I am realizing several limitations and problems that I am facing with my weblog.
The first thing and the biggest problem is the URL. The address of my weblog - www.geocities.com/arunchs/weblog/blogger.html is a bit too long. Hardly anyone gets to remember that. I realized that when lot of my friends complained that they can't recall the address. I am considering alternatives but I am not finding any. First thing that I thought of was moving from geocities to blogspot. Being a site exclusively for hosting weblogs, this has some advantages including providing an easy to remember address(such as arun.blogspot.com). But there are other problems. You have to be using blogger, and the site it is not very well extensible as a generic home page along with weblog. That means I would have to distribute my content across servers. I don't like it. And I am still not ready to buy space at a commercial hosting service and register my own url. I could do that may be a year ahead when I have a full blown website of mine. So still thinking what to do.
There are other simple problems that appeared due to my shortsitedness. :-( First thing is the title. When I opened my account in blogger, I generally gave a title so that I have to finish filling the form and thought of changing it later. I don't like this silly title and want to replace it with some thing pretty. I am not finding a good one though(suggest me). This is when I feel 'J' about Kamat's AnthaBLOGy, Anita Bora's just like that or Ashok Hegde's fullTP for having such nice titles for their weblogs. :-)
Also, all the links that point to a page within my site have absolute urls instead of relative urls. So if I have to move my site, I will have lot of re-editing of the pages to do. :-(
I started my weblog for just time pass. Now that I am getting addicted to blogging I will need to do things much better. :-). To make life easy for me in the long run, I am also planning to write a weblogging tool myself, like Kamat did. But that may take some time.
What was the last time you remember mailing to someone's hotmail id? It is very likely that you once had an email id at hotmail. Or at least you would have had lot of friends who were using hotmail once. My first ever email account was in hotmail. But it has been almost two years since I even have an entry of a hotmail id in my address book. The thought suddenly occurred to me as I decided to have a look at my hotmail account after a long long time. I found around 900 mails, all junk! Here are some reasons why I decided to shun hotmail.
Speed: You would fall asleep before it loads up. It competes with Windows 2000 in slow loading(booting). ;-)
Feature set: When others were adding features like pop3, autoforwarding and other features that help you to avoid going to the website to check your mails, hotmail added nothing. And with a 2MB storage limit, if you are a serious user of email, you would spend more time deleting mails than reading them. Besides, hotmail rejects any attachment bigger than 1MB, which means you may miss out a big chunk of emails with attachments.
Complexity of user interface: It is a major exercise to find what you want. The UI looks real cool, but scores a big zero in friendliness.
Reliablity: With Microsoft owning it, this need not be explained in detail. :-) Down time for hotmail is much higher than any other service providers.
Junk mails/spam: For every proper mail that I get, I used to get 15 to 20 junk mails. I am not sure if hotmail was trading e-mailids or any bugs in the site made every thing public. But the problem was(and is) very serious. Again, you spend more time deleting mails than reading them.
There were more options, that geve me better service. :-)
The only reason that hotmail users still seem to retain their subscription is because of msn messenger. It has a very nice interface. It is sleek and easy to use. But this also suffers from high downtime problems.
Yesterday, I received one more email Virus from a friend. One more because this is the second one. The virus contained a message to have a look at a sender's photos from the website www.myparty.yahoo.com and would spam everyone on clicking the link. Details from Symantec.But these viruses have failed to trouble me. :-) Reason is simple: I don't use Outlook or Outlook express or any other Microsoft mail clients. I never wanted to move to these mail clients simply because they have a ugly, complicated and unfriendly user interface. And it is very difficult to navigate between lot of windows that get opened by them each time you click something. Unlike that, my netscape 4.72 has a very user friendly and customizable interface. Security from viruses came as an add on with that. :-) But I wonder why people still use such junk softwares like outlook. Unlike the case of operating systems, we still have lot of good choices here. Such as Netscape 4.7x and Eudora.
There seems to be a bug here with blogger post. While posting the last article on the on-line library, I had made some mismatches with single-quotes for hrefs. I realized the error just after hitting the post button. Too late!! Blogger had mis-interpreted the whole thing, and had merged that post with the previous post on PackaMan. To make matters worse, the PackMan header and some of the text after that were missing. I was not even able to correct it. Blogger was not even allowing me to re-edit the post. :-( I had to use all my intelligence to correct the problem. I was able to bring back some sanity to the page, but now, the article on on-line library appears twice. :-(
Bangalore seems to be getting truly on-line. The recent addition that I got to hear about is this pay and use on-line library, Easylib in the city. I can register to the library on-line, search the catalogue and place request for borrowing books. When the requested book is available for borrowing, they will drop the book at the doorstep! And the delivery service is not expansive either, they charge you just 5 rupees on it. And when you are finished with reading the book, I can request them to pick it from the house! Add on is the off-line service where you can drop in to the library and go the normal way.
I feel that these are real convenience services that makes life easy. It makes a lot of sense to have such on-line features than stuff like buying clothes or expansive electronic goods on-line. I would say it is foolish to expect any one to buy clothes with out trying them or not even seeing them. The touch and try factor for such goods are important. But as far as books are concenrned, there is no hinderance looking them up on-line. Same applies to selling music on-line. This is why companies like Amazon and Fabmart survived the dot-com collapse when a lot others closed shop. Last week, it was a sensational news that for the first time Amazon turned profitable. I wish a similar success for Easylib.
Bangalore seems to be getting truly online. The recent addition that I got to hear about is this pay and use on-line library, Easylib in the city. I can register to the library on-line, search the catalogue and place request for borrowing books. When the requested book is available for borrowing, they will drop the book at the doorstep! And the delivery service is not expansive either, they charge you just 5 rupees on it. And when you are finished with reading the book, I can request them to pick it from my house! Add on is the off-line service where you can drop in to the library and go the normal way.
I feel that these are real convenience services that makes life easy. It makes a lot of sense to have such on-line features than stuff like buying clothes or expansive electronic goods on-line. I would say it is foolish to expect any one to buy clothes with out trying them or not even seeing them. The touch and try factor for such goods are important. But as far as books are concenrned, there is no hinderance looking them up on-line. Same applies to selling music on-line. This is why companies like Amazon and Fabmart survived the dot-com collapse when a lot others closed shop. Last week, it was a sensational news that for the first time Amazon turned profitable. I wish a similar success for EasyLib
Today, I got to play a very old and very popular game Packman, also call pcman. This is a DOS based game created somewhere around 1982. The game is also known to be one of the first games that has some artificial intelligence program built into it. The game never amuses to stop me. I have been playing this for nearly 10 years now, but I never got bored. What draws me to the game again and again in the increasing difficulty at each level of the game. After 10 years, I have not been able to go beyond 7 levels, and I still don't know how many levels are there till the end. Neither have I seen anyone who has reached to the 8th level, forget about reaching the end of the game. With such a long experience behind me, my highest score to date is pretty good, good enough to make me feel proud - 50400. That's a score that is rarely achieved by anyone. Only person I know who has scroed more than me - at 52000+ is my friend Amit. I want to beat him someday, but it has been a year since I have been able to cross the 50K mark. :-( . If you have scored more than that, or know anyone who did, let me know. I found that the game is available for download on the net. But if you plan to download the executable, let me first warn you that I have not tried a download from this site and I don't know how safe it is to try downloading and running it. You could be vulneratble to any virus or something like that. But I can assure that the size of the file seems to be correct(Around 17 to 18KB. Yes, KB not MB). The downloadable is here. Happy gaming!
Thanks to Ashok, I found out this great publishing tool 'Blog This'. While blogger by itself is a great tool, Blog this is simply amazing convenience in publishing my weblogs. This is one true 'one click publishing' wizard.
Lalbagh is a beautiful botanical garden and well known tourist place in the heart of Bangalore. Unfortunately they don't have a official website which can give you details on them, but this site gives some good information. The horticultural department of Karnataka state conducts flower shows here twice a year - During the week before republic day(January 26th) and the week before independence day(August 15th). You get to see a lot of really beautiful and colourful flowers stacked up there during these days. Last weekend, Me and Shivananda headed for the flower show with our cameras.. I took some pictures that really came along very well. But unfortuantely, when I scanned the pictures, the scanned images did not turn out as good as the actual images. They lost most of the original colours and good look. I am trying to figure out why and hopng to resolve this problem. Meanwhile, if you know any reasons why scanned images can turn out to bad "mail me about that. I have posted some of the pictures here. For rest of the scanned pictures, see my Yahoo photos and click on 'Lalbagh Flower Show' link
Today, when I tried to log into my site to make a few additions, Yahoo's geocities server would not let me in. I was thrown out with a 'Invalid password' message, no matter how many times I tried. Then suddenly I recalled reading at the blogger site that there are some problems logging into Geocities website and Yahoo is working on it. After thinking for a few seconds, I was able to come up with this work around: I simply logged in to one of the Yahoo services(My Yahoo to be precise). Once you login to Yahoo, their authentication server keeps a cookie in your machine and hence you get direct access(with out logging in) to any of the Yahoo services. So, now I try to access Geocities again and bang! I have been automatically logged in! I am fortunate to have read that article or I would have been breaking my head trying re-type my password again and agin. :-)
Last week was a very dry period. I hardly found any topic to write. So two days back, I decided to continue writing on the Indo-Pak update, though I wasn't too happy to write much about it. But fate had it that I should not write any more about the topic. When I finished writing the article and clicked the post button in my blogger, my browser crashed(Grrrrrr.....) and I lost all that I had written. :-( A day later, my machine also crashed. Fortunately, I was able to recover all my data. I keep wondering again and again why I am stuck to this dirty Windows operating system. I have also been using Solaris and Linux and have never seen these machines going down as often as windows. But still, every next day I see myself forced to boot up my Win2k machine due to dependencies. Well, I can't do much about this. At least let me show my frustration by linking to bill gates hate site and a windows hate site. There are hundrers of such sites in the net. Such sites are in bad taste for sure, but I can't help saying that they are fun too.
Last week, I had been to this beautiful place, Kemmannugundi., This is around 250kms from Bangalore. Read about the place in ourkarnataka website.The place is on the top of a hill, at the border of western ghats. It is at a fairly high altitude and has got some nice views around. Some waterfalls in the nearby areas are great to watch. We trekked at the hills around and visited a beautiful waterfall - 'Hebbe falls' nearby. Here is the picture of the waterfall, and a few more pictures. You can see full size pictures of the images here and some more images at Yahoo photos.
I had never thought that the most of my blogger would contain writings on news items. I had originally planned to write more about the interesting things I come across the web, technologies and things like that every surfer can read. But post December 13, every thing changed. Most of my blog now contains articles on Pakistan sponsored terrorism and India's lazy response to it.
Tony Blair said in a press conference in Pak: "Terrorism in any form is not acceptable."
What Indian TV channels interpreted(Star News I think): 'Blair says what is happening in Kashmir is not freedom struggle but terrorism(!!).'
Varsha Bhosle in Rediff
I typically don't read columns dedicated to analysing news. Unless it is by Varsha Bhosle. I have never seen any one writing so well and so sharp. And she speaks straight when saying something harsh, some thing that is rarety with columnists. Read Varsha Bhosle's article in rediff on why India should go to war. Read old articles from Varsha Bhosle in rediff.
The recent conference of South Asian countries in Kathmandu got some global attention for the wrong reason: tensions between India and Pakistan. SAARC(South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation) is a body promoting co-operation between the countries in the Indian subcontinent. The SAARC meets usually have agendas relating to development, social welfare and the like. But in the scenario post December 13th, the summit's single newsmaking issue is the tensions between the local biggie India and Pakistan. Some interesting incidents I came across about the summit:
1. General Musharraf turned up at the summit one day late! The official reason given is that he could not take off from China due to fog. But speculations are that he was afraid to meet India's PM in the first day's meeting. I suspect this is the real reason. The other speculation is about the an officer in Pakistan embassy in Nepal. An officer was arrested by Nepal police for posessing large amount of fake currency. And rumour is that Musharraf wanted to pressurize Nepal government to release this official by coming late!! And it is nothing new that there are too many criminals from Pakistan in Nepal.
2. At the end of Atal Bihari Vajapeyi's speech full of hatred to Pakistan, the Pakistan president walked down and shook hands with the prime minister. This became a very very famous gimmick and star attraction of the summit. The PM evidently was surprised and could not react immediately. What I would have said if I were in PM's shoes: "Thank you General, for endorsing my speech and approving your sins!!". But then, it took me some time to think of this response.
3. This line is taken from news in TV channel 'Aaj Tak', translated to English. "The Pakistan president General Musharraf changed colors serveral times today!". Anyone who was watching the happenings in the summit will agree instantly.
4. The India-Pakistan friction took center-stage in the summit. This was feared even before the summit begun. This is really not in the spirit of the summit. Here is what an official from Maldieves quoted: "It is high time that India and Pakistan realize that SAARC is not a forum for these two countries to fight between each other. They must realize that there are five other countries in SAARC and get down to disuss common agendas". It is true that Bangladesh, Maldieves and Bhuthan suffered from this problem. But it is also notable that along with India and Pakistan, the issue of terrorism is of high importance to SriLanka and Nepal. Nepal is suffering from the problem of extremist Maoist group MCC and SriLanka is troubled by the infamous LTTE.
While surfing around today, I found a few interesting things about the web.
I found the list of all services that Yahoo offers on their website(See my weblog on Yahoo services dated 31/12/2001). The list is really really big.
Yahoo also figures in the list of Seven wonders of the web listed by the Guardian. The article that describes the sites in brief is good. It has some new sites that I had never heard of, such as Project Gutenberg. The project aims at storing books in electronic format and make it available free on the web. I am happy to see that Blogger, the website that hosts the tool I use for publishing this weblog is also listed as one of the seven wonders!
I learnt about the concept of webrings. It is a system where a large number of users mutually link up their sites to improve traffic. Though the concept is innovative, I am not sure if it really brings in any significat traffic.