Liberal Thoughts

issues that otherwise won't matter to the others

Seven Wonders Re-listing

Vote for the new 7 world wonders

New 7 wonders. Huh! Why? Since school days the seven wonders of the world were of great marvel and curiosity .. for me and I guess for many others alike as well. Remembering the names for the upcoming annual exams were most often jumbled up, quite unlike remembering the seven colours of the rainbow.

As a kid, About the Hanging Gardens, I had made a mental picture of a garden hanging out of nowhere in air. The structures in ancient Rome and Greece had forever been tourist attractors making one wonder how could human hands build such massive sites. The fact is now apart from the Pyramids, none of the old wonders are still standing. Others are just wonders. You don’t get to see them. Out here in our soil, I would always wonder as to why erecting the magnificent structure called the Taj Mahal took such a long time…21 years..gosh! Not to mention that behind most of these wonderful structures had been a tyrannical emperor or ruler or king who enslaved and best utilized human resource. And today we admire those constructions. Surely these constructions deserve the title – “wonders”.

And now, there is this ongoing campaign to re-list the seven wonders of the world afresh. Not a bad idea. Keeping pace with time..it seems. And this has been launched by the New 7 Wonders Society, a swiss group. After a series of selections and nominations, the final list was out with 21 sites. The final results are due to be announced on 7th of July ’07 the world over. In this time, millions and millions of people around the world are casting their votes for the new 7 wonders. Votes can be cast through SMS or through the internet.

Competition is fierce. The sites in the list of 21 are getting massive encouragement and popularity to be voted from their respective regions. For example, the President of Brazil addressed on the radio telling the people how to vote for Rio’s Statue of Christ. In Peru, computer terminals had been opened up in public places by the governments encouragement for the people to vote for the Machu Picchu, an ancient city in Peru. But the only structure from India, the Taj Mahal hasn’t gained much votes yet. I see two reasons to this sorry plight. Either its ignorance of the common public or lack of enthusiasm. Until 3-4 weeks back I also had no idea about this campaign until I got a mail. Thats ignorance. Few of my friends who got the same mail didn’t bother to act on it. Thats lack of enthusiasm.

Vote for TajBe it whichever reason, its about losing shine and pride for one of the remarkable structures that still stands beside the banks of Yamuna. I have not seen any media networks enlightening the people about this worldwide voting campaign. Just last week I happened to read in a newspaper that the Indian media agency responsible for promoting it are working out ways to bring it forward. But the deadline is nearing very soon and we would be needing more than 2 billion votes according to an estimate. As always is seen with the Indian ways, people would start rushing at the nick of time (already used to this nature in the Indian cricket team). I hope the government make out efforts in igniting the minds and not keep mum or just shy away. And hopefully the dormant minds of those who have an idea of this but have not yet voted cast their votes soon enough.

I cast my vote for 7 wonders where of course the Taj is checked in the New 7 Wonders and the Vote for Taj websites. I had also exclusively voted for the same by sending an SMS to 4567.

To add to this, after voting through the India Info website I got a certificate from the website. So folks, get into voting mode.

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June 28, 2007 Posted by | General | 10 Comments

Reboot the vending machine

 Vending MachineReaching office in the morning today, I took out my coffee cup and marched ahead towards the vending machine to fill in my cuppa cappuccino to start the day. I gently pressed the cappuccino button but it was silent as if I call up a person and he doesn’t bother to respond back to me. Then I noticed the little yellow display screen. The machine had freezed. Most of us who are familiar with the windows operating system or who have at least worked on a windows 95, windows 98 or windows ME would be familiar with the typical windows hang ups. Now the vending machine at the office is also behaving that way. For a moment I felt that today I am gonna miss my sip of coffee. But then it clicked to me. The only solution when I see that my windows OS has hung is to use the three finger salute – the notorious “CTRL + ALT + DEL”. If that doesn’t help simply press the restart button on the CPU.

Here unfortunately  there are no such “CTRL + ALT + DEL” buttons. I switched off the main power and bingo. It worked. I didn’t have to miss my cup of coffee.

June 14, 2007 Posted by | General | 2 Comments

The IMified Buddy

This website is really a buddy when it comes to performing some network lookups on a regular or irregular basis. Just by adding this buddy imified@imified.com in your IM client, now you can easily post and entry in your Blog, set up and view alerts, manage projects in the online project management tool Basecamp, bookmark in Delicious, run network commands like ping, whois, traceroute, etc. Good thing is this buddy can be added in most of the IM client’s viz- AIM, MSN, Jabber, Gtalk, Yahoo (this one has been down off late). I am not sure how its spelt, whether I call it I-M-‘e’-fied or I-M-‘i’-fied”, but that really doesn’t matter. I would rather call it by the first one.

After adding the buddy to the buddy list, you just need to send any message to this buddy and your account is created. Finally interactions can be done when you have the Main Menu. Cool huh! That’s how one gets IMified.

Launched on 3rd February ’07, a free service as of now, it might start charging a nominal fee as the user base increases. It’s already becoming increasingly popular according to their blog.

It’s an easy to access productivity tool. To take advantage of it, there are a variety of widgets available which has to be added in your account and then its ready to access through a menu system. The developers in the lab are working on adding more widgets and others can also create their own widgets using the API provided. I used the service to check for some network commands. Here are a few snapshots.

The set of commands available under NetLookup command

The PING command

The ALEXA command

An impressive WHOIS response

Kudos to the IMified team. For more information just keep checking for more and keep IMifieing.

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June 14, 2007 Posted by | Analytics | 1 Comment

In a bid to Save the World

Environmentalists are doing their job outright. They are putting in their will and energy to save the world from the ruthless damages inflicted to her from all corners of the world. But that in itself is not enough. There are things which all other common people can follow to show that they care for the mother nature.

First thing that comes to my mind is about the automobile emissions. Why doesn’t the government ask all states to follow the CNG route? It’s clean and cheap. The national capital has implemented it. But that doesn’t suffice. All industrial emissions are also a major concern and the government’s role should be there in asking them to reduce or recycle. All the constructions with jazzy looking glass buildings should be reconstructed or stopped. Glass buildings look good but they are a severe threat to the nearby surroundings and hence to the environment. Plastic usage has been another piece of concern. The large
retail shops like Big Bazaar and such uses bulk quantities of plastic as wrappers. I spoke to one of the employees in Big Bazaar about the plastic carry bags they use and said they should use paper bags. He replied that the bags they use are in fact naturally degradable. I haven’t checked out about the truthfulness of his claim but hope he is right. Wherever you go for shopping, you end up with one or two more plastic items in your collection. End result being each house has loads of plastic bags. There had been campaigns in newspapers in both ways. Usage of plastic is good as long it is reused or degradable. If either of this doesn’t happen, then it’s a threat.

In trying to correct the things, there would obviously be huge costs involved but compared to the cost of rescuing the environment its nothing. Our earth has aged now and very soon is going to die. Though that cannot be prevented we can at least slow down the aging process if controlled steps are taken at the right time. I feel that the right time is already over but as is said, it’s never too late to start a good deed.

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June 7, 2007 Posted by | concerns, nature | Leave a comment

World Environment Day

“Save the world”. Yesterday was the day most of the population suddenly gets the feel of saving the mother earth. With lots of media flare, a few ministers somewhere would plant some hundreds or maybe thousands of plants proudly displaying what a good deed they had done on this one day while the remaining three sixty four days they probably would not give a damn about it. Do these plants actually turn out to be real large trees? Has anybody counted on this? I guess not. Who would care?

Newspapers and news channels would only show snaps of the people who “pose to show” about their mission to save the world only on the 5th of June. In its World Environment Day concern, a top FM radio channel I was listening to was giving off plants in a tub to those who can claim that they are plant killers (Those who try to grow plants in the tub but due to many reasons the plant eventually dies). I thought “what an idea”! Give a plant to those who can’t ensure that the plant remains healthy so that this give away plant in a tub would also meet the same fate. A sad death. Poor plant!

The US president also raised voice showing concerns. Being one of the most developed and advanced countries in the world, have those top politicians ever wondered what was happening to the environment when they were going fast along the ladder of progress. No, he is making noise all over and wants all other under developed and developing countries to listen to him and act as what he says for the sake of saving the environment. In a way he is right. What the American nation couldn’t control during their developing stage, they want that to be controlled by the present second and third world countries. And look at India’s reply on his call. Our country is showing that emission levels here are far lower; also going to the state of saying that we can’t compromise development for the sake of protecting the environment. What a shame.

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June 6, 2007 Posted by | concerns, nature | Leave a comment