Humour, comics, tech, law, software, reviews, essays, articles and HOWTOs intermingled with random philosophy now and then
Site management by
Posted on Wed, Nov 29, 2006 at 13:38 IST (last updated: Wed, Sep 26, 2007 @ 15:30 IST)
I'm experimenting with a new layout and a new colour theme. Please feel free to leave your feedback here. Some of the XHTML was changed and the CSS was modified heavily. In particular I thought I'd try and see how a left-side bar would work with the blog. Although this theme looks a lot like the old "grey" theme I used a while back, this is a completely new one.
The earlier gold-brown theme still exists, so I can always revert to that, but I wanted a change.
Humour and Nonsense by
Posted on Thu, Nov 23, 2006 at 10:13 IST (last updated: Wed, Jul 16, 2008 @ 20:36 IST)
With the run of poor form that the Indian Cricket team has been going through in recent times it's obvious to the most optimistic Indian Cricket fan that the dream of becoming the next world champions is fading out rather quickly.
Rather than talk and analyze cricket, here are some suggestions as to how India can avoid the losing streak.
- Hire a foriegn team -- now that India has successfully experimented with foriegn coaches, maybe it's time for Team India to comprise entirely of overseas players (do take a hint from England, guys!) At least the Indian players will have more time for their advertising endorsements this way rather than wasting their time on trivial matters like actually playing the game.
- Fund cloud-seeding research -- if more matches get washed out, the less matches India will lose and hence their record will be better. So the BCCI might as well use their funds to develop the art and science of rain-making. The other good thing about rain-making is that we can also use it for less important matters like drought relief.
- Dig up pitches and blame it on terrorists -- Admittedly on foriegn soil, we would need outside support for this, but nevertheless it can be arranged. Again, this is based on the theory that you cannot play a match on a pitch that looks like a raked up paddy field. The added advantage of this technique is that entire tours can be cancelled based on perceived security threats. And the ICC can do nothing about it... bwahahahaha!
- Bring back Kapil Dev and company (as players) -- Why stop at Anil Kumble? India needs its past heroes back on the field to prevent them from losing. Or at least if they lose, we can distract the masses by re-running clips of the '83 World Cup Final for the 12,382,938th time and keep them singing - 'OOH AAH India, AA JAA India' and 'Come On India.'
- Bribe umpires -- A good way to ensure... ahem... neutrality. One good thing with this technique is that you can use it against umpires you don't like. Push some money into his pockets and then scream out loudly so that the world denounces him. What's the worst that can happen? The umpire gets chucked out of Cricket and India gets banned from the ICC? Two pros and no cons. Oh, well, at least we won't see Team India lose any more. The added bonus is that we'll get to see a lot more exciting domestic cricket like Mumbai vs Karnataka and North Zone vs East Zone on DD Sports with the accompanying Hindi-English commentary from the studio experts at Doordarshan!
- Start protesting on and off the field -- If you can't join 'em, beat 'em! So if bribing doesn't work, there's always another way out! Pakistan and Sri Lanka have shown us a great technique which India have yet to adopt effectively. The Art of Protesting. So when Muttiah Muralitharan was accused of chuck... er... having an illegal action (based on a birth-defect), the whole of Sri Lanka rose up in outraged dignity -- right up from the President of the country down to the janitors and sweeps. The Pakistani team has no such problems adopting these techniques either. When confronted with on-field problems, they simply walk out. So what if you have forfeited the match? You still rob your opponents of the satisfaction of a real win! Maybe the Indian Cricket team needs to learn from the Opposition benches of Parliament.
- EA Sports Cricket 2010 -- If none of the above work out, at least ensure that the next release of EA Sports Cricket features India as the strongest team with the highest stats possible so that fans of Indian Cricket can at least enjoy seeing their heroes perform in the virtual world. This is possible if the BCCI officially licenses out our players to EA Sports. Realism? To hell with realism! And oh EA, at least make sure that when Anil Kumble bowls, his action doesn't resemble that of Jeremy Snape.
If you think my suggestions are outrageous or unworthy of consideration, just read the title again -- all I talked was about not losing... there is not a word about winning. I might be optimistic but I'm not really that unrealistic!
Humour and Nonsense by
Posted on Wed, Nov 22, 2006 at 12:44 IST (last updated: Thu, Oct 30, 2008 @ 08:08 IST)
Papa Hari has started a new agony column to solve all your troubles! Every week I receive dozens of e-mails and phone calls from desperate people who are looking for a way to solve their intricate personal problems. Here are a few typical questions and their responses.
Question from A.Boi
Dear Papa Hari,
I have a question. I have been going to school for nearly ten years and I still haven't managed to pass out successfully. I am in the local football team as well. Last Sunday night I had chocolates for dinner and fell ill. I was named this season's most talented player by the school. So should I buy a new iPod?
Papa Hari Responds
You should certainly consider the costs of eating chocolates exclusively for dinner. There are other nutritious foods available. On the other hand, I see no problem with buying an iPod so long as it is within your budget. Best of luck with your studies and I hope you manage to pass out of school! By the way, you haven't mentioned your age in your question.
Question from Mr. Golfman
I am the fabulously stinking rich executive of a multi-billion dollar corporation and I own a golf course, a yacht and several farms and apartments all over the country. Last week I was playing with a few friends and I missed an easy par 4 on hole 16. I later found that the course staff had not cut the grass properly on the edge of the fairway. Should I sue? And if so, who should I sue?
Papa Hari Responds
Dear Mr. Golfman,
I am not sure of the answer to your question, but I'm pretty certain that I should sue you for wasting my time. Care to give me the address of your legal advisor?
Question from J.A.
Dear Papa Hari,
I work hard for a living and I plan on going on a holiday. I found that my banker owes me $100,000 since last September and I haven't calculated interest on it yet. Luckily a close friend of mine guaranteed that he would pay that amount on my behalf and settle my debt. I feel that going to a lawyer at this stage is not good, but my wife insists on going to the Maldives. So what do you think I should do about my sick dog? Shoot it or take it to the vet?
Papa Hari Responds
First you should take some strong medication to clear your hangover. After that you might want to consider rephrasing your question. About your dog, I think he/she would prefer to be shot than to continue living with you. A holiday is highly recommended and I would not venture to contradict your wife's suggestion.
That's all this week, folks. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me and don't forget the $250 cheque as well. Have a nice day.
Software and Technology by
Posted on Mon, Nov 20, 2006 at 20:43 IST (last updated: Thu, May 7, 2009 @ 21:15 IST)
Ok, I'm writing a column at LinuxQuestions.org about Random Linux apps and games, but I decided that I'd share them here as well for your benefit, since the LQ.org articles section is kind of hidden and out of the way.
First of all, who says Linux doesn't have great games? Some of the most addictive games I've played are on Linux and not all of them are graphics-rich either. Enjoyable games don't need to be heavily loaded with rich 3d graphics and sound -- they just need to have fairly easy control mechanisms and involved gameplay. Here are some of my discoveries featuring a few lesser known but very enjoyable Linux arcade games.
A FOSS game along the lines of the classic Team17
, Wormux recreates some of the fun and enjoyment of tiny creatures blasting each other on a 2d map. Although far from complete and lacking the polish of the originals, it looks promising to fans of this genre.
A toy train game where you have to collect all the wagons on the map with a concept very similar to Snake Race, it is an easy to play, yet extremely addictive game. While it's controls are very simple, it is deceptively engrossing and has nice music as well.
A very nice Kart racing game featuring many tracks and players to choose from. Fun and addictive for fans of cartoonish racing games.
Website: none (?)
Part of the KDE games package, it is a very involved running and digging action/puzzle game which involves collecting all the gold pieces in a level and escaping the enemies who relentlessly pursue you. This is a very addictive game and can vary from very easy to extraordinarily challenging, based on the level design. Also comes with an integrated editor which allows you to create new level sets.
I will be covering more FOSS apps/games in the future, both here (in the blog) as well as in my column at LinuxQuestions.org! In the meantime, if you have any suggestions for apps/games to be featured in my column, please post a comment here or send me an e-mail.
Humour and Nonsense by
Posted on Mon, Oct 30, 2006 at 09:42 IST (last updated: Wed, Sep 26, 2007 @ 15:33 IST)
Here is my own, original collection of sayings particularly designed to improve your inner Soul. Enjoy!
The attitude of wisdom is the profundity of the harbinger of reason.
-- Saint Paanah (Circa 100 B.C.)
A rich man can lead a life of luxury in the heavenly uncertainty of faint principles which give him a reason for life as expressed in the mind of the eternal mother of all wisdom.
-- Saint Paanah II (Circa 10 A.D.)
Attitude is the pre-emptor of jealousy and pain while the reason of wisdom brings mankind to the point of assurance within that painful realization of the emptiness.
-- Lord Labak Daas Senior (Circa 1300 A.D.)
Give a man a reason to fish and he will discover the soul of Wit of his inner Self glowing amidst the embers of life's very meaning as expressed in the collective hearts of the deprived millions.
Mankind's perspicacious perambulations amidst the unknown terrains hitherto unexplored is the father of the clearing of sickness in the plane of Truth which heals all wounds of the Self.
-- Lord Labak Daas Junior (1687 A.D.)
Pretention is the mechanical governance of a diseased philosophy parading as the profound expression of the very existence in the mentality of a wolf in sheep's clothing.
-- Saint Moolah (Circa 1000 B.C.)
People and society by
Posted on Thu, Oct 26, 2006 at 17:03 IST (last updated: Wed, Jul 16, 2008 @ 21:15 IST)
I belong to a previous generation of computer users who actually attended training courses to learn the basics of computers. Back in the early 90s, computers were still a novelty for most of us and owning a PC was a matter of immense prestige. The course I attended taught MS-DOS, Lotus 1-2-3, dBase and the basics of file and directory manipulation. They conducted tests at the end and participants were given a certificate. The fact was that in those days, we used to see the computer as a special device that required a certain set of basic skills to operate. And accordingly, we never had a problem adapting to the rapid technology changes as they occurred simply because we were thorough in the fundamentals. School was also a great place to learn - we were taught computer languages from BASIC to Pascal and finally C. We didn't fiddle about with fancy GUIs or use the computer to play games. In fact, our school computers those days were equipped with the bare minimums - the Operating System (usually Novell Netware) and the compilers/IDE (Turbo Pascal and Turbo C++). As students, we didn't treat the device as a plaything but as a learning tool.
Today, computers are so familiar they breed contempt. Today's generation of youngsters grow up on a steady diet of eye-candy and 3d shooters. Kids are exposed to so much more at such an early age. This is the generation of gadget buffs. The explosion of consumer electronics has pretty much ensured the availability of cheaper and even more powerful devices for every household. But are we really more empowered?
The point I'm making is that today we are far more tech savvy than we were a couple of decades ago. But that hasn't necessarily made us more educated or empowered. Sure, everybody knows how to operate an iPod, but is that really a case of being empowered? More people use computers today, but how many of them really know the fundamentals? Do people really bother to find out what makes 64-bit computing better than 32-bit computing? Is it just a case of being impressed by all those fancy jargon? And more to the point, how many really care about what happens under the hood of all those cool gadgets they flaunt around? People mistakenly refer to themselves as "geeks" when they really should refer to themselves as "gadget-buffs". For that's exactly what they are. In the face of the smallest problem, they choose to throw away good stuff rather than getting them fixed. Devices have become smaller and smaller, but also more fragile than ever before.
Of course, it can be argued that people do not have to know their technology to use them. This is precisely why huge consumer electronic giants like Sony continue to prosper. They would rather have a generation of gadget buffs who fall for fancy jargons and colourful packaging rather than a bunch of people who understand how stuff really works. More to the point, they don't want a generation of people who can differentiate between useful really technology and meaningless hype. They don't want customers who are empowered to probe behind the constant cycle of technology upgrades which keep forcing people to throw away perfectly useful stuff just because it's become "outdated." They don't want people who will rebel against restrictions placed on fair-use... hell, they don't even want people who will understand the meaning of the term "fair use." They just want people who are addicted to buying the latest and greatest technology without considering anything other than their desire for instant gratification.
Maybe the answer lies in the fact that the previous generation grew up with the technology and was in a better position to assess its merits as it evolved. Today's generation has reaped the full benefit of the semiconductor revolution but never really saw its development and growth. So everybody wants a computer that works, but most don't want to ask how it works in the first place.
Oh, for sure, the common man today is now much more tech-savvy than a few decades ago... but tech-empowered? Not really.