General ramblings

Media’s Role in Mumbai’s Terrorist Attacks

I’m getting a little sick in the stomach, seeing Mumbai terror attacks coverage on CNN. Most of the times, their news is “stale”, in comparison to the news posted on Twitter.(Just search for #Mumbai). Citizen journalism is turning out to be more comprehensive, well-timed and exhaustive compared to traditional media. Lots of articles on the net that are talking about the power of twitter and bloggers. Lots of bloggers like Arun Shanbag, Vinu etc. have come into limelight because of their responsible journalism- they care for you and me. News channels cover these events only for their own good, to increase their TRP ratings etc.

I have only been a moderate user of Twitter- a couple of tweets here and there. Nothing more. This incident, however, has changed the way I feel about Twitter. It has the potential of becoming a stronger force to reckon with. A force fueled by ordinary people like you and me.

I came across a nicely put Google spreadsheet that has the list of people who are either injured/dead. My eyes welled up with tears. Two of my friend’s friends at Leopold Cafe and another friend of my friend’s younger brother, who was interning as a chef at Taj Mahal Hotel, were shot dead. I was speechless.

Of course, there are haters who talk about the side effects of Twitter and how lots of Tweets were only rumors. I have only one response to these haters- don’t news channels run their business based on rumors too? What’s new?

People have issued statements saying that “people need to tweet responsibly and stop airing all important news on Twitter; this can be used as a weapon etc”. I understand how this can be dangerous, but complainers need to find a way to deal with it! Restricting the use of social networking sites is tantamount to taking away our freedom of speech.

How many citizens sitting in the comforts of their homes and tweeting away to glory have actually done something (donated blood, tried to find information for people who are yet to hear from their loved ones etc.) is questionable. And I’m sure there are others who think this is a great party and a trendy topic to talk about. Leaving such people aside, I do hope that some good comes out of it.

Related Reading: In Mumbai, Bloggers and Twitter Offer Help to Relatives

Shefaly’s take

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General ramblings

Slave of Brands

Shefaly had tagged me for this meme a LONG time back! Because of my self imposed hiatus, this response took longer than the expected wait time. Better late than never…

These are the brands that I use on a regular basis. I couldn’t categorize them on an hourly basis, because I keep using some products throughout the day:

1. Colgate – Toothpaste
2. L’Oreal – Shampoo
3. Johnson & Johnson – Body lotion
4. Maybelline – Eyeliner
5. MAC – Mascara
6. Ecotints – Organic lip tint
7. Davidoff – Perfume
8. Nike – Deodorant
9. Compaq – Laptop
10. Google – Needs no explanation
11. Toad – Running SQL Queries
12. Oracle – Database management tool
13. Microsoft – The necessary evil
14. Yahoo – Email, yeah…
15. Tupperware – Storage
16. Rubbermaid – Storage, again
17. T-Mobile – Cell phone service
18. Firefox – I’m powered by Firefox
19. WordPress – I’m using it now
20. Yoplait – Fat free, strawberry flavored Yoghurt
21. Epson – My 3 -in-1 Printer/Scanner/Photocopier
22. Bath & Body Works – Liquid Hand Soap
23. White- Westinghouse – Microwave
24. Sag Harbour – Leather Purse
25. Sony Ericsson – Cell phone
26. Kenneth Cole – Wrist watch
27. Ziploc – Storage!
28. Pringles – Some potato chips
29. Pentel – Cheap ballpoint pen
30. Office Depot – Other office supplies
31. Dell – Workplace computer

32. Nissan – My wheels

I could probably increase this list and include many other things. But these are the brands that cropped up in my mind first. I guess my interest is quite varied. I really don’t know whom to tag. Looks like everyone has already done this. If you haven’t, then feel free to steal it from here.

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General ramblings

Bye Bye WordPress!

Had enough of this bourgeois service, where I need to pay for a custom domain, CSS upgrade (and that gives me the liberty to only “style” the look), and can’t use Java scripts.  WordPress hasn’t come out with a decent theme/addition in months!

So, I’m going to stop blogging here. I’m in the process of moving everything to Blogger (Yes, everything’s FREE!).

Bye Bye WordPress.com!

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General ramblings

Unaccustomed Earth

My mom told me that Unaccustomed Earth, by Jhumpa Lahiri will be released tomorrow, April 1, 2008. I can’t wait to read it! I didn’t really like The Namesake much. It almost read like a Bollywood movie script (no wonder the movie did so well and found so many takers). The movie was good though. The Interpreter of Maladies was an amazing book and the fact that this unreleased book is also a collection of short stories, makes me excited. The theme is pretty much the same- Bengali family, living abroad and dealing with the typical first generation immigrant family emotions. The treatment is supposedly new. I’ve read a number of glowing reviews on the internet. In fact, the book’s been sold out on Amazon. I’ll probably go to Borders or Barnes and Noble and get a copy tomorrow.

Now…only if Arundhati Roy would write another book. 🙂 I haven’t yet gotten over The God of Small Things, even though I read it more than a decade back, during the time it was released.

By the way, what is it with Google Books? The entire book seems to be accessible? Do no Evil?

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General ramblings

A Man Kills His Wife on Grounds of Adultery and Cheating

I read stuff like this all the time, but I don’t know why this one’s stuck to my mind since the past 36 hours or so. Some newspapers have built articles based on Orkut scraps left behind by people, known and unknown. Since when has Orkut become an authentic source of information? I remember reading similar articles when Minal Panchal was shot in the Virginia Tech massacre.

Perhaps this is good reason to activate those privacy settings in your Orkut scrapbook- even if you happen to die, people won’t hound your scrapbook. Google, of course, won’t delete your account, unless it has been notified to do so. I don’t know the exact procedure, but I’m guessing that it is very elaborate.

During times like these, I feel happy that I don’t use Orkut and that I’m not much of a Facebook user either.

Coming back to the killing case, does anything ever justify taking someone else’s life? For most of us, the answer would be no. It is only when the answer is a Yes that we get to read about it in the media. If you think that everyone is condemning this act, then think again. You will be surprised to know that there are tons of people out there (mostly men) who support Amit Budhiraja’s killing act. I was reading the scraps left in their Orkut profiles and going by that, people have given various justifiable reasons-

“..If the story is true about the affair, I don’t condemn your decision.. I feel sorry for the pain you must have gone through, insecure or not, there’s no man in this world who is going to have the woman he truly loves even in the thoughts of another person…” – If every man would kill a woman because of adultery and justice is meted out in this manner, then why bother having a judiciary?

“…You saved more than 3 people by killing just 2, you saved your parents, yourself and your relatives from the dowry harrassment!! You set the right example for others.”- Which brings me to the question of Dowry Harassment. The Dowry Laws in India have been deemed inadequate by lots of people, who feel that a woman can always file a false dowry harassment case against her husband and put the husband and her in-laws behind bars. Is it so simple? Of course not. So why exactly are we over-simplifying this issue?

I’m not denying the fact that there are women out there who misuse the law and undermine the genuineness of some other dowry cases. But an eye for an eye will make the entire world blind.

There are others out there who don’t know the couple personally, yet are hasty in drawing conclusions based on shaky premises. For example- Some are accusing Rinku of adultery and of cheating. Do we know her side of story? All that’s come to light is a 6 page suicide note written by Amit. And there are some more who have taken their hatred one step further and have abused Rinku’s office colleague, Arvind Kejariwal, of having an illicit affair with a married woman and for being responsible for the deaths. Why blame him? Why blame anyone?

I came across this quote sometime back, that tries to explain the psychology behind cheating-

“I’ve thought a lot about the psychology of cheating and reckon it flows largely from one thing – you don’t value yourself as a person: if you did, you’d end a relationship that was not fulfilling because, knowing how valuable you are, you’d be sure to find someone else.”

Why not just keep quiet, take a note of the matter at hand and move on? You don’t need to physically end someone’s life. This can also be achieved through mental torture…something like what V.S Naipaul confesses to have done. Isn’t he a murderer then? Why not put him behind bars?

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General ramblings

Microsoft Fined $1.4 Billion in the Anti Trust EU Case

Finally, EU hits Microsoft with a hefty 899 million euros fine, because the latter, has been defying the court’s ruling since 2004. This case has generated a lot of media attention in the past few months and why not? Whenever there is anything to do with Microsoft, people in the media (including me) get excited.

So, why was Microsoft fined? Because-

The commission hit Microsoft with the new penalty, the sum of daily fines running from June 21, 2006 to October 21, 2007, because it said Microsoft had failed to charge rivals reasonable prices for access to key information about its work-group or back-office servers in contravention of the 2004 ruling.

Oh, and this too:

In particular, it accused Microsoft of using its stranglehold on PC operating systems to elbow rivals out of the more competitive markets for media players that play music and videos, and operating systems running back-office servers.

The European Union has also launched new cases against Microsoft targeting a broad range of software, including MIcrosoft’s Office suite.

And where did I read this piece of wonderful breakfast news? At Google News of course.

Microsoft’s second quarter Net Income was around $6.48 billion and for a company this large, $1.40 Billion will prove to be a lot of money, if you consider the intangibles and the future revenues that might (and will) fly out of the window.

Related Reading: Microsoft’s Core Competency

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Business, Finance, GMail, Google, internet, laptops, Microsoft, Software, Stocks, Technology, yahoo, YouTube, Zune

The War Between MSFT and GOOG’s Not Yet Over

The other day, I made some points on this entire move made by Microsoft. Most of this was focused on the effect it will have on Yahoo and how the combined entity will be able to pull off such a humongous merger. There is a very interesting post in the Official Google blog that totally highlights their insecurity:

So Microsoft’s hostile bid for Yahoo! raises troubling questions. This is about more than simply a financial transaction, one company taking over another. It’s about preserving the underlying principles of the Internet: openness and innovation.

Could Microsoft now attempt to exert the same sort of inappropriate and illegal influence over the Internet that it did with the PC? While the Internet rewards competitive innovation, Microsoft has frequently sought to establish proprietary monopolies — and then leverage its dominance into new, adjacent markets.

It’s tantamount to one thief calling the other person a thief! What about Google’s interest in the 700 MHz spectrum? What about their “habit” of copying each product that their competitors release? None of their products like Google Documents, Google Talk, Google Mail etc. are totally “original”. They shouldn’t even be talking about Microsoft’s “legacy of serious legal and regulatory offenses”. Their financial statements were being audited sometime back because the regulatory authorities felt that they were incomplete. Correct me if I’m wrong.

It’s not that I’m against Google. In fact, most of my regular readers call me an “Anti Microsoft” person. So this post is quite out of the line for me. You won’t read such good words for Microsoft very often on this blog.

I think Google feels quite threatened and they have good reason to be. Microsoft has a huge share in the PC Market and if they were to merge with Yahoo, then the internet dominance fight will only get more interesting. The consumers will benefit in either case. So it’s good for the consumers I would say.

Further, they say:

Could a combination of the two take advantage of a PC software monopoly to unfairly limit the ability of consumers to freely access competitors’ email, IM, and web-based services?

Google shouldn’t even be commenting on the monopoly issue here because this is exactly what they are trying to do now. How else would you explain their coming out with every possible internet service and all of them being accessible from a single Google account?

And you’ll find it interesting to know that I could hardly find any “Google suggestions” when I started typing “Google trouble” or “Google audit”. Of course, Yahoo! gave me more results for once.

Market Watch (owned by News Corp) has another take on this entire issue. I kind of agree with what they have to say because it’s perfectly logical and quite unbiased. While they mention this positive point:

If Microsoft’s acquisition of Yahoo is consummated…

…the Goliath of the PC desktop will represent the one truly credible competitor to Google in the online world. (News Corp. is the owner of MarketWatch.com, the publisher of this column.)

They also mention the negatives:

Put it all together, and Microsoft/Yahoo vaults to the number one position with site traffic that’s nearly double Google’s. That’s the good news. The combination would still lag Google’s sales by a factor of two to one — $2.6 billion for Microsoft/Yahoo in the last quarter of 2007, despite the traffic advantage, as compared with $4.8 billion for Google.

And I agree that Microsoft +Yahoo is the only way that Google can be stopped. Otherwise, even though Google propounds “Do No Evil”, this is exactly what the company has started to do and will do full scale in the future.

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