious users to fool you into believing you were browsing on a trusted site (like Microsoft.com) when in fact you were getting pages from a malicious site (like some criminal server in Russia intent on getting you to enter you credit information.) Microsoft took a week to fix the Download.Ject vulnerability and even then they did not fix it properly. Download.Ject exploited a IE vulnerability and allowed people get infected by trojan software by simply visiting a malicious website. The Download.Ject trojan software would then find and send sensitive information (bank account numbers, credit card numbers) to the malicious website owners. The Mozilla shell vulnerability, which would allow for the execution of arbitrary EXE files on you computer if you followed a "shell:" link, was patched within 24 hours of it's announcement.

I don't really care if software is open source or not as long as the price is right - Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox are both free. I do care that the software I use is secure enough to protect my privacy and my money. Internet Explorer and Microsoft have failed in that respect. I'll go back to them when Firefox and the Mozilla Foundation fail. I don't use a cheap, easily breakable lock on my door, why should I use a cheap, easily breakable browser.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

"Who found the tail?"
"I", said Pooh,
"At a quarter to two"
"(Only it was a quarter to eleven really)"
"I found the tail!"

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Two things.

First, I have had a relapse and early-wake-up-itis has caught be in a fever grip again. I wake after four hours of sleep on a Saturday, and I'm bright and cheerful, eager to blog. Somebody send a cure.

Second, I like noisy houses. I really do and moving to a noisy neighbourhood after three years of quiet places in Madison brings back all those noisy Mumbai memories. Now if only all states to the east of Wisconsin would sink under the Atlantic, then I could get my beloved ocean with its beaches and sunsets back too.

In other news, something perplexing. I don't understand this mad rush in geekdom to get Gmail accounts? I have one and don't even use it. No point unless Google decides to give an IMAP or POP interface.

In more new, something even more perplexing. I'm talking about the Open Source communities ability to gleefully hammer it's own toes. I am talking about the recent UI "updates" being applied to a plethora of Open Source products.

  • Firefox 0.9 changed the default skin to something much less prettier then the old default. The lead developer claimed that the skin author was uncommunicative when asked about skin licensing. Funny how the same author's skin is still being used on Firefox's sister product Thunderbird 0.7. Good leadership involves making tough negotiations to get a better product (and not throwing your hands up in the air helplessly and looking for an inferior alternative).

  • Wikipedia.org, the excellent web-based collaborative encyclopedia recently updated their look too. While the new version of the site looks much more modern, the developers decided to use a sans serif font for main body text. Couple this with wikipedia's tendency to put large amounts of word's per line (something like 20 at my default resolution) and readers are faced with a serious readability problem. Might I suggest changing the stylesheet to bring wordcount per line to something like 10-13 words per line. And giving readers an easy option to change article font to a serif one. And when I say easy option I mean something which does not involve any form of logging on.

  • And I am not even going to comment about the Gnome project's ridiculous blunder of forcing spatial filemanager browsing down their users' throats. Way to go Open Source leadership.

I've just spent the better part of my Saturday morning ranting about geek-related issues which nobody cares about. I need a life.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Packed. Moved. Unpacked. Have to do this again in two months. Luckily my new place is within two blocks of Madison's greatest ice-cream shops.

Hmmmm...White chocolate ice-cream with almonds, walnuts and KitKat...(drool...)

(Tomorrow it's going to be boysenberry and cream gelato. Eat your heart out world!)

Friday, June 11, 2004

It's hot and muggy, I sweat all the time, clothes cling and it's too hot to sleep. Life is finally good!

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Sleep comes as a drug
In God's country.

In God's country
U2

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Ever had a chill run down your spine, as you suddenly realize that the world seems to be overrun with morons, and how most of them seem happier, healthier and sturdier than you. It's like their stupidity immunizes them from the tragedies of life. They run through the courses of their vacant lives, resisting change, being tricked by the next con man out for money or power, breeding, and killing other morons. And you're caught somewhere in the crossfire, all your intelligence nullified by a fool with a gun.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

हॉब गॅड्लिन्ग चा नमस्कार.

आज़ सकाळी सहा वास्ता, ऐक ज़ोराचा आवाज़ आला. मी झोपेतून उठ्लो. ऐक मोठ्ठा राक्षस माझ्या बाज़ुला उभा होता. मी त्याला "Good morning." बोलुन परत झोपायला गेलो.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Finally a day when it's cooler when to go in than to go out.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Ah! great. Looks like blogger.com has just gone and dumbed-down its interface. I can't easily preview my old posts while typing a new one. Score one for the morons and the candification they bring about everywhere. However, I can tweak the interface into behaving a lot like the old interface. Score one back for the sane. This post continues into another generic rant about how morons are slowly beginning to rule the world.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Warning bells rang out today as an old friend called and accused me of turning into a boring person. Rest assured Madame, your warning has been acknowledged and an upgrade is being worked on even as I write. A fresh as mint, witty as a cucumber version of me is on his way. This bold new me is taller, darker, more handsome, and comes in three new flavors -- maniac mango, brain seizure banana and my personal favorite, strawberry nutcase. I'll be available in all quality boyfriend stores soon, and also in my new online me store, myTunes. Old customers will get a volume discount, so keep those old receipts handy!

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

You walk down a grey street on a grey day. And you walk into yourself, walking down a grey street on a grey day. Life curves onto itself. Möbius strip. The hell of the mathematician.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

What I need is incisive political commentary but no dogma, what I need is to write elegant and efficient code, what I need is slick and robust hardware, what I need is a warm and sunny day, what is need is no regrets unless absolutely necessary, what I need is a second chance at everything but most of all at life, what I need is bloody pint of beer served for free, what I need is rest before the game, what I need is friend who I can betray, what I need is a enemy to hate, what I need is a rhythm to dance to and sleep by, what I need is no speed limits except ones which my bones set, what I need is dreams but no sleep, what I need is the ticking of the clock but no alarms to stop by, what I need is cable TV but only reruns on, what I need is sequential art but painted on a palace, what I need is to get back to something which I lost a long time ago, what I need is a change of career, though I know I love my job, what I need is a brand new car and to learn how to drive it, what I need is sustained effort at something, at anything, what I need is to win and to win bad, what I need is killing fields so that I can finish crying for once, what I need is stereo FM but no DJ's, what I need is free love but no chains. Somewhere, sometime, somehow.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

My life has become random text, punctuated my music. At this point I wish I was Superman. I want to fly, look down on the world. At night, when it's dark and all I can see are random flickers. These are the days, when quoting is easier then writing.

I stopped outside a church house
Where the citizens like to sit
They say they want the kingdom
But they don't want God in it

The Wanderer,
From the album Zooropa by U2, featuring the vocals of Johnny Cash,
Lyrics by Bono (1993)

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Old friends
Sat on their park bench
Like bookends
A newspaper blown through the grass
Falls on the round toes
Of the high shoes
Of the old friends

Old friends
Winter companions
The old men
Lost in their overcoats
Waiting for the sun
The sounds of the city
Sifting through trees
Settles like dust
On the shoulders
Of the old friends

Can you imagine us years from today
Sharing a park bench quietly?
How terribly strange to be seventy

Old friends
Memory brushes the same years
Silently sharing the same fear...

Time it was, and what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence, a time of confidences
Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph
Preserve your memories; they're all that's left you

Old friends, Bookends
From the album Bookends by Simon and Garfunkel,
Lyrics by Paul Simon (1968).


Better than anything I can write in a short time. And I don't have a long time to write.

Friday, April 23, 2004

And the prize for the quote of the day goes to George Orwell for this stunning gem from his tour de force, 1984.

"What can you do, thought Winston, against the lunatic who is more intelligent than yourself, who gives your arguments a fair hearing and then simply persists in his lunacy?"

And the prize for application of the day goes to PDFCreator for creating a compelling GUI to Ghostscript. Much better than my old "print to file", "open with GSView", "convert to PDF" loop. For people who don't know what I'm talking about, PDFCreator lets your print any file to a PDF. So you can convert your Word and Excel files (all kinds of files, actually) to PDF files.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Alas. I can't ABX between PCM and Faac at -q 100. Nor between PCM and Lame CBR 128. Woe is me. I think I shall try again in better conditions with better headphones. Next time I shall not fail. My keen ears and sharp hearing will prevail.

In other news, I heard one of the best film soundtracks I've ever heard. Trainspotting. Almost as good as the movie. I'm going to get the soundtrack to Run Lola Run next. (Sorry if that first sentence was awkward. I really tried to rephrase it.) And yes, I listened to Moon Safari again. Air. Whatever happened to them. When will they make happy music again?

Saturday, April 10, 2004

It's been so long I almost forgot my password.

Anyway, here's what was interesting today:

1. Sun-dried tomatoes rock. Especially along with mushrooms and fettucini al-dente cooked in a white-wine sauce. Sun-dried tomatoes. We need more of those for sure. Mmmmmm.

2. Interesting poll on Slashdot.org today.

Ignorance is...
  •  Bliss
  •  Strength
  •  Contagious
  •  Hereditary
  •  Mandatory
  •  Not a crime
  •  the rule rather than the exception
  •  Cowboyneal's middle name
So far "the rule rather than the exception" is leading with 39%, with "contagious" and "bliss" neck-to-neck at second and third place, with 17% and 16% votes. I don't know whether to laugh with delight or tremble with fear.

3. Restarted 1984. Maybe this time I'll also finish it.

4. Rolling Stones - Forty Licks. A long long compilation, with a surprisingly large number of largely listenable songs.

5. Got upset that all freshly mastered CD's are tweaked to sound loud and end up sounding terrible. Got even more upset that nobody has implemented ReplayGain on a CD Player.

I miss so many things.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Today, I come clean. I have proclaimed the death of good music quite a few times on this blog, when in reality exactly the opposite is true. If anything music has simply improved over the decades. Modern stars like Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake are simply leagues ahead of anybody else from the past. Music back than was too difficult and disjointed from the mainstream, with overly complicated lyrics (think Bob Dylan), dull melodies (think the Beatles), grating voices (think Aretha Franklin) and terrible personalities (think Elvis Presley). Music videos did not exist which worsened the problem according to some, but my own belief is that it was a blessing in disguise. After all, most singers back then were simply not good looking enough.

The worst part of the music from the old days was the sort of fake popularity that it generated, with an entire generation that desperately wanted to have idols, no matter how terribly they sang or how ugly they looked. This kind of devotion to mediocrity still rears its ugly head now and then, with FM producers announcing an Oldies special or worse yet entire radio stations devoted to so-called Classic music. This can only be attributed to regressive fans, who are afraid of change and can't accept genuine musical progress when they see it.

It can safely be said, that all music produced in the late Nineties or later is simply much better than anything produced before it. Our entire generation can testify that modern music legends like Ricky Martin and Enrique Iglesias have more stage presence in their toenails than no-talents like Jimmy Hendrix and Jim Morrison ever had in their lifetimes. And bands like Westlife and NSync make us look back at past bands like The Rolling Stones and Dire Straits and wonder in shame, what could our parents have ever seen in such terrible acts?

We can only take comfort in the fact, that finally, after years of listening to terrible music and pretending to like it, we have finally seen the light and accepted the timelessness of the music of the present. The future of modern music is bright indeed. There you have it, finally a coming to terms with reality. Another person really ignoring light, finds out on life. Viva Britney!

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Slowly but surely it has come to this as I knew it would. This blog has now become a test of my ability to persevere. To keep on writing when my creative coffers are empty and yet to keep it interesting enough for me to read on a later day. Very few people in the world know of this blog, which begs the question, why do I write? Surely, it can't be for an audience, as the hit-counter on the front page cheekily proclaims. It's not really cathartic or anything of that sort. I believe it's just words for their own sake. As a litmus perhaps to see how much I can do with them before they run out.

Among the most interesting things I saw today was the website of Elena, a Ukrainian girl with a motorcycle and more guts then any man I've seen. She rode right through Chernobyl and made a photo journal of the ghost town that remains. Elena's pretty.

Life is unfair. Mostly because there is a lot more I want to say but I shall not, for reasons mentioned in some earlier posts. Onward the revolution.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

The world is too loud for me and my generation is going deaf. Can someone please turn down the volume?

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Today I took out the garbage. Almost three years of old emails from friends, lovers, enemies, and morons were deleted with the click of a button (Many clicks actually). I enjoyed doing this more than I should. I've changed.

I want to write some more on how liberating this feels, but words fail me and I need to sleep.

I also realized that I've stopped writing poetry. It's been more than two years since I wrote my last poem. I stopped. Just like that. And somehow, that feels liberating too.

I feel peaceful, but I suspect that might just be because I'm sleepy.

Good night.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Some music has to be listened to. Each word analyzed, each metaphor grasped and held close to your heart, until you begin to understand what it was the writer of the song wanted to tell you. Of course, you'll never fully understand, and it will take on a different meaning everytime you hear it. That's how poetry is. It changes you.

Some music has to be felt. It's a rhythm, a melody, a counter melody, a horn moaning until you can feel the horn-player's despair and taste his sweat, electronic beats that touch your soul like religion, violins that crash and soar, a bass guitar that seems to vibrate with the song of your life. Music to dance to. Music to make love to. Music that speaks to you in a language you thought you had forgotten a long time ago.

Most music should simply stay in store shelves and never be heard. Ever. A pity that the world around me disagrees.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Spring is slowly sneaking back into Madison. The days are longer now, than what I remember them to be. Trees are still leafless and nude but many are sporting the beginnings of leaf buds. It's still cold. My hands still freeze and mornings are still an unwelcome affair, struggling to stay under cozy blankets as time marches by. I have to be patient. Summer will come soon.

Creativity is dead. If it's alive I can't find it anywhere. Not in anything I write, nor in what I read. It decided to leave movies and music a while back, I know, but I am left wondering, if there's anyone left, who can really spends time with it. Everything that's been written or said recently has roots in something more seminal from the past.

The end of the world is nigh. The signs are all there. Strangely enough they've been there for decades now, but Armageddon refuses to come. I think it's scared of us. I don't know why. We're a generation of pushovers and nervous wrecks. Maybe that's why.

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? I know.

Yield.

These are the days of miracle and wonder
This is the long distance call
The way the camera follows us in slow-mo
The way we look to us all
The way we look to a distant constellation that's dying in the corner of the sky
These are the days of miracle and wonder
But don't cry, baby, don't cry, don't cry.
-The boy in the bubble, Paul Simon, (remembered from off the top off my head, there might be mistakes).

And we wonder when quoting stopped being plagiarism and turned into literature. Standing on the shoulders of giants.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Lesson of the day: Never, never ego surf.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Another Tuesday.

I realized something about myself today. Things break around me. Watches, cell-phones, the little rubber legs on laptops, shoes, shoelaces, slippers, zippers and a lot else. Somehow molecules seem to lose adhesive and cohesive properties when I'm near. Sometimes structural integrity itself decides that it doesn't prefer my company. And magnetic and electric fields generally find me annoying and leave. This is not a happy realization. I like things, pay good money for them and I don't like them breaking.

Things that annoyed me today:
1. My reliance on numbered and bulleted lists.

2. The absence of a good Gimp port on Windows. Ideally one that doesn't cost money. Because, if I had the money to spare now, I might have bought Photoshop.

3. Finally accepting the fact that I'll never get a computer fast enough.

4. The death of good music.

5. Feigned political neutrality.

Another Wednesday awaits tomorrow.

Monday, March 01, 2004

After a brave attempt at some real blogging, I'm back to gimmicks.

Things that annoyed me today:
1. The weight of my backpack after I stuff it with my laptop and a couple of books. What's more annoying than the weight itself is that it reminds me that I'm all out of shape. How will me dream of becoming a super fearsome avenging detective ninja ever come true if I keep this up?

2. The fact that I can't read From Hell. I have the time. I have the book. It seems interesting enough. But I can't get myself to read it. Just like anything by James Joyce, it's an incredibly hard read. This isn't good news. I might end up adding this book to my list of books which I began but couldn't finish. That list already includes Ulysses, 1984 and The Doors of Perception. Cheer up Mr. Moore, you seem to be in excellent company.

3. The fact that I don't seem to enjoy music anymore. Any music. Ten minutes is the most I can do, before I look for the stop button.

4. Stupidity. And stupidity coupled with stubbornness.

5. Impatience. My own.

6. There's more but see item 5.

Anyway, having got all that out of the way, I'm happy to note that I finished reading Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson yesterday. For those who don't know what I'm talking about, Transmet is a comic chronicling the life and works of Spider Jerusalem, your friendly neighborhood paranoid foul-mouthed freshly-bald investigative journalist who works for The Word, a newspaper publishing in a future that is unlikely yet familiar. I want a bowel disruptor.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

It's a Saturday afternoon. I've been awake for just two hours. It's the first warm, sunny and generally beautiful day we've had in months. It's the harbinger of another gorgeous summer. The Coldplay (Parachutes) CD that I have waited for, for almost two weeks now, has just arrived in the mail along with a Valentine's Day card from my parents. I've just had two blueberry waffles and a glass of cold apple juice for breakfast.

Nothing has annoyed me yet. Nothing will be able to for while now. I'm feeling too good for that.

Life is good.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Everyone's got a gimmick and it's about time I got one too, hence:

Things that annoyed me today:
1. Brain dead line wrapping behavior in Thunderbird 0.5. Lines seem to be neatly wrapped at 72 characters. Then you send what seems to be a neatly formatted email, and lines aren't wrapped at all at the receiver. The situation is worse if you're composing from a template. The template itself seems to have line wraps. Unfortunately, any edit you make that involves deleting a newline (basically pressing backspace at column 0, and going to column 72 on the previous line) makes it seem that that particular line is wrapped when it's not. So the receiver gets an email, which has some sentences wrapped at column 72, others not wrapped at all. Receiver then doubts your IQ.

There is a rewrap function in the edit menu, but we need an option to automatically rewrap all outgoing emails.

Better yet, we need Thunderbird developer's to look at the jEdit project, and take inspiration from their concepts of soft and hard line-wrapping.

2. On again, off again, on again, off again-right-in-the-middle-of-a-transaction-with-the-bank wireless internet connections.

3. Self censorship again.

Its 2am and I'm waiting for Windows XP SP2.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

This post was actually going to be about a fairly controversial topic, but then I realized that this blog is publicly viewable, and I'm not really ready to wear my opinions on my sleeve. Yet.

Another interesting phenomenon of the liberating weblog subculture. Self censorship.

Or maybe it's just me and my paranoia acting up again.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

It's hard to write. And mostly when it's hard to write I simply rant, which while being simpler, is never as interesting, nor can be used to maintain a torrent of words and ideas. After all, how much can one person complain?

So it comes to this then, an unsteady ramble, almost forced, with no clear direction. No story to tell or idea to dissect.

After a quick trip to the library, I returned with large stack of graphic novels, including Alan Moore's classic Watchmen, and his recently-converted-into-a-movie-which-got-mixed-reviews From Hell. I've read Watchmen before, but it's a compelling read. (For those who don't know much about Alan Moore, he's a British writer who's recently announced his retirement from comic books, and who's written stuff like Swamp Thing, a compelling horror comic about a man who's killed in a swamp, only to wake up as a muck-encrusted monstrosity, and after finally coming to terms with his loss of humanity, finds out that he's not the man who died, but rather just a bunch of plants who have evolved into him, and gained his memories. Mr. Moore's other famous works include, the aforementioned Watchmen, probably the first and certainly one of the most disturbing studies in super-hero deconstructionism, examining how a world would be, if it really had men who could fly and masked vigilantes meting out rough justice, and the recently-also-converted-into-a-movie-but-the-movie-sucked The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.) I skimmed through Watchmen, and couldn't find the patience to read From Hell. I suppose something must be wrong if I'm getting impatient with mere comic books.

Here I shall segue to what seems to be the problem with my mind lately. I seem to be on a short fuse of sorts. Not in terms of temper but rather in terms of attention. I seem to be suffering from a sudden bout of attention deficit disorder, wherein I can't stick to a train of thought long enough to follow it to its logical conclusion. Rather, I simply wander all over. And I suppose having easy access to the internet simply aggravates this problem.

Most of my time these days seems to be spent at sites like Slashdot, or Ananova, reading about the next nerdy (or quirky) news item. I should probably just bite the bullet, and install a RDF aggregator. Then again, that's probably courting further loss in productivity. I can't believe I'm saying this so early in my career, but I seem to be suffering from work addiction, and these are just the withdrawal symptoms.

I shall end with more recommendations from off my reading list (most from my former reading list):

1. Supreme Power: Another superhero deconstructionist tale, only this one is still going on, and new issues come out every month. It's by J. Michael Straczynski, for whom comics are a second job, his first one being a writer/producer of television and film. A preview of Supreme power #1: http://www.wizarduniverse.com/magazines/wizard/WZ20030815-sp_1.cfm

2. Preacher: A weird, violent, and iconoclastic tale about a Texas preacher who loses his faith and gets to play host to an entity as powerful as God, his ex-girlfriend who's now a hitman, and his new best friend, an Irish vampire. After he finds out that the Devil is dead, and God has abandoned Heaven, the preacher goes out to find and confront God and make Him pay for His actions.

3. Ghost World: This has nothing to do with ghosts. It's an immensely funny story about a pair of teenage girls, who decide to wreak havoc with the lives of people around them by playing practical jokes. This became an excellent movie starring Thora Birch.

Nothing more to say. It's bloody 3am and I need the sleep.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

So. Each and every knob in the world which controls temperature has only two settings - `Too hot' and `Too cold'. Choosing between them is an art that one learns to master only after spending multiple nights either like a leg of lamb in the freezer or a chicken carcass left to bake in a clay oven. Why are essentially all temperature controls created so that you are either charred to a crisp or quick frozen to a state of suspended animation? Why can't I find a single bathroom fixture, which does not consider me its bitch, and decide to alternatively boil me or flash freeze me? All the time when it knows that the soap is going to come to life and leap out of my fingers again and make another desperate attempt to secure its freedom by escaping down the nearest drain. I probably shouldn't get started on soap reanimation and save talk about it for some other time though. Right about now, I wish I could come up with a catchy slogan for those oppressed by temperature control devices, but my brain's overheated so they'll have to wait.

On a side note:
Why are rants always such interesting reading? Is it because we as rantees commisserate with the ranter, or are we simply enjoying the spectacle of someone else breaking down in frustration (or anger or envy or whatever emotion the ranter is channelling at that time) ?

On a side side note: (If such a thing exists)
Rantee: I'm fairly certain no such word exists in the English language, but it means `wild' in Marathi!

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Another late night, another sleepy day. Don't you just hate people who are early to bed and early to rise? Morons and maxims strike again.

Saturday, January 31, 2004

Dumbing down. Their doing it to the newspapers. Television is already a victim. Radio died a lifetime ago. The Internet will be next. They'll come one day, soon, with their scalpels. Full frontal lobotomy. What a way to go.

Why do I have to suffer a world of idiots?

These are strange days. I hope I'm old before I die. (Thank you Robbie Williams, you manipulative thief of a singer)

On a side note:
Why is good literature always about despair, hurt, loneliness, pain, cruelty, torture, defeat, animus and such else? Modern good literature in particular. Why do people have to die, fall ill, break, kill, rape, vomit and choke to get us all a good read? What happened to stories about happiness and honour? Heroism? Love even? I guess I need a change in library.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

The good old days are gone it seems. More than seventy channels and nothing to watch. Comedy Central doesn't cut it these days. Cartoon Network even. And too many bloody commercials. TV needs a revolution.

Maybe they can have a reality show about viewer disillusionment with too many reality shows.

Friday, January 23, 2004

I want a British accent. Not because I want to sound fashionably British. Or because I want to impress people. No, the reason is much simpler than that. I want to be able to say "Bollicks!" without sounding funny.

For instance, you can say, "Be nice"
"Bollicks!"
"My life is so miserable."
"Bollicks!"
"I like whining. Please let me whine. I'm sad. Boo hoo."
"Bollicks!"
At this point, I remove my Walther and ...

Or consider the following, you can say, "Hello"
"Bollicks!"
"Hi there"
"Bollicks!"
At this point, I remove my Walther and ...

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Yesterday, I ate bite sized pretzels with a pizza flavored filling.

It's during thrilling moments like these that I begin to realize the grandeur of human civilization. Dinosaurs ruled the earth for millions of years, flying and leaping and tearing each other down. All they achieved was a hit movie with unknown actors and great special effects that spawned some boring sequels. Humans have been around a fraction of that time and just look at us. We invented nuclear fusion devices, lobotomy, the 80's and pizza. And then one pioneering inventor outdid himself and decided to invent, (Tada! Drumroll!) pizza flavored filling! This blog entry is my humble tribute to him.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

I read about a revolution today. Nobody was freed. It's hard to reconcile this with a world of cola wars and XML.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

And right about now this blog should be dying a natural death, what with all the indifference that it's had to live with. But for some reason, it refuses to die. Mighty nice of it though, as I got something to discuss.

Let's do some food analysis here. First some definitions. Convergent evolution is an evolutionary process in which organisms not closely related independently acquire some characteristic or characteristics in common. This usually reflects similar responses to similar environmental conditions. (Quoting directly from the excellent wikipedia.org). Can this also work out for cuisines? Specifically Indian and Mexican cuisine. Both are spicy enough. Mexican food has the flat breads. The rice and spicy sauces. So what gives? Convergent evolution? Hah! Mexico been secretly spying on India. All these years! And of course Korea had been doing the same to the Konkan coast. Lots of seafood and lots of spice!

Ah! So nice to get that of my back. Now I guess I'll go back to my attempt to murder this blog.
Another cold and boring day, spent watching dlls crash. (And crashing dlls was the fun part)

Update! It didn't crash! It didn't crash!