Thursday, March 31, 2005

ideas for a (techno)logical state

in the age where much has been bandied about india's superiorITy, so much that americans are against state governments in the US are using indian IT firms to computerise their departments, isnt it rather sad that the Indian govt itself is still run on paper ? here then is my e-governance solution for a nation that as a whole will soon be suffering silicosis brought on by the number of microprocessors around.

most technology experts recommend easier user-inteface designs , while knowing they'll have to find new jobs if someone comes up with one that is perfect. But thats not going to happen now is it? my iBhavan ("i" is the new "e" folks, get used to it) will not be the most user-friendly but what it will do is to make the government and its workings appear easier to the public . Another expert claim regarding the rapid e-conversion is that the new technology should not infringe on the regular working of any organization. To that effect paper-pushing will now take the new moniker of file-pushing. If an official wants to send a file or folder to another using iBhavan, he will send it via e-mail to the peon. The peon who will be busy watching streaming video of the cricket match will then take a look at the file, notice the lack of gossip in it, save it on the desktop and proceed to chat with peons from other departments. Any attempt by novice peons to instantly forward the message to the receiving official will cause the inherent delay mechanism to kick-in which will display a series of dialog boxes through which the peon must click till its time for the file to be delivered. lunch and tea will obviously be ordered online but anyone wanting to do so must still (mis)use the peon for doing so.

anyone who wants to file a petition, pay a bill etc will still need to take the overcrowded bus, hang on to dear life and walk the miles of office corridors to get to the correct government office. The reason for this is that iBhavan is designed to be a highly secure system, hence the terminals you can access iBhavan from will be located right next to or inside the office you want work done at. Obviously there are only 5 terminals and a hundred others waiting in line. Once you get to machine, wipe the beedi stains of the keyboard and close the browser windows flashing "Brittany naked photos" , you'll be presented with the chat window and a list of the officials you can chat with. You'd think we would've made it easier for you by enabling u to directly chat with the "babu". Think again. Regardless of the messenger handle you click on, all clicks will lead to the peon , who not surprisingly is not listed on that screen. You quickly glean that the officer will chat with you only if the right buttons are pushed on the peon's interface. With a sigh , you proceed to supply the peon with a couple of passwords to a porn site and a folder full of the latest hindi mp3s that you'd brought along in a jump drive. With a "What no item number videos? " retort and a couple of expletives, the peon adds you to his conference with the officer and scoots to serve the next chat window. so far so good. the officer asks you for your files, you upload them at once to him. After a wait, the officer comes back online :
Officer :"Your files are not of the right format"
You : "But i followed every rule on the iBhavan website, every comma is right where it should be and i even bought an anti-virus software to make sure it was clean"
Officer : "All that is fine but you havent used MS Word as we recommended.."
You : "I used Staroffice and I am very sure its compatible with Word"
Officer : " LOL , we dont care if its compatible, dont you know we have a contract with Microsoft..go back and bring the file in the proper format"
With a poof , the window is gone and the next guy in line taps on your shoulder indicating you should take your cd-rom and leave.

So you see, iBhavan is the ultimate in e-governance . You wont miss a single thing from the old government office except the cheap quality paper forms. Its ideal for the next generation most of whom will either work in a tech company or in a call center. Don't worry about the tons of e-waste that will be caused by iBhavan, instead spare a thought to the millions of trees you will be saving because of my innovative system.

iBhavan is a un-copyrighted name owned by the author. Any attempt to duplicate this idea or use it as a template to improve anything about the government will result in loud guffawing and incessant laughter from the author

Sunday, March 27, 2005

apples and oranges

the last movie review post (black on feb 20)from me was also the last movie i saw. i broke the fast with a rather unsavory hindi flick that almost forced me to decide to go movieless for another month before shrek 2 with its tantalising graphics and pun-a-minute style saved me.

'fun' starts off with a song , one with lyrics firmly set in the badhan-ic pentameter,which dictates at least 2 pairs of rhyming lines ending in 'badhan'. the daring baring female dancer/heroine(?) in the song pretty much sets the tone for the movie. shrek 2 starts with a retelling of the fairy tale story where prince charming goes to rescue his princess from the dragon .instead he finds a wolf in women's clothing something the makers call a 'wolf with gender issues'. while the first continues in the same tone trying not to waste the ample hired skin, the second takes rhetoric and pun and makes them funnier. 'fun' deals with 3 women who decide to swap hubbies during a new year holiday in order to have do u say while shrek 2, which also deals with unstable marriage, is the normal, regular story of an ogre going to visit his human in-laws where the kind father-in-law hires a spanish speaking cat assassin to kill him.

the comparison sadly has to stop here, i can no longer shame shrek by doing this. shrek 2 is a pop-culture trivialist's dream come true. the detail in each scene is so intricate that if u paused to study it you'll rack up quite a fortune in late fees and thats only the visual component. someone has to invent a kind of slow motion for voice, using which you'll be given some time to repeat in your mind, understand the whole line and laugh out loud before the next joke hits you. i had to keep my loud guffaws in check lest i miss the next was like fast and furious except that vin diesel is a donkey and he rides a joke machine. that was a bad joke, i can assure u shrek doesnt have any.

shrek 2 rocks, fun sucks...if someone tries to lend you 'fun' , sever all ties, remove them from your messengers and block their mails. if a stranger offers you shrek 2, take them home, introduce them to your parents and place them in your pooja room or if u dont have one, for whatever politically correct reason,send them to the video shop for more such flicks.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

a question of answers

i recently hit upon my topic of choice if i ever went on Mastermind. You surely remember the quiz show hosted by the man with the most questions in India, Siddarth Basu, on BBC. the show always ended with a series of questions on one topic chosen by the contestant. mine will definitely be Tom & Jerry . well to be more specific it would be on the storylines of the cartoons rather than silly details abt Fred Quimby's life. i discovered i could remember in amazing technicolor detail small things such as how jerry checks his reflection in a lady's nail in Mouse in Manhattan or how a bowling ball knocks his cousin out.. ok ok i'll spare u the details..suffice to say i can knock the socks off basu's feet when it comes to this topic. i only need someone to cover the rest of the questions for me...any takers??

Friday, March 25, 2005

one thousand vetti people

numbers don't lie.well this one does. the one on the right panel,below the blogger icon. it says 1001 but it doesnt know that i secretly visit my blog from different machines in my computer lab.but here's how the acceptance speech went :
the announcer goes "And the award for 'the most recent blog to cross 1000 page hits while simultaneously illustrating a blog's boring power' goes to Textosterone"

((a small group of friends who went to undergrad with me start clapping and whistling, ride of the valkyries starts playing in the background))

dressed in a orange tuxedo a la jim from dumb & stupider , ME , climbing up the steps to the stage to accept what looks like a keyboard covered in old m&m shards and crumbs of potato chips. a gooey mass of what was once "the worlds finest tasting coffee" adorns one corner and a few roaches tumble out as it is passed from hand to hand.

((the clapping and whistling continue unabated, and subside as i yell out "Dei adangunga da"))

"I would like to thank a few people today - my mom and dad who listened patiently to my absurd arguments about how a computer could help me in studies more, more than any gold that could be bought for the Rs.50,000 I wanted them to shell out. my sister for actually using the computer for what i said it would be used for. manisha koirala and then sonali bendre, for gracing my desktop and in the process inspiring me to urge my parents to get a 14.4kbps US Robotics modem. It was sooper fun trying to connect to a dotty VSNL connection through hyperterminal and viewing "pictures" on a site through Lynx that only showed them as a [Link] hence causing me to download the "buy" and "home" icon pictures. To bill and microsoft, who taught me that practice makes perfect after i tried installing windows 95 from 31 floppy disks, failed miserably, tried again,failed again and ended up increasing my parent's investment in technology. to apple, my first laptop that is also the first person to incur my fury when i get out of a blogger's block. and of course to all you readers, I couldnt have done it without you. as an appreciation for your persistence in reading what my twisted head puts out every week or so, I will give each one of you..."
((ride of the valkyries starts up...slowly building up))
"..the most amazing.."
((ride of the valkyries increases in volume, the microphone is cut off and you all see me gesticulating wildly and flipping the bird at the orchestra, as 2 security people escort me off the stage))

and the announcer with a sheepish grin "children: i hope you didnt see the last bit, google : the next time u give someone a blogger account please check their background, and now on to the award for the "blogs of people who forward spam and are characteristically marked by the abundance of outgoing links and a lack of written words" , we have quite a few nominees people, i hope you've packed food for the next few days."

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

cheap blogger trick

u know what the subject means i am completely empty and dry neck-up.
so here is another experiment. following this post i am going to let some of my friends post on textosterone.
a blogjacking if you will

this is a small effort to get those who are less enthused about setting up and maintaining a blog to put some of their thoughts in the open

so go forth fellas...paint the blog in whatever shade u want to. there shall be no censorship whatsoever.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

many thoughts, little logic

Anyone who has known me for more than 6 months knows how crazy my imagination can be at times. Combined with a habit of thinking out aloud this has often caused people to throw brickbats and the occasional sofa in my general direction hoping to score a hit and silence me. No use. I've just evolved into a machine capable of dodging such attacks and maintaining my train of thought ( a really long train btw) at the same time.

On a recent visit to my roommate's lab I happened to see a machine that can create printed circuit boards(PCBs) - you know those square pieces of green cardboard-like stuff with a million resistors and capacitors that you can see if you open your vcr/comp just cause you are curious (non-geeks , never fear - click here) .instantly a train departed from my demented brain station. what if , i started telling him, we have a wall full of such panels or better yet one huge PCB wall and it would have a huge button with the ON symbol located comfortably at eye level. Functional design, my friend , i explained to him,knowing only that it was a term designed specifically to function as an impressive phrase. It would be art and (computer) architecture at the same time. As the train merrily chugged along I continued voicing the thoughts it was pulling to my roomie. All the geeks would die to have such a wall. We can add fiber optics to the paths which will actually illustrate how the power goes from the button to the different appliances it would turn on, including, of course, the geek. A smaller train running alongside was now ruminating if shirts could be made from the same stuff and immediately stopped in its tracks as it collided head along with a more sensible train carrying the concept of a short circuited shirt (giving birth to the neologism 'shirt circuit'). Anyway, my roomie, after a futile attempt to work on the PCB amidst my non-stop chatter, got up to leave the room and stopping by the doorway called out to me
"Abbey Arun" he said.
I woke up from my fantasy world and saw him give me a wry smile with his hand on the light switch.

yeah bubble has a small what? the concept of having a lighted wall still has to be new, right ??
whatever.i have a million other ideas that are equally unique or already have a simpler solution. just you wait.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

neoblogism of the day - 2

i did not lose my keyboard. the lack of posts is due to an untreated case of blogger's block. a shot of thought and a couple of ideas should have me back on my soon

madwas n. what chennai used to be

usage : i once used to live in madwas

madras satellite picture

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Bilinguists are smart

an old post for all those wondering why the link from my profile doesn't work

i can speak 3 languages.damn i shud've stopped at 2.but being fluent in many languages has more advantages than the fluidity with which i can spit curses (why does one learn the curse words in a new language first - cud to chew in another blog).anyway this 'talent' of mine was piqued when in successive days i saw 2 movies twice,once each in hindi and tamil.the first was yuva/ayutha ezhuthu and the other was an oldy - gol maal/thillu mullu.
while the first was made in both tongues by the same guy (hence making a comparison moot), the second had a different treatment in each language. without an indepth comparison , i can safely say that the tamil version rocked. every joke in the hindi version was amplified to a higher comical level in the tamil one. i have watched the tamil version several times and the quirks and sounds that are unique to this language heighten the laughter quotient to such a level that i feel sorry for my room mates neither of whom knows tamil.

Friday, March 04, 2005

what happened to the twins?

i love the twins. these and the ones that used to be a bankable formula in many a indian film maker's lab. name one twin movie that has failed to succeed.. i can't. well there might've been flops but in my eyes any twin movie is worth the watch just for the scene where the two, lacking sufficient exposure to genomics, try to fathom why their mirror image is wearing different clothes than they are. yet they have been shamelessly ignored and ditched in favor of sensible storylines and realistic cinema. here then is a post aimed at making them the comeback genre of this year.

ancient scriptures and screenplay manuals governing the twin movie scripts, decreed among other things that the separation event must take place on a rainy night , it was upto the director if there needed to be a car breakdown or a corrupt nurse to actually catalyse the event.the two twins must have contrasting personalities - if one was afraid of mice, the other would eat them for breakfast. if one was a 'peter' , the other one would be a 'paruppu'. this was a pre-requisite for the mandatory switch that occured down the line. further , the twins had to have at least a dozen 'meetings' where they miss each other by a few centimeters causing everyone, except the clever viewers (us), to conclude that this guy/girl was a mutant of the Chamaeleonidae family. even a really talented director could , when asked to by the script, do variations of the same scene without compunction and once the twins switched places it was total mayhem till the movie ended with the customary scene of the twins fooling their love-interests into thinking they were the other.

there are also slightly different story lines belonging to the same genre in which the look-alikes are not twins and this is scientifically explained by the well known movie fact that for every person there are six identical 'clones' in the world. after ensuring that i was not one of a twin or a triplet ( how do i know this? i googled for it , silly) i was convinced that this had to be true. so far i've found 2 of, i met while waiting for a flight. i promptly got a zippo lighter at the airport and stuffed it into his hand luggage. so he is languishing in a INS jail somewhere in the labyrinthine JFK. the other i found is a grad student doing his phD and going by his blog isnt going to finish anytime soon. as such he does not have a life, so i let him be. to the other 4 - dont ever underestimate me and go through your luggage before going through the security check. to all the directors of hindi/tamil/telugu movies - stop making 'different' movies and just give us a modern spin on the twin genre.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

a jinx of remote proportions

two people saying the same thing at the same time is a common enough occurence for someone to have given it a name. its called a jinx. a jinx has to go beyond what relationship experts deem as wavelength matching. compared to the abominable snowman or bigfoot, the jinx may not be as huge a mystery but its a slightly scary occurence nevertheless.

what happened this morning was exactly what the title says. the jinx transcended physical bodies and perfectly synchronised neurons in 2 separate brains and jumped straight into cyberspace. hyper ( the same one who has quipped in a comment or two) and i were trying to figure out a way to beat the system on a website that enforced a minimum purchase amount of $20 , while the product we wanted was $19.99. like true netizens going for the cheapest deal, we proceeded to look for the least expensive item that would just tip our shopping cart over the requisite $20. after a few minutes i found one for $0.59 , mailed hyper about , only to find another mail in which he was telling me about the exact same item out of hundreds on the website. if it had been THE cheapest item or one that was readily visible on a main page, i wouldn't have bothered to blog about it. the thing was that it was several links deep into the website and both of us had picked the same thing sitting several miles apart.

after several years of struggle with high school physics, it had became obvious that my only knowledge of force of any kind would come from a certain jedi knight called obi-wan kenobi. despite that, i dont believe in coincidence or its equally mysterious second cousin luck and tend to lean more towards a scientific explanation for all phenomena. . but this time i had to accept it - there's something spooky going on in the world alright.

what do u call a jinx that happens remotely anyway?