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Quiz Time October 30, 2004

Posted by dhar in Misc.

Another short quiz for those interested:

1. In the film world, who or what is Gumping?

2. What was the impact of post World War II paper shortage on Tolkien’s LOTR?

3. While on the topic of Tolkien, here are the instructions Tolkien left regarding the conversion of his books into movies:

It might be advisable to let the Americans do what seems good to them – as long as it was possible to veto anything from or influenced by the __________ studios (for all whose works I have a heartfelt loathing).

Which studio?

4. From the beginning, there have been various stories about the origins and discovery of coffee. Islamic legend ascribes the discovery of coffee to devout Sheikh Omar, who found the coffee growing wild while living as a recluse in a famous coffee producing place in Yemen. Which place?


Are you ready for it? October 28, 2004

Posted by dhar in Misc.

It is coming…

Just 12 Days to D-Day

On 9th November the Mozilla Foundation will release Firefox 1.0 to an eagerly waiting world and the web will be changed…. FOREVER!

Firefox empowers you to browse faster, more safely, and more efficiently than with any other browser. Join more than 6 million others and make the switch today — Firefox imports your Favorites, settings and other information, so you have nothing to lose. Firefox comes with some amazing features.

* Tabbed Browsing
* Popup Blocking
* Amazing Extensions
* Live Bookmarks
* Improved FastFind
* Improved Security
* Master Password
* Software Update
* Smaller Download

Here is what Neo had to say to Microsoft:
I know that you’re afraid… you’re afraid of the FOX. You’re afraid of change. I don’t know the future. I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it’s going to begin. I’m going to conclude this post and then I’m going to show these people what you don’t want them to see. I’m going to show them a Web without you. A Web without virii and spyware, a Web without popups or boundaries. On 9th November they will experience a Web where anything is possible… Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.

I-Spy October 26, 2004

Posted by dhar in Misc.

Another mini quiz to whet your appetite.

Q1. Bill Fairbanks, Frederick Warder, Alec Trevelyan & ____ ___.
Hint: He is the son of a Scottish father, Andrew and a Swiss mother, Monique both of whom died in a climbing accident. He also has an asteroid named after him. Who?

Q2. In the book “The Man Who Was M: The Life of Charles Henry Maxwell Knight” by Anthony Masters, it is claimed that a certain person conceived the plan that successfully lured Rudolf Hess to fly into captivity in Britain. Who?

Q3. What is the claim to fame of Maurice Binder?

Q4. Connect Kingsley Amis, John Gardner, Raymond Benson and Charlie Higson.

Four-Play October 24, 2004

Posted by dhar in Misc.

A set of four quick questions for the quizzing enthusiasts:

1. After making the first trip on board Phoenix to showcase his new technology, Zefram Cochrane used a phrase to describe what could be done with the technology. What phrase?

2. Captain Robert April, Captain Christopher Pike, Captain ______ _____, Captain John Harriman, Captain Rachel Garrett. Fill in the blanks.
Hint: The middle name of the Captain is Tiberius and he is the only person in history to have defeated the computer war simulation called Kobayashi Maru

3. The members of this group progressed through four levels: first the Padawan, then the Knights, the Masters and the Spirits. Based on the function they perform they are classified into three groups: the Guardians, the Sentinels and the Consulars.

4. His name is derived from Sanskrit and means warrior. Who?

Recruiting a Team Member October 22, 2004

Posted by dhar in Misc.
1 comment so far

With electives starting from this term, there has been sudden spurt in emails on the general student mailing list of people trying to form groups for various assignments. Here is one such chain:

—–Original Message—–
From: Sumit Dhar
Sent: Thu 10/21/2004 7:45 PM
To: Students05
Subject: Offer Open Till Stocks Last

Advertisement from recent issue of COBE TIMES, SECTION C

Have you:

– Translated ethnic slurs for immigrant workers or written a soap opera for Star TV?
– Won either the Tour-de-France or the New York Marathon?
– Played guitar for Metallica and calculated the value of Pi to a millionth place at the same time?
– Performed covert operations for the CIA and the KGB?
– Cussed fluently in 24 foreign languages and 11 Indian dialects on National TV?
– Enrolled for COBE, Section C?

If you answered YES to any ONE of these questions, the group “Sax and Violins” is looking for you. The current members of this musical quartet are:

Ranjit Babu (Lead Guitar)
Venkata Raghavan (Bass Guitar)
Vikram Kamath (Drums)
Sumit Dhar (Keyboard)

The right candidate must be above 18 (Sorry Gulia) and should never have been arrested for drug peddling (Sorry Daman) or armed robbery. Ability to manage with just 5 hours of sleep per week a must. Knowledge of life, universe and everything desirable. Everything else, negotiable!

If you match the advertised profile, please apply with a passport sized photograph and a detailed resume to the undersigned.


To which we receive this reply:

—–Original Message—–
From: Manoj Ramaswamy
Sent: Thu 10/21/2004 7:47 PM
To: Sumit Dhar
Subject: RE: Offer Open Till Stocks Last

Take me… Please take me!


One of the group members wanted to know in which position. But that is besides the point.

We respond to the applicant’s plea:

—–Original Message—–
From: Sumit Dhar
Sent: Thu 10/21/2004 8:00 PM
To: Manoj Ramaswamy; Ranjit Babu; Venkata Raghavan Sarathy; Vikram Kamath
Subject:RE: Offer Open Till Stocks Last

Dear Mr. Ramaswamy,

Thank you for your response to our Ad in COBE Times.

I believe our HR Head Ranjit Babu would have gotten in touch with you and sent across the offer letter. According to the terms of the offer letter, you will have to treat the current members of the quartet to a fundoo lunch at Chutneys this Saturday. Once that formality is out of the way, you shall be inducted into the group.

We hope you have a long and productive association with Sax and Violins.

Sumit Dhar

But unfortunately this mail ran afoul of the HR Head Ranjit Babu. He sends a stinker:

—–Original Message—–
From: Ranjit Babu
Sent: Thu 10/21/2004 8:09 PM
To: Sumit Dhar; Manoj Ramaswamy; Venkata Raghavan Sarathy; Vikram Kamath
Subject: RE: Offer Open Till Stocks Last

Sax and Violins Inc. (Estd. 2004)
Human Resources and BDSM

Dear Mr. Dhar,

It has come to our notice that you have been sending out:
a. Matrimonial ads (Ref. Messrs. Students05)
b. Extortion threats (Ref. Shri Amit Aggarwal) ; and
c. Random ROFL emails (Ref. below).

In accordance with company policy and local laws, please report to the WTF-is-going-on committee with a bottle of beer, a box of cigars and a part edited, this is a family blog you see>. This will act as pre-emptive cover for unforeseen attacks that may-or-may-not-be launched by ‘one of the youngest CAs on campus’ that you may-or-may-not-have irked in random email (a).

Meanwhile, Mr. Ramaswamy (The artist formerly known as Capt. Spiff) is extended a warm welcome to the COBE Clutz Clan (henceforth referred to as CCC). Please tender your hafta to Don D’s den immediately.

Cheers and warmest regards,

PS: This is going to be one looong term…

With this small misunderstanding out of the way, the candidate pledges allegiance to the clan and is welcomed warmly into the group.

—–Original Message—–
From: Manoj Ramaswamy
Sent: Thu 10/21/2004 8:22 PM
To: Ranjit Babu; Sumit Dhar; Venkata Raghavan Sarathy; Vikram Kamath
Subject: RE: Offer Open Till Stocks Last
I hereby pledge my allegiance to the clan, for the better or for worse, till ASA does us apart.

OK guys, here’s some conditions from my side. I am not used to getting any grade other than A and an occasional A-!! So better get cracking on the assignments or be ready to be whipped! After all, what’s BDSM without some fun..


Hmm, looks like we all have too much time on our hands.

The Buzz is Back October 15, 2004

Posted by dhar in Misc.

Yesterday Google threw down the gauntlet to Microsoft by announcing the Google Desktop. While all other rivals are playing catch-up with their improved Web searches, Google pushes the technologoy frontier further. The Desktop search application, like all things Google, is elegant, blazingly fast and integrates beautifully with Google’s other products.

Google has brought back the buzz to the Internet. The last time we heard this buzz was when a small upstart was pitted against the Goliath Microsoft. With Micosoft thumping Netscape, there was just an eerie silence. But now Microsoft seems beseiged on multiple fronts. The buzz is back with a bang!

Firefox with over 4.5 Million downloads in less than a month is threatening Internet Explorer, Linux and OSS are engaging Microsoft’s cash cow, Sony/Nintendo seem to be entrenched in the gaming industry and now Google. Google not only has killer applications, it also has the user’s trust and the brand recognition to be a Microsoft killer. It has the ability to make Microsoft’s OS and Office suite redundant by providing the same services via a browser. Refer previous post about Laszlo.

After installing, I tested the performance of the application. Launched the application and gave it the name of a file. It returned the result in less than 0.5 seconds. Not bad, huh? Tried something more difficult. I selected some text from a file deep in some directory. Google again returned accurate results in less than 0.5 seconds. Tried the same with Microsoft search application. After trying for nearly 4 minutes, it came up with an answer: “No File Found”.

Try out the application. It is available at desktop.google.com

PS: Another application I would like readers to check out is Gmail Drive. GMail Drive creates a virtual filesystem on top of your Google GMail account and enables you to save and retrieve files stored on your GMail account directly from inside Windows Explorer. GMail Drive literally adds a new drive to your computer under the My Computer folder, where you can create new folders, copy and drag’n’drop files to.

Web as a Platform October 12, 2004

Posted by dhar in Misc.

Laszlo is an open source platform that enables companies to develop and deliver rich internet applications on the Internet. While I have never been a big fan of rich content — till recently I used links to browse the web — Laszlo blew my breath away.

Laszlo consists of presentation layer development tools and an application framework to create rich client applications in Web browsers. Laszlo uses Java on the server, as well as some JavaScript along with the XML and a zero-install executable that takes advantage of the Macromedia Flash 5 or 6 Player as the runtime rendering environment to create rich applications that run as part of dynamic Web pages. And best of all, the entire thing is open sourced.

With the Internet becoming an integral part of lives of people, the time seems ripe for the browser to become a full fledged platform. People should be able to use the browser to do most of their day to day computing tasks. I always thought this would happen somewhere in near future. Laszlo brings you the future.

Companies like Google should adopt Laszlo and Firefox while providing users with 10 gigabytes of space. This will allow users to slowly move their computing from the desktop to Google servers. It will do to accessing data what Hotmail did to email.

It will provide Google with an opportunity to really tie-in its users and also monetize its offerings. By tying up with Firefox, Google can counter Microsoft by providing users an alternative platform.

A New Beginning October 5, 2004

Posted by dhar in Misc.

What can one say? I accidentally deleted my blog.

Have managed to salvage most of the posts. Let us see what can be done.