what's with this city?

Mick Jagger and Company just rocked Mumbai and Bangalore... Nidhi had the priviledge to witness the magic. Despite being the capital of the country, it is a sad truth that Delhi is the pits when it comes to anything remotely connected to any form of culture. In Sunday's HT, Indrajit Hazra (HT's resident rockman) wrote an article giving reasons for this, and wrote that large gigs were not held in Delhi because to get an event approved, the organizers would have to first give free passes to the ministers, their secretaries, the secretaries' secretaries, and so on, right down to the PA of the janitor of the office. We'd probably end up with a stadium full of freeloaders who'd anyway leave after 10 minutes because the show was all bakwaas.

this is the internet

By way of a conversation I was just having with someone, I realized how easy it is to find out all about a person. It's a simple step-wise deduction process by which you can get that person's complete personal details.

I also realized how scary it is for an average user to find out that the complete stranger you just met on the Internet knows so much about you.

Some years ago, you'd need to hire a detective to do this sort of stuff. But in this age of information technology, all you need is some logical deduction skills, and an Internet connection.

Let me give you a very very basic example of this. When you sign up for email, you enter a desired username, along with lots of private, priviledged information like date of birth, address, etc. So when the username is taken, the email provider conveniently suggests alternatives like username_74 or username_Delhi. A crime in the name of usability, in my view. The user quickly chooses one of these IDs without much thought, but from now on, every person that he writes to knows that Mr. User is 29 years old, or he is from Delhi.

devnagari script kiddies

This news at Linux Delhi's site made me chuckle:

Two school students, Avneesh Chhabra (15) and Shivaas Gulati (15) designed a Hindi Devanagri font for an inter-school contest. They won the event, received assurances from Microsoft that the Seattle-based company may be interested in licensing the fonts from them, and then, on 25 November 2002, decided nevertheless to publish the fonts under the freedom-based Lesser Gnu Public License (LGPL).

The Inter-School contest was MODEM 2002 - I was there to conduct a quiz. The Font Design event was being held for the first time. The objective was to make an ITRANS mapped Unicode Hindi Font and it was quite exciting to see the entries, and the approaches used. Some guys had actually scanned and vectorized Hindi characters written with pencil on paper. Some entries looked like hacks of presently available stuff.

what an idya

When we founded idya Research, we had one statement that we resolved to keep in our minds when working on anything. The statement is "Because Simple is beautiful". While chatting with a friend today, he asked me what it meant, and I said:

Me: Remember that scene from Dil Chahta Hai? Preity Zinta in that pure white dress, wet looking hair, and just a string of beads around her neck and shoulders, so subtle but still looking like an angel fallen from heaven?

Him: er, Yes

Me: That's what we mean by "Simple is beautiful".

Speaking of idya, Idea Cellular has arrived in Delhi, with awesome ads on TV and posters, glowsigns, and billboards all accross the city. The ads look so good that my evil brain thought up this really cool plan where we could simply print "Y" signs in bulk, and paste the Y over the E in every "Idea"!

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