February 21, 2006

A Trite called 'Celebrity'

Every time I watch these 'Celebrities', (more profoundly fingered by today's SMS generation as 'Celebs') either on TV channels or newspapers, I don't know for whatever reasons, I start dwelling into and about their lives. Very often it's because they've struck my fancy just simply with that floating aura around the exotic look of theirs,(that however happens mostly in case of female celebs[;)] ) and some times because I think they are tasteful enough to be included in, as part of my food for thought.

The word 'Celebrities' I use in a very strict sense here which excludes those Page-3 jamborees, who will out of their desire for ephemeral popularity not mind paying out thick sums to get their pictures published on Page-3 of all those untouchable blotting tabloids. Innocent they are of the fact that it is the status quo as celebrity which puts someone on the paper and not the other way round. Celebrity status is something one earns - not by socialising but through exception making.

Now the general perception of a celebrity for a common man is I believe - someone who's glamorous (with a black goggle somewhere on the face), and always escorted by at least one colt armed bodyguard. The underlying assumption - more the number of bodyguards skirting around a celebrity the higher is his or her status and popularity.!! And there's a whole gamut of celebrities one can observe upon a close look around. They come in all various types and can be classified as per their profession, popularity level( as in local, national, global) and the associated enchantment.

The professional classification includes a wide range starting from being the most classy and ostentatious show business capitalists i.e. Film Stars to a little less enticing (but not smaller in any sense when its comes to the control of masses !!) small screen TV serial actors to Cricketing Heroes, Tennis Sensations then to Politicians and Underworld Dons and even extend up to the wildest thing one can imagine - Encounter Specialists.

Although the popularity level correlates quite closely to the profession of the celebrity, there are some who are equally popular as their highest counterparts, when their talent and skill of exception making could not have budged their popularity graphs even slightly above the zilch if not for the controversies which overhauled their image. People like MF Hussein, Mallika Sherawat, Jaya Lalitha, Bal Thakrey etc etc belong to this ordinary league. But who cares, its the limelight which matters in the end, controversies are just the bulbs which generate that limelight!

Coming to the next classification - Associated Enchantment - Now this is something truly materialistic and carnal when looked holistically. So all those quintessential femme fatales and almond eyed -sugar clad dolls rule the celebrity chart of men's while those flamboyant chocolate heroes with egressing sinews do the same for all the women's. Its simple mathematics. Celebrities have always been closely associated with beauty and charm and that's where this classfication plugs in. The pre-req of being a celebrity has for long been, knowing the art of body perfection. So even if you are not a big shot or talented in any way, your god-gifted enchantment will take you places and build up a huge fan following.

Gone are those days when one could count celebrities on fingers. Few could then qualify as a celebrity, since opportunities were limited and there was no deluge of information of the kind which current media has drowned us in. A completly new concept has emerged lately - that of Celebrity-Making, that has materialized itself to become a dissolute profession which in the disguise of Talent Hunts and other Reality Shows has already started to cash in on the dreams and armaans of people. People there, become celebrities day-in and day-out and this has lured others to jump into that fire-fighting exercise.

But this rat race of becoming a celebrity has diluted the very essence of the word 'celebrity'. If everyone becomes a celebrity then does that even leave a space for exception-making, which essentially is all about being a 'celebrity' in the first place. Its decreasingly becoming a game of proving one's self, and instead of succumbing ones dignity, self-respect and integrity to the mercy of those lewd channels, newspapers and dot-coms to gain that elixir called 'fame'.

Celebrity is someone who, according to me, can leave a lasting impression on people, who has the courage to leave a mark on the history and who can give back to make this world a better place, quite in contradiction to the kinds which exist today.

I guess pursuing simplicity and living like the common man of Laxman, will definitely earn me some popularity or even make me one of those 'celebs' in future when everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.

February 19, 2006

Online 24x7 !

'The Network is the computer'- Sun Microsystems Inc.

The undisputable truth of this computer age.. Huh.! as if I realized it today!..no..that was almost a decade ago, when I had my first encounter with networking during my school days. 'LAN' was the word, which proudly took its prominence in the vocabulary of our daily talk then. We jumped with enthusiasm similar to that of a small child who gets a new toy to play with and completely unaware of the complexities inside it.

It was not long, before we learned skills to extract whatever little fun we could out of it. But to the dismay our fun was restricted, both out of our fear of the teachers and ignorance about this new technology at our disposal - sending messages across network to different machines and accessing our C++ program files from the server using our logins was all that we did and remained content with. Obviously Internet, Email, Multiplayer network games and Instant Messaging were some of the words we never heard at that time.

Two years down the line LAN became an indispensable part of computing during IITK. A year later Internet came as a mercenary in our lives making us invincible in our wars against those undoable projects and assignments of the courses. Emails took the place of hand written letters and Instant messengers substituted for phone calls. Multiplayer network games like AOE and Counter-Strike became best time-killers. And now almost a decade later internet has almost occupied our time schedule becoming more than a way of living our lives.

And with free internet access at the work place and an equally good access( and yes its free during night hours) at home now, its hard to now even look back at the pre-internet era of my life.

Net is often argued as the inalienable symbol of freedom in all senses, a freedom which however bills us not on our money but our time. Though we do realize how dependent and addicted it has made us on itself, still its something we can not forgo. So much so that its 600 hrs in the morning and I guess its time to get rid of this addiction now.


February 16, 2006

AdSense or Nonsense

Make Money - Use Google's Adsense.

No am not advertising AdSense here, in fact that would be the last thing on earth, I would do on my blog - i.e. to have google's AdSense overrun the chastity of my blog page and make it unclean.I don't completely understand if it even makes sense to have one's blog littered of ads patched on it by google's adsense, when the sole purpose of a blog is to provide a personal web space to its owner.

The idea doesn't makes sense, even when looked in parallel to the television industry which sucks huge amount of money for those split second ads becoz in contrast to the ads on television which are more or less controlled by demand and supply economics, the information on net is free, liberal and blatant, not governed by any force, or law, or act.

And that's because Internet evolved in a very different way when compared to other forms of media meant for information exchange as in print, television or radio where commercialization plays an important role. Internet was born free, and intended to remain free for ever.

AdSense is the google's most(or perhaps the only) powerful revenue generating club, only because of the monopolistic control of google over the search market and aristocratic hold on the information we can access. Google.cn is the perfect example of how political sycophancy has played role in restricting access to information to the people at large.

How many of us (not me atleast) notice what those blue colored text ads, on the sidelines of almost every site say. Not even one I guess. It's on the contrary a rather irritating concept in my opinion, which digresses someone trying to locate on an already cluttered webpage, that one piece of information which is being sought. I seriously cannot digest the idea of why would anyone click on those ads, when one can easily search for the same thing on google itself.

Why would anyone reading a Valentine e-card in India be interested in knowing who are the whole-sale suppliers of red roses in US. Or for that matter if I am buying a bluetooth on ebay, does that mean am interested in getting my tooth scaled. No. Similarly, if am already downloading a mp3 song from a site, I dont care what all other sources are there for it. The purpose is defeated in my sense.

Okay I understand that these are just few of the contextual cross connections and redundancy aspects which AdSense owing to the lack of any Artificial Intelligence algorithm, overlooks. But even then somehow I personally feel that advertisement of something on net degrades its image, makes it look cheap and worthy of being despised.Maybe am prejudiced after persistently being slammed by those beleaguering ads on net, which serve no purpose at all except to piss you off.

The 'known' needs no popularity, 'unknown' does, but there's nothing which can be classified as unknown on net. Its all open, nothing is obscured on net and especially if anything is worth being popular then there's no way it can be stopped from being one- courtesy those chain mails, [fwds] and instant messages which will incessantly pass on the very link unless you click on it. You dont need to look at the sun to know if its shining, isn't it !

I guess I have digressed more than I intended. The bull's eye was the concept of floating ads on one's blog. In so far as I can see, it doesn't lead to any increased income as AdSense promises in the first place, coz unless you are a popular and professional blogger there's hardly any traffic hitting your blog site so as to thicken you wallet, except for few shillings you might earn hither and tither. For second, In my opinion blogs are definitely the wrong place to show ads on, rather a blog should be kept untouched and sacrosanct, devoid of any irrelevant stuff (including links and banners) which are not an iconic reflection of ones ideas, thoughts & style. And for last but not the least - a blog is not a surrogate market to sell or showcase something which you yourself don't own.

February 13, 2006

I wonder

Quite a many things, some silly, some arbitrary, some completely insane, some heedful, but there's something common amongst them, like the thread of a necklace binding its beads, which makes me wonder about what all I wonder.

I wonder about realities such as these, which baffle me everytime :

How this world will survive when all the petrol is used up.
What is it like to work miles below the earth, inside a mine.
Why is earth looked upon with its north pole at the top, and not upside down.
How does a television work - (though a black mark on my education - television is still one of the most astounding things for me till date ).
What are the physiological differences between the brains of a wise, intelligent and genius person vis-a-vis a dumb, unwise and stupid person.
If there is a limit to the ever decreasing record timings of 100m sprint race in Olympics.

And the most baffling one - If almost all of the engineers like me end up doing software jobs which doesn't help the world in any way, then who's driving the technology train( because the rest of us land up in one or the other management institutes).
Who makes all those beautifully designed iPods, Macs and Tele shopping stuff with increasing complexities.
Who after all is the real engineer, actually putting his brain to calculate forces in trusses and potential differences across the nodes.?

And then there are such philosophical wonders as -

What would it be like to see yourself from another persons' eye, i.e. to say how does another person sees you physically, definitely its not like seeing your own self in the mirror.
Where does that 'I' ( 'I' as in the one which Descartes talks of in his meditation) ,unleash itself after the death of the body.
Does everyone percieve pink color in a similar manner.
How different it would be living in a parallel universe.
What is it like to be a rattle snake, or a tiger or for that matter any animal.
And what it feels like being in love.[;)]. ( I dont know if its good or bad but love is still philosophical to me ..!)
...and the inexhaustible list however continues endlessly.

A bit of past on this -
My confrontation with the feeling of wonderment started off from the most hackneyed poem of our kindergarten times - "Twinkle Twinkle little star, How I wonder what you are".
And I still wonder to this day looking at the sky with the same innocence of a child for whom the stars are no less than the diamonds...only that the meaning of 'Twinkle' has changed with time ;). (No, am no fan of anybody by the name of Twinkle.)

Alice in Wonderland, Topsy Turvy Land,The Far-away Tree etc etc, all contributed in my essential learning of the act of wondering about things. Most of us do wonder about things, but take it as if it was yet another dream after a heavy day only to be forgotten the next morning when our eyes reopen. We re-indulge ourselves back in things around us and continue normally unless something again makes us fall into that trance and we start wondering about something else. But this dilutes the gravity and uniqueness of what one wonders.

Coz' one of the very basic attributes of all what we wonder is our assumption of it being unique within the scope of what we know. Its not always that one wonders something completely new, or else we would be witnessing the deluge of startling, strange ideas every other day. But people wonder and then let that contemplation go off like a puff of smoke, like a slippery fish escaping out of their hands back into the water, never to be caught again, thereby preventing that deluge.

Wondering about things worthy of being wondered like the seven wonders of the ancient world or sudden transformation in our lives along with the causes for those transformations, do not qualify according to me as the proper subjects for wondering. The ones which qualify are both physical and metaphysical, they are subtle yet understandable, they are conspicous yet obscured like the ones which I had already mentioned. And the thread which I reffered to in the very first line, which binds all of them, is that unindebted sense of freedom and glee that comes along anytime and everytime you wonder about something.

so long..

--and yes keep wondering what this post was all about !--

February 9, 2006

The Rainbow

I wrote this as my submission for the final heavy weight assignment of the humanities course "ENG436- Writers vision of the future" during my last year at IITK. I will not here dwell into all those philosophical connotations of the 'future' (far beyond the concept of time) we were taught in the course, rather keep myself busy with the work I am loaded with these days and simply put the original text of the story uncensored, unquoted and unplugged - So here it goes ......

The Rainbow

"Future is catastrophic!!” I said, with indignation.

“But I’ve been waitin for this momen..,so wat if am never goin to come bak. Les play this game..Come on...”.

I knew that it was going to happen from the very day, he started to scribble on Magna Doodle, the one his father gifted him on his 10th birthday. The first thing he wrote on it was ‘am comin future!’ The other time he got a Dancing Monster on his b'day, he had flushed it right down the toilet, very next day. And now when he is 18, his instinct to venture into future has leaped off more than his age.

As a pre-matured birth he had always been running ahead of time, be it the homework submissions in school, or the ontogenesis of the moustaches above his lips. I get this feeling every time I see him, that there is definitely something extra or misssing in his genes,

“wat-er u thinkin?"
he squalled in my ears.
“Oh...nothing, but we shouldn't do this, it’s...”.

As a mark of self-respect he spoke again before I could finish. His habit of interrupting has never let me say my words completely: 'Interruption' was his make, as if he was destined to interrupt.

" I can’t wait, nemore... am leavin without u, if ur not in here wi'thin a min", he said in anger and desperation.

Nothing but to loose against him in the arguments was the trend and so I decided not to uphold his craving for 'future' anymore. I have known him precisely from the point in timeline, when he was outcaste by his classmates. Ever since then we have been friends, or to say more convincingly 'brothers'. I cannot even dream of living without him. Therefore the next instant when I was sitting beside him in the doughnut-shaped chamber of the Segway Human Transporter, amidst the biggest uncertainty of my life, a rough feeling of content drew over me.

As a research lover, I was privileged to know many things, especially those which were more of a fiction than reality for others. Incidentally, on one occasion I had somehow laid my hands on a research paper titled:'The speed of time' by an Irish Physicist. It was more of a philosophical embarkment rather than a rigorous mathematical proof of something which I still have not been able to mentally digest, forget about assimilating it. The crux of the paper was -‘Time moves, both in forward and backward direction’.

The premise on which the paper was written argued that if time can move forward, then what stops it from moving backward. How outlandish and insane, this concept might seem at first impression to anyone, it had the most severe and disastrous outcome, that could ever be imagined. For it led to a catastrophic collision between the two timelines, traveling in opposite directions, quite similar to two trains moving in opposite directions on the same track, yet so different in physical aspects of a collision. The collision would turn the whole universe around us to a mere singularity. In a way it had also put a limitation on the extent and quantity of time.The paper termed the moment of collision on timeline as a ‘Dent’ and expected its duration to be less than a nano-second.

From that very day, I had this uncanny feeling that if there is someone who will run across this 'Dent', then its going to be no one else, but him. But how I wish I could dump all this knowledge into his 8 pounds of brain, without having to speak a word!

His father was the head of an outlawed company named Segway that did R&D on time machines. The theoretical feasibilities and practical viabilities of making a Time Machine had been worked out already two decades back. It was then that the International Confederation of Metaphysical Researchers popularly known in short as INCoMER, based on an anonymous litigation filed against the advances being made in this field passed a law which proscribed any further researches on these machines, and declared the production of time machines illegal.

The rage and protest of the scientific community which stood against the decision, was easily suppressed The litigation had through a careful risk assessment brought in front of the whole world the implied threat on human life, and the associated vulnerabilities, if these kinds of machines were put for assembly line production. After that even the few prototypes of these machines being experimented upon in the labs were completely destroyed and the relevant literature burnt down to ashes.

And thus it came over the shoulders of those bad guys who await the formation of new laws and regulations, so that they can breach them. His father was the first one to get around this new law, by leading a group of rebel scientists who managed to setup their own laboratories and other infrastructure for a self sustained R&D centre of time machines, which later on became famous by the name 'Segway Transporters’.

This new untested version, in the series of Programmable Human Transporters manufactured by Segway, in which I was sitting with him closely, resembled the picture of ‘Tokamak’ from our Science book. My default habit of reading the manuals, unfolded the capabilities of this new model to me. It was designed to specifically pin point and target any desirable time in future, with an accuracy of a nano-second.

"les goto 29th febuary of twenty-nigh twenty-nigh..", he said in an extremely euphoric voice.
As a freehearted guy, I jolted upon him "There is no 29th of February in twenty...”.
I immediately guessed that he had realized the mistake in his words while punching the keys on the florescent lit board under the dark light of the chamber, because once again he spoke before I could finish.

" ok,..leave that, les try a random time!!".
"Boy! Has he gone mad", I said to myself, but then I could not expect anything more sensible than this from him.

And Before I could realize what he was up to, we were already screaming out of the intense pressure and an unbearable acceleration which made the entire blood gush up to my brain. I could feel the perturbed and periodical motion of the machine, often accompanied by a dissonance. A silence prevailed after this initial hassle and state of commotion. I felt completely drained, with only a last quantum of energy left in me to dream with open eyes. I don’t know if it was in my dream or it was a hallucination but I could see those seven faint colors of an astoundingly bright rainbow.

The symmetrical reflection from a shining surface below projected the semi-circular shape of the rainbow as a complete full circle. However, this ecstasy ended abruptly, because we literally crashed, like an untrained motorbike driver, forgetting how to apply brakes. By this I knew we have reached somewhere in the future, without even a vague idea of ‘where’.

Murphy had said it right , 'If at all anything can go wrong, It will', and even if Murphy had not said this, I would be more than sure, of going wrong if there is someone like him around me. Not to my utter surprise, but with a fearful heart, a line of cold sweat running down my armpits and knowing the nano-second accuracy of our machine, I could feel from the air around, that we had ‘successfully’ struck the ‘Dent’. I needed no more words to prove that Interruption was in his blood; in fact in his genes. That he did not spare even ‘Time’.


PS: Comments and Criticisms are most welcome !!

February 6, 2006

The temperature outside is 29°C.

To my utter delight CM today pushed me, asking for my next concoction of words, but being kept so busy by the organization I work for, it was next to impossible for me to steal sometime off and write for any and all who love to savour those concoctions.

So, I decided to extend my already lengthened office hours to publish the next in the sequence. But not much has happened lately, about which I can write or even pluck the title, concept or the hint from. But lets c -
  • My GMAT was at last, after a month of suspicion over its validity, was officially annulled in absence of providing valid identity proofs.
  • Oracle IDC finally managed to have a TGIS party ( mind it , its not TGIF - Fridays are not the same here !! ), though organized quite well, it ended up with loads of controversies related to the entrance at the venue and an embroilment between the employee club and employees at large over regulations of the event.
  • No new movie seemed prospective enough , to over wash RDBs lingering sense of enjoyment, so I kept myself away from the multiplexe(s).
    (Yes the desperate, chaotic and maniac population of hyd has finally been presented with another Shangri-la - The PVR Cinemas - which recently opened up its partially completed manifold entertainment offshoot in here.)
  • The roads are still shining even after the plenary and have maintained their integrity and solidarity with no sign of puddles or holes, while the lane dividers have gradually lost their glitter after having undergone their first million tires sustenance test.
  • The book 'Fountainhead' which I am trying to read for so long, has shown no sign of getting completed in near future. I am on page 477 right now, I believe.

  • India lost yet again to Pak in todays ODI - courtesy Duckworth-Lewis.
  • And if you, like others, believe that there has to be a connection between the title and the post, then I am sorry for rebuffing that unsaid tradition here ;). That's what I call : Blogger's licence. !!
That's it - My conscious incompetence doesn't permit me anymore to continue this crappy, filthy and cockeyed post, and be a shame and disgrace to the whole of blogger's community which however is completely unaware of my presence and such acts of sacrilege , on one of their supposedly sacrosanct platforms. But I love doing that !!! :D


February 1, 2006


Enough of reviews, philosophy, and literature, its time to switch to the tech , the next best thing to 'naked' ;)

Recently I read some white papers and related stuff on the emerging IM (Instant Messaging) technology called Jabber/XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol), though not a popular one, it has come into limelight after Google used it in its Gtalk IM client. Jabber is basically a set of XML related protocols with XMPP at its core, for real time IM and comprises of other protocols also apart from XMPP. Jabber to IM, is similar to what TCP is to networking, Java is to Programming, HTML is to web and IMAP is to E-mail, in the sense that it aims to spread interoperability between different kinds of existing IM services and highlight the importance of real time in IM. Being a decentralized and open source tech it gives developers freedom to put in what all they think can be useful in terms of IM.

One of the biggest stresses of jabber/xmpp is on providing the presence information to its users available on different resources. Resources are the mediums through which a user connects to a jabber server, like Mobiles, PDAs or Desk/Laptops, essentially providing users the freedom to be concurrently logged on with the same user name from different locations/resources. The intelligent structure of the protocol then makes it possible for the server to pass on the data to relevant resources only, thereby increasing the possibility of the message to reach its recipient in time. The use of XML for data binding and transport dispenses the implicit hassles and technicalities involved in most of the existing IM protocols, because XML is a human readable format and definitely more easier to work with.

So, where does it lack? What has prevented its growth and popularity, and puts it at the last in IM tech stack? Foremost of all the reasons, is that Jabber/XMPP is just a novice amongst the big sharks of the IM industry. Yahoo, AIM, ICQ and MSN have already set the trend long back and distributed the market pie, each almost owning the piece of it with them. XMPP was popular only amongst free lance and interested developers who took it up for experimental purposes and built clients for their own use. It was because of Google's spree of doing unique things, which leveraged its potential use and brought it to the forefront of competition with other IM softwares. And now when it has rivaled its competitors I guess Jabber/XMPP will gradually become no less than a threat to the existing IM companies, forcing them to either switch their technology or at least provide a support for it.

Though providing enhancement for multimedia support in terms of VoIP and P2P multimedia sessions using XMPP is one of the major issues as of now, but the JSF(Jabber Software Foundation) has already made its move with JEP(Jabber Enhancement Proposal) to provide a complete, standard and robust extension protocol for the same in the form of Jingle which was published recently towards the end of last year, as an alternative solution for both, IETF's Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), and the ITU's H.323 technology. Gtalk uses a hardcore C++ API LibJingle for its VoIP capability, which itself as the name suggests is based on the Jingle-Audio and Jingle-Signalling.

Jabber is increasingly becoming a favorite choice amongst corporates as they realize the need for a personal IM system for their enterprises. With its highly secured IM capabilities and easier maintenance and setup cost Jabber XCP is the only enterprise level IM solution available today. This has already triggered participation from more players in this new potential market of IM solutions for enterprises.

And no doubt with Google disseminating Jabber/XMPP, and arousing interest amongst the IM users and developers about this new trend setter, XMPP has a long way to go.