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To ‘Vande Mataram’ or Not…. August 31, 2006

Posted by PagMax in National, Political.

Some politicians have tough time separating religion from state.  Be it American Republican candidate for U.S. Senate who thinks appointing non-Christians is equivalent to ‘sin’ or be it Indian BJP leaders who wants to make singing Vandemataram mandatory in schools and parliament on the songs 100th anniversary on Sept 7th.

On the face of it, one might not find anything religious about Vande Mataram. So just to remind you, the only reason, in spite of being a revolutionary slogan during independence, Vande Mataram did not qualify as  national anthem, was because it literally translates as ‘I bow head in front of you, Mother’.  ‘Mother’ could be thought as Mother-India (not the movie!) but some believe it was actually meant to be Hindu Goddess. Indeed, she looks like one in this image which was posted on net as ‘Bharat Ma’. ! In any case, Islam allows that kind of respect only to Allah (May peace be upon Him) and secular India had to respect that choice. (Note that definition of secularism is quite different in India than what it is in America and LOT different than what it is in European countries like France).

Well surely every Muslim does not take Quran so seriously. I would not if I were a Muslim. Neither did A R Rahman, and surely not Mukhtar Abbas Nakvi, BJP Spokesperson, who is very vocal in supporting his Party’s stand.

But that’s not the point. Point is for good or bad, whether you agree or not, Vande Mataram is not our National Anthem and we have to live with it! Its really ironical that both National song and National Anthem of India have always been in controversy and more ironical is that most (or all) the reasons fueling the controversy were just dumb. Reason Vande Mataram is in controversy now is exactly the same it was 60 years back.Nothing has changed now. So why you just do not accept it and move on?  Singing a song is not going to solve our problems, would it? Unless, your problem was there has been no political-religious controversy  stalling the government for a while. Don’t we have a Nation to run? Oh right, I forget, these politicians don’t.

Yes, Vande Mataram is our ‘ National Song’ but still that does not warrant the idea of forcing everyone to sing it.   What’s next? Making it compulsory for everyone to play India’s national Game’ hockey on Dhyan Chands 103rd Birthday.

UPDATE (-sk-, 9/7/06): Check out: Vande Mataram contd.

Orb August 30, 2006

Posted by sk in Blogroll, Computers & Internet, Miscellaneous, Music, Technology and Software.

Okay, my hiatus is finally over. I’ve decided to write another article on my favorite topic – yes, that’s right, the Mediterannean Shrublands. Naah, it’s about software. Anyway, if you have built up a nice collection of audio, video, and image files on your home computer and would like to be able to access it from anywhere, Orb is the perfect solution for you. Not only does it stream your audio and video files onto your favorite player (I tried it with WMP and WinAmp), it also allows you to share photos etc. with other people or to publish them to your website. And the fun doesn’t stop there. You can also access all files on your home computer through Orb.

I started using it last night and I’m already addicted to it. I love the way audio files are organized. It’s very similar to the way WMP 11 does it. The best thing about it is that it’s free. It’s pretty useful – try it when you get the time. Oh, and one more thing. It works only on Windows. 🙂

List of searches August 25, 2006

Posted by sk in Miscellaneous, Uncategorized.

Wanted to put this up as a list, but the formatting sucked so I had to blog. So much for my resolution. Here’s a list of searches that have led to this page. The number at the end of each item indicates the number of times someone has clicked on this site’s url.

windows live writer rave reviews 3
Pluto 2
fanaa songs list 1
flipped/ sparks note 1
current favorite songs 1
list of pakistani matrimonial sites 1
expanding solar system 1
omkara song order 1
sandwiches from indian websites 1
“picasa 2.5” 8
“indian guys” 1
Fidel Adidas 1
“Fidel Castro” and Adidas 1
sparks team 1
bored 1
“castro in adidas” 1
fidel castro, adidas 1
“google talk” calendar 1
“live spaces” 2
cooking range sparks 1
Picasa 2.5 1

UPDATE:  A newspaper article that links to the blog on 9 pizzas (each with 8 slices) that one of the authors’ mother served him can be found here.

Laloo Prasad Yadav: A case study at Harvard,IIMA and sparks engrs. August 25, 2006

Posted by planetsk in Uncategorized.

Laloo, Indian Railways (world’s largest employer) Minister with no formal education (or did he get masters in political science) is going to be a case study at Harvard….nearly bankrupt railways is in profits now..what could be the “it” factor that made him to create a “financial” turnaround..may be the officials working with him are super smart or something wrong with him..though cricket and movies are huge in india..no one is worth a case study??..


“In 2005, dolls called ‘Laluji’, manufactured by Speedage Corp., had become a big hit among kids.” ..

wow..what is he upto.. did anyone think this could happen to India and Laloo..I didnt..i thought he’d make more and more money and die happily sometime..

Sorry, No more ‘Pizza’ August 24, 2006

Posted by PagMax in space.

My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas..if this phrase reminds you of nine Planets, better change it to My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nothing, because International Astronomical Union, declared today that Pluto is  not a planet anymore and neither are other three contenders (Ceres, Charon and Xena) who were hoping to hop into  planet family.

So its not nine, certainly not twelve ., its just Eight Planets.

Pluto looses out on last two of the three conditions as presented on BBC

  • it must be in orbit around the Sun
  • it must be large enough that it takes on a nearly round shape
  • it has cleared its orbit of other objects
  • So yes size does matter..!

    I doubt if anything would change in Nasa’a  Horizon mission which was launched early this year and is scheduled to reach the so far largest of dwarf planets and once a planet, Pluto by 2015.

    On another note, the present configuration will still have only 5 planets in common with Navagraha (Nine Planets) according to Indian Mythology. These navagrahas are Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Rahu and Ketu. (First seven representing the seven days of the week in order). 

    Pluto was kind of my favorite planet so far but I agree that it has to go because if it stays, there would be at least 100 more neighboring objects which have to be let in. This decision will surely throw Pluto into anonymity. How many of us heard of Ceres before  which was also a planet once upon a time?

    But again, so what? Why do I care if Pluto is a planet or not? How did it effect me when it was one. Other than my neighbor naming a dog after then ninth planet, I do not see how else it would have changed the life around me..

    Nonetheless, Pluto, I will miss you, from this planet..!

    Update: Terminology used here must be carefully reviewed. When I say Pluto is not a planet, all I mean is Pluto is not a classical planet. It IS after all still a planet. Just a dwarf one. Again, even though Size does matter, there is nothing “DWARF” about pluto. We all know Mercury is the smallest planet. So if you are near, you can afford to be small and  be in a near circular obit. Newton said it all..! Unfortunatley Pluto is small and far!  But you can certainly say Pluto is a planet, just not the same type as Earth!.

    Bored! August 22, 2006

    Posted by sk in Miscellaneous, Uncategorized.

    I’ve written 9 posts in the last week or so and frankly, I myself am bored, so I can imagine your plight. 🙂

    I’ve decided to take a long break and restrict my involvement during that time to reading posts and commenting on them. I can already see a few smiles… one of them being mine.

    Expanding the Circumference of Your Social Circle August 22, 2006

    Posted by PagMax in Miscellaneous.

    Note: This one is just a re-post with some minor updates from my yahoo 360 blog. I am just trying to move some of my earlier and most viewed blogs to wordpress.

    My guess is about 1.5 million Indian youths,  living  in India, USA and other countries are on Orkut, an “online community” , to increase the “circumference of their social circle”.  It might seem like a low number when compared to about 14 million Brazilians out of about 22 million(more than 26 million at the time of this update) total Orkut members.  However, it is clear that among Indians this website is more popular than any other similar ones like myspace, yahoo 360 or hi5. Every other person from India I come across seems to be registered here.

    So what is in Orkut that makes it so popular among Indians.  From my two month(now 4) experience on Orkut,  I figured out top 5 reason why Indians like Orkut.

    1. No Blogging:We are not good at writing. We don’t have that creative style blended with dry and sarcastic humor. So we would rather stay away from wesbsites which asks us to Blog. Of course some unholy souls like me who think we can write but actually cannot, blog on other sites, but we are not good at it! face it.

    2. No Customized View:When I walked into Subway for first time in my life all I wanted was a Sandwich.  I was so annoyed when I was given 123,456 options on my sandwich. I mean what I am paying you for? That’s the way we were brought up. We do not like to customize, just give us a decent look and we will live with it. Orkut knows that.

    3. Lot of Communities:We grew up forming communities in India and that’s what we do on Orkut. You search for a word, you will find some desi dude has already created a community on that word. Your first name, last name, your dog’s middle name, date of birth..everything! Every community is filled with Indians.  Brazilians tend to hang out in their own Portuguese community, so their over-dominating presence is relatively mitigated and you will find Indian population dominating everywhere.  Of course, our Pakistani friends also create lot of communities but for some reason only Pakistanis join them.

    4. Testimonials: We like to praise each other. It works on simple dynamics of scratching each others back. You testify that I am a gift to mankind and I will testify that you are the smartest person ever existed on this planet.  World would have been much better place if even 0.5% of these testimonials were true, but who cares, Orkut is a much better place!

    5. Scrapping: We like to talk loudly and in public. Chatting style.  I mean just visit the streets on India. Scrapping provides just that. Its fun, its not formal email communications and you don’t have time  yourself for chatting. So what do you do, ‘Scrap it’! We are so obsessed with it that our friends congratulate us on 25th scrap, 50th scrap ..345,750th scrap. We just love it.

    Update: as suggested by one of the other blogger on sparks team.

    6. Girls : This could also be true for girls looking out for guys, but I can say for sure that’s not causing the rise.  Most (not all), Indian guys are in general shy, or being frank not suave enough to approach a girl for  date and most of the times girls are not receptive either for such proposals. Although, I must again note that we are moving towards west quite fast and many of the love birds out there may not identify themselves with this, but I can say for sure majority of Indians would.

    However the fact remains that most of the guys feel deprived comparing themselves to the dating patterns of the west and such social networking website where one do not have to worry about their live appearance and pick-up lines, provide a decent solution. I have been told that Indian Matrimonial websites like shaadi.com also is turning into a dating website but Orkut works even better as parents do not tend to be on it.  Also, other than Indian women, Orkut hosts LOT of Brazilian women and women from all around the world for those who want to try their luck beyond the borders.

    So yes, with very specific search features like dating preferences, age, location, etc..guys can find some really interesting profiles of their choice. Read her scraps, look at her pics and get an idea about how receptive she is and then eventually approach with arguably the most cliched phrase on Orkut  “Will you be my friend?”

    Update 2 (Disclaimer): I have no statistical date to back up my arguments and I am not trying to characterize entire India. They are just poorly written ideas based on what I felt most of the Indians like to do. The set which are not included in that ‘most’, in itself could be very huge because we are a country of more than 1 billion people. So do not try to judge any Indian you meet on the street with this characteristics. You could be in trouble.

    Scoble says Microsoft is lying about WL Spaces! August 21, 2006

    Posted by sk in Computers & Internet, Uncategorized.

    Robert Scoble has written a series of “childish” posts about Windows Live Spaces. It’s amusing when adults get into “my dad can beat up yours” kind of arguments. Here’s one. No offense Robert, but I really don’t see the point of your posts.

     Update: Robert has another post about blogging here. Here’s what he has to say:

    “Anyway, I’m all about inclusion. Being nice. Not being judgmental. Yesterday was when the egotistical elitist bbbaaahhhsssttttaaarrrrddd in me came out.”


    Upcoming Posts, BlogDesk and Fidel Castro August 20, 2006

    Posted by PagMax in Blogroll, Miscellaneous, National, Political.

    This post is to serve two purposes. First to give a preview of two of my upcoming posts which I have been working on for a while but could not complete because of my other commitments. (If I still do not sound like a smug bollywood movie-maker with no intellectual capacity beyond such publicity stunts for upcoming piece of junk, I promise I will eventually) Other purpose is to test this BlogDesk blog editor which I just downloaded and configured (And it failed, so this is from WL!).

    Upcoming Blogs

    Introduction of SPARKS team: Since we launched this team blog called sparksengr on wordpress, I thought it would be a good idea to speak about who’s who in the team. May be some day there would be a bug in the wordpress system and our blog might appear in ‘Blog of Note’  or just might attract lot of search engine traffic and if that ever happens, may be some random Joe, Kate, Raj, Nita on the net, stranger to us and tossed on our blog, could use this introduction.

    If you have not guessed so far, I am a very pessimist writer and just enjoy criticizing with passion everyone and everything I write about. (Yes, I know I will make a good politician and do not count me out yet). So without any surprises, even this blog would not flatter anyone on the team and that’s just an understatement. In fact, I am expecting few defamation law suits against me and I am working for back-up even on that.

    Highlights of Indian Space Program:  I am not sure if I would title it that but this one would be one of serious blogs. Purpose of this will not be to criticize anyone but just to provide Information. Nothing from top-secret files but just compiling from the net. Unfortunately, Indian Space and Research Organization’s website (www.isro.org) do not provide important details about the past and present missions and has not organized the information it has in a very readable way. (Yes I remember what I said about not criticizing). As a matter of fact, one might get more information about India’s past mission from NASA’s universal catalog and few articles on Wiki. So just out of my own interest, I have been compiling stuff and now I might just convert in a blog. I cannot claim it would be any better but I would give it a shot. Since its a big project, I cannot give an expected launch date (Did I say something about lousy bollywood movie-maker?)  but I promise it would be before China sends a man to moon,i.e. 2017.

    That’s about it. Please do not copy my ideas and wait anxiously for these posts. Stay alive until then.

    As for blog pic, a completely unrelated image of Fidel Castro in Adidas jersey flaunting an evil smile in hospital on those disappointed Americans who celebrated his ‘imminent’ death. I cropped, paper-tore, flipped freely and turned off colors on this image all in BlogDesk editor itself. So it works but the configuration does not! (not for me!)


    fidel adidas

    In conclusion, I  will stick to windows live-editor and no more testing of other editors.

    Bluetooth August 19, 2006

    Posted by sk in Computers & Internet.
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    If you’ve ever used Infrared on your laptop, you’ll know how irritating it is. The two devices have to be within 7 feet of each other and aligned towards each other. And, the bandwidth is too low for data transfers. Then came Bluetooth and it was touted to take the world by storm. Turns out, it was a failure too. For one, bluetooth is not easy to use. If you’ve ever used 802.11, you’ll know what I’m talking about. 802.11 is a wireless internet protocol that allows one to connect to any access point. In bluetooth, one needs to pair devices first and I may be wrong, but one can pair a device only with one other device. To pair it with another, unpair the first. Also, I’ve found it to be extremely unreliable. I’ve tried pairing my computer with my cell phone and sometimes it works, while on other occassions, it doesn’t. Also, once again, data transfers are painfully slow. Wireless USB is all set to appear in Vista SP1 in November 2007 (I think) and I hope it’s simpler to use and provides the means to transfer data from one computer to another wirelessly (I don’t think it’s intended for that, though). Or at least, I hope it allows one to effortlessly switch from listening to music over WUSB headphones to synchronizing Outlook contacts on a Smartphone.