Monday, January 24, 2005

Bill Atkinson Photography

Bill Atkinson has an exceptional photography site.

I chose to put this picture here, because I've been to 'Antelope Canyon' in Arizona, and its every bit as magical as the photograph looks!

antelope canyon

Here is his home page. To see Bill's entire image gallery, click here.



This is an absolutely great blog I came across recently. It's about education, training and how the brain works! Although the logo shows Creating Passionate Users, the blog is called Headrush.

Creating Passionate Users

An excerpt -
The problem with most corporate/adult learning programs is that they're just like school. And the problem with school is that it sucks. It works against the way the brain wants to learn.
The best learning occurs in a stimulating, active, challenging, interesting, engaging environment. It's how the brain works. The best learning occurs when you move at least some part of your body. The best learning occurs when you're actively involved in co-constructing knowledge in your own head, not passively reading or listening.
via Gaping Void

Sunday, January 23, 2005

What if....

What if life had dealt a different set of cards? What if I had taken that left turn instead of the right?

What if I had taken The Road Not Taken?

What if....

And what if one could put all the choices together and create a flowchart out of it?

Someone did!

What If

Thanks to Steeph

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Flash in the night!

Late night. Seth Godin's blog. Just the word Numanuma. Cryptic!

So, after seeing the wierd flash movie, did a Google, and came to an interesting place - Gprime.

Saw some interesting stuff, from the funny The End of the World, to the biographical Craziest, to the ones which I really liked, simple, fun, playful - Cursor Thief and Cursor Thief Live

cursor thief

Coffee Coloured Mugs!

Well, somebody put out this idea in Incidentally, if you haven't visited Half Bakery, you should - it's one of the places on the web which always makes a bad day turn out good!

Back to the idea - This person mentioned that it would be a great idea to have coffee mugs the same colour as you would want your coffee! That way you just pour your milk until the colour matches!

The idea is here

It sounded great, of course, and I forgot all about it, but then suddenly yesterday, I come across this site by a guy called Onkar Singh Kular in London! A British designer, Onkar Singh Kular, has gone ahead and done just what was on Half Bakery!

We live in a very, very interesting world!

via We Make Money Not Art

Thursday, January 20, 2005

The Kamats

The Kamat Family

Once in a blue moon, a very, very, blue moon, during daily glances over millions of characters of text, does one reach a website which brings pause, quiet and tranquility to the mind. A gateway. To another world. And once having seen the view, your heart aches to turn away. Just wishing everything could be grabbed together right now, in the immediacy of this twenty-first century, in the right-nowness of one-click-publishing, in the splintering of the second on the digital clock face without recognition. But still you turn away, other things in life beckon, leaving the yearning and waiting for another day when the view can be enjoyed again anew.

The URL is

Calling it just a website is sheer blasphemy. Calling it a portal even, is to demean it, what with Yahoo and MSN having been called the same. I can only call it an awakening.

This is a labour of love by a family of four. The world through their eyes. And not just the world they see, but the world that they have created for us to see through as well. The parents, Krishnanand & Jyotsna Kamat (the dad passed away in 2002), never owned a computer. All their records were in diaries, in photographs, in journals. And it's not as if the computer age just brought in the scanned versions. (Suddenly I realised, that the scanner appeared way after the computer!). No, even after their son created the website, way back in 1995, they continued writing for the web, in longhand!! Kudos to their son and daughter-in-law, Vikas and Hiryoung Kim Kamat, for getting it to where it is now. But there's no denying, it isn't a single person's effort. Amma (Jyotsna Kamat) still posts! Her latest is about a trip she made to Rajasthan!

Here's how my train of thought (and clicks!) went - I wanted to see all the nominees for Indibloggies - the blogging awards for Indian bloggers. That's how I reached the Kamats. From there automatically to 'Kamat BLOG'. While going through the page, right at the bottom, I see this cryptic sentence "Not made with Blogger, Radio, or LiveJournal, but with Kamat Content CrowBot." That is what intrigued the techie in me. As I read further, I realised that the whole page, the site, the portal, the relaying of information, the indexing of pictures, even the searching of pages all the way down to the links within links of the amazing story unfolding before me was entirely done by themselves! I mean the only thing these guys stopped from was building the Operating System!! And all this done by amateurs in their available time!!!!

So, finally, I started reading the content! A mention of K.V. Subbanna caught my eye. Amma's trip reminded Vikas of the Magsaysay award winning author's book "Na Rajasthanadalli". (He's even providing some English translations!) Can you imagine? In this day and age of hyperlinks and the "Blog This" button, someone translating a book for their website? I was humbled, to say the least.

Talking about K. V. Subbanna, Vikas writes -
This "Na Rajasthanadalli" book was published by K.V. Subbanna in 1974. For those who do not know, Subbanna is a great dramatist and thinker in India and has been an awardee of the Magsaysay Prize. Bappa admired him a lot, and it brought me tears to read a recent letter of tribute by him to my father. It touched me because I was suprised how much he had understood Bappa -- the profoundness of great men that is only visible to other great men, something that I had not known or noticed. One of these days I am going to translate the letter...(the tribute by itself is fairly complex, dwelling into the definitions of knowledge, community, learning, teaching, and selflessness).

Kamats. To you, I apologise. My life's too meagre to offer you a tribute.

My wishes are in this blog. And will be in my revisits.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

A Musicplasma for Blogs - TouchGraph

Well, I didn't know where to post this - whether I should post this in my other blog of Virtual Tools and Computer Tweaks ( or here, so in the end I decided to post it in both the places!

Just like Musicplasma is for music and helps in discovering new artists, new music, similarly, TouchGraph has created a visual browser for blogs and websites!

You key in a URL of one of the sites you visit the most often and like and it throws up other sites which are similar in nature!

Quite interesting really. I think slowly visual searching of the web is going to get smarter like this and browsing will be more of a visual experience than a textual one.

via BoingBoing

The London Underground (and it's animals!)

london underground

I came across this intriguing Yahoo 2004 pick called the "Animals of the Underground". That site (more of it later) is really interesting, but I thought of refreshing my memory of the London Underground and it's famous map first.

Harry Beck, an electrical engineer, re-engineered, so to speak the London Underground map 1933, to make it simpler and easier. He based his idea on his regular job and designed it to look like an circuit diagram. Needless to say, it became insanely popular and has forever remained as a design classic and an icon. A brief history of 'The Tube', as it is called, is here.

The Tube map, is instantly recognisable -

london undergound map

Of course, it has changed over all these years. And the question as to whether all these new fangled design actually reflects the land above ground is answered wonderfully in this interactive map! Here you can see how the actual street map differs from today's London Underground map which is way different than the map as it was originally proposed!

And now to the Animals of the London Underground!

Well, you see, if you join different lines along the myriad links which form the London Underground map, you get some very strange shapes. And that's what this site is about.

Here's a bird in flight! (The home page lists an elephant, but somehow I like the bird!)


Thanks to Yahoo Picks 2004, I had a nice walk down memory lane of the London Underground!

Holy COWs!!

Okay, this is absolutely unbelievable! Bollywood movies to be watched with a click of the mouse, that too for $1.99!! And legally!! (And with Paypal!!!)

Bollywood, led by the ace thespian, Dev Anand is leading this as of now. And it's called Cinema on Web (COW - Hence the title!!)

kala pani

Yahoo Finance covers the "Cinema on Web" concept.

The site itself is very cheesy, with the usual garish colours and graphics which goes against decent Web Design in any language! But the
demo of Zeenat Aman crooning "Dum Maro Dum" is itself worth it!! Go fullscreen by double-clicking the video!

(The above link is a high bandwidth one, for the low bandwidth link, click here, and for dial-up here)

And as a bonus, there's Dev Anand himself talking about the movies. Here's his clip on "Kala Pani"! (Didn't strike me that he wears black throughout the movie!)

So, Is this the future of cinema distribution? Well, I certainly think so!

via Slashdot

Update: I downloaded 'Guide' and of course, it's great to watch! Only one quirk though, I need the internet connection to be on to be able to play this! I can live with that! If I figure out a way to convert this to a VCD I'll post the solution here.

Monday, January 17, 2005


Musicplasma has been a favourite of mine ever since it came out. I've discovered numerous new artists through it. I key in one of my current favourite artists and then follow the threads across to many other musicians who's music is similar. The links are sometimes logical, sometimes musical, always enjoyable!


Besides just being a great service, it's has one of the best Graphical User Interfaces I've ever seen!

How to tie your shoelaces

You thought you knew that, did you?

Well, according to Ian's Shoelace Site, there are twenty-two different ways to lace shoes and eleven different ways to tie the knot!

So, next time you're rushing to get ready and you bend down to tie your shoes, maybe you should think "I can do things differently, even when it comes to something as mundane as this!"


via Yahoo Picks for 2004

Signs of Life

This website lists signs photographed from all over the world! Some of them are downright crazy! (

This one I liked - sign to the 'Gents' and 'Ladies'

Signs of Life

Sunday, January 16, 2005


The future, according to some....


Possible? Maybe.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The Little Indian that Will!

I really didn't believe it until I actually saw the picture. I mean just check this out -


At first I thought - "No way, that can't be Detroit. Maybe they just flew a few guys over to India for a photoshoot!"

But, no! Three guys - Eric Takamura, Joel Jermakian and Anubhav Sethi have formed a company, called New Generation, and are planning to fit these pesky little beasties with an electric motor! I would've thought just fitting a petrol engine would help, because as anyone who has heard one of these can testify, they run on a steam engine!

Well, the whole article seemed like the stuff of myths and legends until a familiar name popped up and made it a great reality - Bajaj Motors. For those not in the know, Bajaj Motors is the largest manufacturer of scooters and three-wheeled autorishaws this side of the north pole. And Bajaj Motors has signed up New Generation to create their new lot of autorikshaws with electric motors.

Here's wishing New Generation the best of luck and here's wishing that this will be the future of urban transportation. All over the world! Actually, I'm superstitious - Three's a lucky number, right? And this thing has three wheels, okay? And then there are these three guys! Wow! What's the chance of that! So three cheers for you folks!!

Read the great article titled The Little Engine that Might at the Washington Post

Thanks to another great gadget blog POPGADGET. (Yes, it's a gadget blog for women. So?)

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Now I know why I stay up late! (and hate getting up early!)

Got this one from BoingBoing. A blog called Circadiana and one of the posts being Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sleep (But Were Too Afraid To Ask)

The "owls" have longer periods and "larks" have shorter periods. Period determines phase relationship between the internal clock and the environmental synchronizing cue (e.g., the light-dark cycle), thus longer the period of the clock, later the clock will trigger waking up in the morning or feeling sleepy in the evening, and vice versa. People like me go to bed at 4am and wake up at noon. People with the extreme lark mutation wake up at about 4am, but are real party poopers, snoozing at 7pm or so.

So, I'm an 'owl', eh? I can live with that!

An India to be proud of!

A quote by Shashi Tharoor, who's the Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, United Nations, on Pravasi Bharatiya Divas -
Last year we saw a Muslim President ushering in a Sikh PM, who was led to the position by a catholic. This is the India we can be proud of.
via Rediff News

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

An interesting article about the economic disparity in India

Although this article came about because of a piece of news which gained wide publicity in the media both in India and the West, it points out the economic disparity endemic in Indian society. Of late India has been covered quite extensively overseas but anybody who has been there is very surprised at the contrast. In fact, a long time back (before I had been abroad), a friend of mine told me after returning to India - "It's not the culture shock you get when you go abroad. It's the schock you get when you return". Even now, every time I return to India, the contrast hits me full in the face. High rise buildings sit side by side against villages. People travelling in flashy cars while others are still trying to make ends meet. The wealth being earned by a small class of society doesn't seem to be percolating fast or evenly enough.

This article appeared in Wired titled 'India's Odd Couple: Cops and Tech'

A quote from the article -
"The cop who checks your car license does not own a car," said Raghu Raman, who heads an information security firm called Mahindra Special Services Group. "The passport official who checks your passport does not go abroad. The cop to whom you go to register a credit card misuse does not own a credit card. If a cop is in no position to own a computer, how can he fight cybercrime? The field cop (and) the beat constable live in another world."

via Wired News

Tuesday, January 04, 2005


You know something, ever since the Tsunami hit, I'm not feeling anything. I mean nothing. My mind's a total blank. I'm not even thinking anything. I thought so many times of writing something, for myself, for my blog. But just a blank. It's not that I've gone numb, or maybe it is. It's not that it feels distant. It's not that it feels as if it happened in another world and why should I care. I've just blanked out emotionally towards that. Usually, when something like this happens, I feel something, sorrow, anger, something. But this time it's really strange. It's like as if the shock, the scale, the whole intensity and immenseness of it is way above my threshold of feeling. It's not that I feel indifferent, it's just that I feel with something like that in front of me, there's really no point in feeling anything. Suddenly, I feel as if I've glimpsed the vastness and power of nature and of the universe and in front of that it's not that I'm helpless - it's just that I'm insignificant. Totally absolutely irrelevant. In the real scale of this world, in the actual scale of things that really matter, I'm not even a statistic.

In the vastness of space and time, humanity is not even a factor of any equation. Did you ever think of that? All the theories and principles of physics make no mention of humanity as a factor. It's as if all those equations always existed and we're just getting glimpses of them and calling them discoveries. We're applauding ourselves and patting each other on the back of having a better understanding of our world, of our universe, but the truth is that it doesn't matter a damn. If tomorrow the whole human race were to be wiped away, nothing would change. Does beauty, esthetics, poetry, song and art hold any room? Does the sun care how beautiful it looks through fogged up mountains? Does the moon care how it looks in the middle of a desert in a pitch black sky? Does Saturn care if we think it's rings are the most miraculous thing in the solar system and that she's always trying to flaunt what she has? Does Jupiter bother about how big a bully we think it is and if we call it's red spot 'angry'?

Does poetry matter? Does art? What about our relationships? And what about our lives?

What about love?

Things we base our whole lives, worlds, universes around. Are they real? Are they material? Things we live for? Things we fight over? Things we feel vain and proud about? All this technology. All this politics. All this creativity. For what? For what?

Nothing at all. Zip, blank, null. Nothing matters. Nothing at all.

People live, die, because that's all that they can do. There's really nothing more is there? It's like a bacteria culture in a petri-dish. That's what the whole thing amounts to. Even worse, maybe. Maybe it's not even an experiment. Maybe there's really no ultimate goal or path. Maybe, at the end of it all it's not important that we know the truth. Maybe it's even worse than that, maybe at the end of it all, the truth itself is irrelevant.

We take pride in our infallibilty. We take pride in being able to predict whether it'll rain tomorrow. Somehow, we think because we understand the Theory of Gravitation, we KNOW where the earth will be ten years from now. And somehow, we think all that knowledge makes us powerful. We don't believe in God anymore, we belive in ourselves. We've become our own Gods. And suddenly, out of the blue, we get this thing hammerred into us - 'No matter how much you know, how much you calculate, how much you believe or how much you care, love and share - you don't matter'

What do you belive in now? Do you belive in God more? Or less? Do you believe in the human intellect more? Or less? Do you believe that the next time we'll be in a better position to prevent a calamity like this? Do you think if the whole world were to focus on keeping itself alive it would help? Do you?

Happy New Year to everyone. Let's all pretend.

Let's all pretend that we're alive. Let's all pretend that every lungful of air we breathe is a miracle. Let's all pretend that the smiles, the laughs and the tears really matter. Let's all pretend that the borders exist. Let's all pretend that the New Year has just begun. Let's all pretend that tomorrow the sun will come up again.

That's all life is about, isn't it? A whole lot of pretensions. Pretensions of excitement, of adventure, of ups and downs, of ecstasy and dispair.

And in the end of it all? What happens when all the pretensions are over? What happens when you close your eyes for the last time and say goodbye to the world you created?


I'm at a loss of words. I've run out. I want to shed a tear. I want to grieve. I want to feel sorry for all those people. For all those families and children. For all those lives never lived. For all those lives never experienced. For all those lives never pretended. For all those lives which didn't realise what beauty meant. What love is. What music feels like. What art looks like.

What life is.

Yes, it's nothing. But still, it's our creation. It's what we nurture and imagine and form, over time, over years, using our minds as tools. It's what we add colour to, it's what we put tunes into, it's what we put magic in words to move whole peoples by. It's a hug, it's a smile, it's a laughter. It's warm rain on the face, it's cold snowflakes on the tongue. It's the mist in the trees, it's the swaying of the palms, it's the sea roaring in a shell. It's the moon peaking after an eclipse, it's the sun glinting through the rainbow. It's the breeze in the hair, it's the warmth of a hand held. It's a joke shared and a shoulder leaned upon.

Yes, it's all in our heads. But that's all we have.

Here's wishing another year to everyone. Let's share what we have while we have it.

Tsunami Help Blog -
Very good list of aid agencies (Zoo Station)
Om Malik's Tsunami Help Campaign

BoingBoing on Tsunami links