Hari's Corner

Humour, comics, tech, law, software, reviews, essays, articles and HOWTOs intermingled with random philosophy now and then

Fleeting thoughts: doctor TV shows and more

Filed under: Bits and Bytes by Hari
Posted on Wed, Nov 14, 2007 at 20:26 IST (last updated: Wed, Jul 16, 2008 @ 21:21 IST)

I've been disinterestedly watching one of those "Live" doctor TV shows, where a prominent (or publicity-hungry) member of the medical fraternity decides to take questions from telephone callers and disperses advise. Most of these shows, at least here in India, take a spot in News networks at various non-prime time slots of the day. I'm quite surprised that people actually bother calling, to be honest. Most of these gems of wisdom are just common sense suggestions wrapped in semi-scientific jargon and more often than not, these doctors always ask viewers to consult their own doctors for specific advice. I mean, anybody with a little knowledge of human anatomy could answer such questions.

The only value of these programmes seem to be to fill up time. Of course, there is the occasional specialist who has useful knowledge to share, but most of them seem (understandably) reluctant to go beyond vague generalities. To my mind, such programmes do their bit to encourage self-medication more than anything else.


I'm trying to write a simple, SQLite-driven blogging tool optimized to displaying images. This is because I'm yet to find a lightweight blogging tool that doesn't take up megabytes of storage space and a MySQL database. I also don't like the current crop of "image gallery" or "photo album" scripts either, most of which are bloated, feature rich and use thumbnail-generation which is suited for high-resolution photographs rather than comic strips.

SQLite seems a very good option for small applications. It suits a lightweight image blogging tool which will organize images in simple categories and require no thumbnail displays. It'll be light on features which other blog software consider standard. Most likely I'll release the source code under the GPL.

The only problem with SQLite is that most PHP setups don't have the SQLite module installed by default. But I'm determined not to use MySQL for this as it will defeat the whole purpose of simplicity.


I've had it in my mind to write one or two tutorials/HOWTOs here, but I'm not sure how many people will really benefit from them.

It all depends on whether you really want to see a tutorial on creating comics in Linux. The other is one on how to add a basic RSS/Atom feed to a static website (or one which isn't powered by a dynamic script with a built-in syndication mechanism).

If anybody is interested, let me know and I'll get myself to do them.

6 comment(s)

  1. write them! :)

    Hmm... this SQL lite image thingy sounds interesting- you'd have to include documentation on how to install SQL lite though.

    Comment by titanium_geek (visitor) on Thu, Nov 15, 2007 @ 02:53 IST #
  2. T_g, SQLite is simply a library. There's no server running in the background. Installing it in Linux is as simple as using the package manager of your distro to install the php5-sqlite package and the libsqlite package.

    Comment by hari (blog owner) on Thu, Nov 15, 2007 @ 07:43 IST #
  3. I should create a Bacula package that uses SQLite as the database backend for Slackware as it supports it as an option. I'd just have to create a Slackware package as well, since it seems Linuxpackages.net doesn't have good updated packages for 11.0 or 12.0 ;)

    Comment by drew (visitor) on Fri, Nov 16, 2007 @ 07:17 IST #
  4. Drew. Well, when I need to test this program, I'll need the PHP SQLite extension. But I'll also try one of those free hosts who offer PHP 5 and see whether they support SQLite.

    Comment by hari (blog owner) on Fri, Nov 16, 2007 @ 07:45 IST #
  5. I think there's no reason why doctors should be blamed for not giving total cure.

    It is not possible to collect all symptoms and recommend a remedy over phone. They can only do some basic assessment and give some suggestions. At times it can be dangerous to give a medical solution without proper examination of the patient.

    Let us assume someone calls you and tells "My Computer is not booting"-You can never tell exact solution on phone, except some generic steps like "Check the cables", is Power supply running? Has it been plugged in.. etc. You cant decide exact fault (say SMPS needs to be replaced totally) Even if you guess it, what will you do if the other person has no idea what an SMPS is? Best you can advice is to call a service personnel.

    I guess the shows are fine. Even audience usually know what they can expect and what they can't...Most of the time viewers call for the sheer pleasure of being on air...

    Comment by Shrinidhi Hande (visitor) on Fri, Nov 16, 2007 @ 07:53 IST #
  6. I agree, Shrinidhi. That's why I said that these shows are pointless. As medical doctors, they're right in exercising caution while advising the callers over telephone and that's what I mentioned in the article as well.

    I think the tendency to self-medicate is already quite high among people, so such programmes do their bit to encourage the practice even though the doctors are cautious.

    Comment by hari (blog owner) on Fri, Nov 16, 2007 @ 08:44 IST #

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