Monday, October 31, 2005

Toothsome links is a "social bookmarking site," used to maintain what bloggers would call a link-blog. I find it very useful to store and share interesting links I find during the course of my surfing at work and at home (in Madras).

You can view the links I have stored by clicking on "My Bookmarks" on the sidebar.

(I was directed to by my friend Gokul's post.)
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Wish you all a wonderful Deepavali!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Bangalore Diary

Some thoughts after a month in Bangalore:

With young people from all over the country converging here in large numbers, Bangalore resembles a university town. However, this may not be very evident during the weekdays when people are mostly in the workplace.
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I have developed a strong liking for idli in these few days. Though I come from Tamilnadu, the home of the idli, it was far from a favourite. The reasons being:
  • When made in a pressure-cooker (as is usually done at home), idlis are a bit harder than they should be.
  • I usually had them with molagāi podi, which I realise now is not a great combination.
But these days if I am able to drag myself out of bed in the mornings, it is only due to my longing for the soft sambar-soaked idlis from the nearby Udupi "hotel."
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What the name Karthik is in Tamilnadu, Manjunath is in Karnataka. If you hop onto a bus here and holler "Manjunath," you will find at least half the people responding.
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The Bangalore traffic has already gained country-wide notoriety. These cartoons are popular email-forwards:(If the words are not clear: Politician - "We have found a permanent solution for the traffic on Hosur Road." Industry representatives - "Wow! Fly-overs? Six-lane Roads?" Politician - "Make the entire road a wi-fi zone, so that people can work from their company bus.")


Before I moved to my present accommodation (close to my workplace), I used to take two buses to work from my friend's flat. If I did not catch my first bus by 8am, I would take it only after 9:30 to avoid the peak-hour traffic. Thank God for flexible work-hours.
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Talking about transportation, I seldom have had to wait at the bus stop for more than five minutes, owing to:
  • Private buses (there are quite a few).
  • Chauffer-driven private vehicles, operated on the sly.
Often when I return home late (after 11pm) when the buses are less frequent, it is the latter that would come to my rescue.
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Kannada, it seems to me, is a combination of Tamil and Telugu. Take, for instance, the numbers:

Kannada Tamil Telugu
3 mūru mūnru mūdu
4 nālku nāngu nālgu
5 aidu aindu aidu
6 āru āru āru
7 ēdu ēzhu ēdu

This resemblance is, of course, not surprising.

There are a couple of things, however, that one should remember to do while trying understand Kannada words:
  • Change H to P (a lot of times).
  • Change B to V (sometimes).
So when you hear the sentence "Hālu kudibittu hogi," you now know:
  • hālu -> pālu: milk (Telugu/Tamil)
  • kudi: to drink (Tamil)
  • bittu -> vittu: after (Tamil)
  • hōgi -> pōgi: to go (Tamil/Telugu)
"Go after drinking milk."

Though I know very little Kannada, I have so far not encountered any communication problems. Most autodrivers and shopkeepers also speak Tamil, Hindi and Telugu. How they manage to do this, is beyond me to understand.
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If I have to mention one thing that I like the most about Bangalore: The climate. What more will a Chennai-ite ask for?

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Hexal System and the Mela-karta Ragas - Essay

An old essay of mine, just uploaded:

While doing my bachelor's degree. I was introduced to the mathematical concept of Number Systems. When this is applied to Carnatic music, there emerges an interesting association between The Hexal System and the Mela-karta Ragas.

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Previous posts on music: One, Two and Three.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Word Verification and its Usability

Great post! By the way, I have a blog on california home loan mortgage refinance and related stuff that you may be interested in :-) Do visit it!
- A comment on one of my posts
Most blogs are being plagued by the nuisance of spam comments. Apart from giving one the pain of going and deleting them, they also mess up the whole comment section:


  • This post has been removed by a blog administrator.
    By Anonymous, at 3:59 PM

  • This post has been removed by a blog administrator.
    By Mike, at 7:18 PM

  • This post has been removed by a blog administrator.
    By jon, at 11:45 PM

  • Actually [...].
    That aside....looks like you're being spammed, and i'd recommend turning on word verification (from the template).
    By Sunil Laxman, at 2:47 AM

  • This post has been removed by a blog administrator.
    By TS, at 11:04 AM

  • Hi Sunil
    [...] Yes, I am getting spammed. Maybe I do the word verification thing but for now I just delete, delete, delete.
    By 7:56 PM

  • [...]
    By Charu, at 10:19 AM

  • This post has been removed by a blog administrator.
    By Admin, at 3:14 PM

  • Hi Charu
    Yes, Indeed. [...]
    By Michael Higgins, at 5:26 PM

Now, Blogger provides a mechanism to prevent these auto-posted comments: Word Verification. There is a price to be paid for this though: by the genuine commenter, having to fill in one more field. If the pain of doing so is too much, it is likely to dissuade him (or her) from commenting, or annoy him even if he does comment.

While the Blogger Word Verification is a good idea, I feel it has made it a little to bad for the commenters by giving a random sequence of letters (RSL) to type. Why:

People type on their keyboard in one of two ways:

1. Type by sight: Look at the keyboard while hitting the keys.
2. Touch-type.

If you belong to category 2, you can read the RSL and simultaneously type it. No issues. However, the general user is not a touch-typist. Which means, he has to read one letter of the RSL, lower gaze to type it... repeating the process for every letter. A pain in the neck -- literally.

There is a simple solution to this: Instead of the random sequence of letters, use a (random) word from the dictionary. One can read the word in one go and type the whole thing out. Alternatively, let the blog owner choose his word of choice, that can be used every time -- as in Sepia Mutiny. I know I need to type "mutiny" and don't even have to spend time reading it.

I had word verification on for a brief while, but no longer do. I just delete the spam. But some popular bloggers are flooded with too much spam to afford to do this.

Usability is an important consideration for any software or website. Wonder how Blogger/Google overlooked this aspect of it.