Monday, October 29, 2007

What's your point?

There's an article about terrorism (nope, don't bother with the link) in today's DC by Kuldip Nayar. Nothing wrong with this, except that a) the article adds nothing to the discourse b) it doesn't add any new bits of information c) it does not provide any insightful commentary. Then what *does* it do? Here are some samples:
Every Indian must ask himself why terrorism is rearing its head in the country.
OK Chief, why is terrorism rearing its head in the country?
The terrorists who attacked the dargah are hardly concerned with Jayaprakash’s message of non violence.
No sh*t, Sherlock.
It has a bit to do with poverty or lack of education, but more with fundamentalism.
You think?
What happened in Ajmer or Ludhiana may have been a violent protest against pending cases of injustice.
New Delhi’s problem is that it has no well-thought-out, long-term strategy to tackle terrorism. There are ad hoc efforts, with little coordination between the Centre and the states. The United States, a larger country than ours, has not experienced any act of terrorism after 9/11. The reason is that the intelligence agencies there work hard, not like those in India which do not follow up even prior warnings. India is a soft state which requires to change its attitude, but it does not need another special police force or a harsher law.
In other news, the Sun rose in the east today.

Not a bad idea when you think about it

Here's a way to make the "more educated and initiated class in India" participate in the electoral process in greater numbers: make voting via SMS possible.

The idea is from Arindam Chaudhuri's "column" from one of the full page ads for IIPM that assault our senses periodically (the saving grace is that they seem to have changed the "Dare to think beyond the IIMs" to simply "Dare to think beyond").

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Gutsy Gibbon

Ubuntu has taken all the fun out of installing a new version of a distro. Whatever happened to the thrill of discovering via Slashdot or Reddit that a new version is out, patiently downloading the ISO, looking at the current installations and deciding which distro/partition to jettison for the new version, going through the actual installation, finding that the new version has nuked your wireless networking (just kidding)...

Gutsy Gibbon is out, and the only indication I had of its availability was a message in Update Manager to the effect that a new version (7.10) was available for upgrade. Well, the blame is actually mine, as I've not been to Slashdot and Reddit for something like two months.

Anyway, 946 MB worth of downloads later, my desktop is more or less the same (heck, it's practically the same) as it was before the upgrade. I know that there are new features -- the login screen that appears on waking the laptop after hibernation displays an additional button called 'Leave Message', for one thing -- but they aren't readily apparent.

I ended up changing my windows theme to Slate Horn Blue just to remind myself that I have upgraded to 7.10.

OMG I got an email from Kareena Kapoor

Here's an email I received yesterday (some content edited to prevent the accrual of thoroughly undeserved publicity to the folks involved):
Hi Rajesh,

Right from the time I was a little girl, I looked forward to the festive season.

Friends, family, parties, the festive aura and looking your best – that’s what makes it so special. Things are no different today. And to make sure I am fashionably festive this season, I have the young and talented designers at <deleted>.

I have personally experienced the latest fashion collection which revels in a riot of colors from the bold to the earthy and a variety of silhouettes and cuts. See how I look and download some vibrant wallpapers and screensavers by clicking on the links below.

Dip into this ocean of innovative and colourful fabrics and prints, which will be difficult to find anywhere else. Most of these are already my favourite possessions: Shirt-dresses, Printed dresses, Kalamkari Ghagra Skirts and Cool Embroidered Tunics. I am enjoying every bit of it and hope you have your share of fun too. I am sure you don’t want any misses in your wardrobe.

You can share the hottest fashion trends and your personal experience at <deleted>,at kareenakapoor@<deleted>

Let <deleted> and me help you get fashionably festive this season.

Wishing you and your Family a Very Joyous Season!

Kareena Kapoor
The sad part is that there are enough clueless people who will actually think that they got a personal email from Kareena Kapoor.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Congress' Death Wish

The Congress Party's insistence on pushing the nuclear deal through even at the cost of losing power at the center has always been puzzling; the single word that kept coming to mind was 'blackmail'. Now Bharat Karnad (don't bother going to the link; Deccan Chronicle's enlightened web designers have successfully ensured that the link will become stale tomorrow) weighs in with a somewhat similar opinion:
It only deepens the mystery about why it is that the ruling Congress party is trying so desperately to shove this deal down the nation’s throat, even at the cost of being thrown out of power. It must be some very powerful set of personal and collective motivations indeed, which the US official documents declassified 30 years hence or sooner (courtesy the Freedom of Information Act) will no doubt reveal.