Technology

chatterati

To inaugurate the day, a chat transcript:


Arnab: did you know that a boy here was eaten up waist down?

Victim 23: sending one-liner messages

Arnab: here at iit...

Victim 23: what?????????

Arnab: by a panther

Victim 23: when?????????

Victim 23: oh no

Arnab: evening

Arnab: ya

Arnab: so we're all on high alert and stuff

Victim 23: thats horribleeee

Victim 23: okayy

Victim 23: who was this boy?

Arnab: AF Baba,,,, Btech 3rd year Civil

Arnab: you know anyone in iit?

Victim 23: okay

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duMBA

Mighty Stupid. If this is what business schools are about, then I'm happy I'm not applying to any. From the article:

Harvard's Clark said the school's mission was to educate principled leaders with high integrity, sound judgment and "a strong moral compass -- an intuitive sense of what is right and wrong."

"Those who have hacked into this Web site have failed to pass that test," Clark said.

119 students are being accused of "hacking" which is laughable, since this is what they did:

...if you took your login hash, appended it to a URL at the ApplyYourself, you could see the decision letter on your file, if it had already been posted. [via /.]

First of all, I'd like to remove the overhyped and completely misused word "hacking" from all this. This is NOT hacking. This is not even a malicious break in, or a case of electronic eavesdropping (which would be the correct terms for this case). Let's use a low tech analogy to what happened, so that we can talk more about the ethics than the hack:

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Redesign

Six Apart revamped their website, consolidating their assets (TypePad, MovableType, and LiveJournal). I don't like the new design - looks like a girl with too much make up on. Also, I don't like the way they've used Flash to load up custom fonts.

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good chinese food

If you're in Bangalore, do visit Madhu's new restaurant, Shiok Far-eastern Cuisine that serves good Thai, Malaysian, Indonesian, and Singaporean food and has a rather spiffy website with a "Chef's Blog" even. The restaurant is on CMH Road, Indiranagar, Bangalore and all the food here contains no MonoSodiumGlutamate(Ajinomoto), so you don't have to worry about brain damage or anything like that when eating here.

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dot com vs beer

Korean superportal Daum.net is buying Lycos from Terra Networks for 105 million dollars. Terra originally had paid 12 billion dollars for the portal, which means that they're giving it away at close to 1/100th at the cost they paid! In case you didn't know, Daum is the biggest portal in Korea and is the 11th most popular website in the world, according to Alexa. But how wise was this deal for Terra? Here's a comment from /.:

Hm... $12.5 billion can buy about 925 million 12-packs of bottled Guinness Draught. At the 5 cent per bottle recycling rate in NY state, that would net about $555 million.

googul ipo page

The IPO Page is up. The first lines read:

In order to register for a bidder ID through this web site, you must be a U.S. person. An individual who is a resident of the United States is a U.S. person.

Two observations. First, that yours truly cannot help himself to a part of the pudding. Second, that lawyers suck majortime at writing simple English.

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As Foul a Pessimist as Ever Bit a Tiger

A guest post by Aadisht Khanna

Greetings, gentle readers. Arnab has a final viva coming up. He can’t post, so he’s given you guys a special treat- a guest post by me.

Today, we will talk about pessimism.

Until about a year ago, Nub and me were editors at a community blog and content site called Timepasstown (Version 3). TpT3 died, but fear not, TpT4 is ‘coming soon’.

TpT3 was wonderful. There was enlightened discussion on things like Maggi Noodles. There were Monday Conspiracies, which I haven’t written since TpT went down. There were music reviews. And there were comments to all of these.

Alas, there were also pessimists.

Now, I’m a libertarian. Not a fervent one- I’m not fervent about anything (except perhaps Preity Zinta)- but a libertarian nonetheless. If people want to be pessimistic, I don’t put obstacles in their way. They can go ahead and do what they like. All the same, if you’re an editor of a community website and you’re interested in keeping people coming there, pessimists are trouble. No, wait. They’re Trouble.

The problem that springs to mind is that they depress the other users. They spew gloom and doom over the front page and inner pages, and even in the comments. Pretty soon, the happier users get put off. No more TimepassTown, they say. It’ll just sour our digestion and cramp our happy disposition. Let’s head to Freshlimesoda instead. And soon your active users dwindle, and your

This isn’t the whole problem.

You might think that if they scare off the optimists it’s not all that bad. After all, the pessimists will still be left. Sure, your community website might tend towards the dark and despondent, but at least the community will be there.

That’s where you’re wrong. You might have a community for a month, but then it’ll fall apart. This happens for two reasons.

The first is that the pessimistic poster was pessimistic because he- or she- was unlucky in love. This leads him- or her- to undergo a creative spurt and write mordant poetry, cynical stories and soul searching articles. This spurt lasts for three months and then subsides.

So, after three months, the pessimistic poster is a spent force. You can’t rely on him- or her- to keep writing for your website. The feast of reason and flow of soul is effectively over.

The other reason is that the pessimistic poster commits suicide, and is then totally useless to your website, not to mention the rest of the world.

What I’m getting at, then, is- if you want your blog to be successful, or to be the life and soul of the party at the new, bigger-and-better TpT4 (which will be planned, designed, implemented and launched ‘Any Day Now’), be an optimist. Or a pragmatist. A spiritualist, even- people will lap up the otherworldy stuff. But never a pessimist. It kills readership.

On that note, goodbye.

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Slash Hot

Amit Singh: his personal website has been slashdotted six times in six months. Wow. Pretty interesting bio too.

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gimp learnings

People who know me are aware how big a fan I am of the venerable application that is Photoshop/Imageready. After having shifted to Linux(post on that pending), I decided to have a look at GIMP today, based on a tip-off by a FLOSS buddy of mine. My findings are more or less concordant with the rest of the world (from what I found on google), but I'd like to add a few things to what everyone else is saying. I'm sure there are more people who're using the Fedora Core 1 distro with GNOME and are considering the GIMP as a serious replacement for Photoshop, so here's a few things that'll help them:

atomic requirement

Dear everyone who's using a Blogger.com / Blog*spot account:, I have a small favour to ask of you: Why not get an Atom feed for your website? It allows us aggregator-using people to subscribe to your blog and read them when it's updated. You guys are the only one without feeds (even Livejournal folks have feeds) so I think it's a good idea to enable them. Here's how you can do it.

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