My Life, The Universe and Everything

Truths I learn. Barriers I seek to break. Let me scream.

The Tatas Always Make Me Happy

Posted by themischord on October 22, 2008

Why Nano?

The entire portal has been built on open source technologies, involving minimum investment, following the essence of the Nano – low cost, but high technology.

Posted in Misc | 2 Comments »

An Unhappy Ego-Surfer

Posted by themischord on January 30, 2008

For a long time now, a Google search for my name has been pretty disappointing and embarrassing. Yahoo! and MSN Live give more respectable results. I guess the question is, what is representative of me? I find my name on the web in the following contexts

Blog/Homepage

Association with organizations/ academic institutions

Publications

Mailing Lists

Misc references

A regular search result is a unorganized list of pages from all the above categories. I see that the mailing lists take precedence, which is not surprising. On the whole, I find it all messy.

The larger issue here is the ineffectiveness of search engines when it comes to informational queries (compared to navigational queries). An evaluation conducted by Prof. Bing Liu shows that Google fairs just a wee-little better than Yahoo! and MSN Live. In this context, I found kosmix‘s approach very promising. They call it a vertical search. They organize the results into categories, like a homepage. Ah well, some day they should be ‘tags’ and not ‘categories’ maybe. That would be a great feature next feature for Google.

Posted in Musings, Tech | 2 Comments »

Viral Computing

Posted by themischord on December 23, 2007

When I first heard of viral advertising, I felt pretty repulsive about it. But really, it is a grand concept.

Combine ideas such as those of Prof. Luis von Ahn’s  on using CAPTCHAs and games to solve computing problems with social networks and one can achieve viral computing!

Posted in Musings, Tech | Leave a Comment »

Security Through Obscurity

Posted by themischord on December 19, 2007

Though a superhero, Bruce Schneier disdanes the use of a mask or secret identity as ‘security through obscurity’.

Found that on the web somewhere. It’s so funny. To give a little context, Bruce Schneier is crypto and computer security guy. Security through obscurity is the school of thought that systems which are closed/black boxes are secure because people don’t know enough about it to hack. This is generally considered a very weak argument by the security community.

Posted in Citizen Quotes | Leave a Comment »

Sicko!

Posted by themischord on November 20, 2007

Excellent presentation. This is what makes me like Michael Moore. His presentation is precise and complete. The issue is investigated in multiple dimensions. In this context, I recall Chomsky’s word of advice on how one should not take information coming from any source (even credible ones) to be a fact without applying one’s discretion and own investigation. This obviously holds for such documentaries too.

The documentary explores the failings of the health care system in the US and the increasing shift of interest from the citizens to the insurance companies. He contrasts this with the socialized health care systems in Canada, UK and France — showing they are not a failure. And as always, he ends it with a brilliant plot (won’t spoil that for you).

Posted in Movies | 3 Comments »

Seven Phases of Man’s Madness

Posted by themischord on November 6, 2007

Here is a parody of Shakespeare’s seven ages of man. Read it in good humour!

All the world’s a daze
And all the men and women merely pray-ers;
They have their triumphs and their tribulations
And one man in his time passes many phases
His madness maturing in seven stages. At first the irritant,
Quick and cutting, caring of no harm;
Then the irritated, with his temper
And frowning face, fumes around like a furnace
Unpleasantly in space. And then the presumptuous,
Aloof and assuming, with a tall list
Made of his discontents. Then the quick-tempered
Full of strange contentions, and a sword at hand
Extra hard on honour, strong and quick in self-defense,
Seeking the bubble reprisal
Even on a peaceful ground. And then an overt good-humoured,
Taking at ease, all things around
With new attitude to build the fair himself
Full of readiness to push and fall;
And so he passes this phase. The sixth phase shifts
Into the passive and dispassionate priest,
With an unassuming facade and welcoming stance
His hard-learnt rationale, well sav’d, a world too conflicting
For his sunked temperament, and with his accepted axioms,
Turning again into inconclusives, smiles
And smirks at his indiscretion. Not last of all (hopefully),
That follows this estranging phase,
Is the urge to turn mad in the literal sense;
Sans reason, sans rationale, sans r’epertoir, sans everything.

Posted in Musings | 3 Comments »

The American Dream Reiterated

Posted by themischord on November 1, 2007

From Wikipedia –
In general, the American dream can be defined as being the opportunity and freedom for all citizens to achieve their goals and become rich and famous if only they work hard enough.

I was at a talk on intellectual property. In the context of a company owning the ideas of its employees, this is a part of the dialog that transpired between a student and a professor of law.

Student: So, if I have a great idea why should I work for a big company and give it away to them?

Prof: Because u need their resources and infrastructure for your research. Of course, if you are from the dot com era, u might just need a laptop. Go buy one and work at home by yourself.
Student: But that is ridiculous. It means that I will have to work 9 to 5 in my office for a living, come home and work on my great idea at night. When it’s mature, quit the company, wait for a while and come out with it. What about my family and kids? When will I spend time with them?

Prof: [Smirks] Yeah, we used to call this ‘the american dream’.

Not to talk of how heart-broken the student looked!

So, the american dream is more inclined to foster corporates? Generally speaking, isn’t that the socio-economic structure of a majority of the societies? Can it be any other way? Can an artist/creator own his creation?

I have hope that publishing houses and recoding companies be history some day. But what about the more fundamental economic protocols?

Posted in Misc, Musings | 2 Comments »

Name is the New Game?

Posted by themischord on October 31, 2007

Just today morning I was thinking, I’m not really a purist, and that I settle for things like Nike shoes, if now ipods to keep going. But here I read about Google’s OpenSocial and I’m screaming. It sounds all good and great and more ‘open’ then existing infrastructure but my contention is with the name. Why use the word ‘open’ when it is not? ‘Open’ is not the same as ‘free’ or ‘collaborate’. When these terms are used in such a loose sense, I feel enraged. That’s marketing, not altruism. The justification given is that Google plans to open source it someday. But for now, be happy with their API.

I’ll call myself God from today, coz I think that someday I’ll be omnipotent!

Posted in Swecha, Tech | 7 Comments »

The Art of Persuasion

Posted by themischord on October 10, 2007

“A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.”

This is an unsourced quote, commonly attributed to Stalin. When raising funds during the world war, Stalin is said to have advised that the one should talk of the individual stories of Russian soldiers. Quoting numbers will not have the same pyschological impact.  Extremely insightful! Call it the art of persuasion a leader should have.

Posted in Musings, On War | Leave a Comment »

God at the Butt End

Posted by themischord on September 27, 2007

My gtalk messages have never been more popular! Thanks to the wisdom of Lavi.

“It is easier to be God – u only have to help those who help themselves.”

An improved, rather next version of this reasoning –

“It is easiest to be God – u only have to wait for people to help themselves and take credit for it.”

Posted in Citizen Quotes | Leave a Comment »