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Null Pointer

A brilliant (sic) coalesce of Technology (where the emphasis is on Java), Internet, Blogging, Indic-blogging, current-affairs, politics, entertainment industry and topics that concern India.

Last Build Date: Tue, 10 Nov 2009 04:13:50 -0500

Copyright: Copyright 2009

Null Pointer moves to its own home

Thu, 6 Apr 2006 10:07:29 -0400

I recently moved to my own domain and after migrating the blog to Wordpress (read this post to know how I managed to do that) I simply dropped a note here at JRoller to let know my readers who still come here. For the email subscribers I simply changed the feed URL. Today it struck me that some also read me through newsreaders and these guys would probably never know unless I tell them, through the feed, about the migration. So a change of mind and another post that must happens to be the last one at JRoller.

Null Pointer now resides at Bloglines subscribers can click here to subscribe to the feed. For others, the blog has a RSS as well as an Atom Feed, please subscribe to the one you like. My hindi blog NuktaChini may be read here.

Thanks a lot! Hope to see you at my new home.

Make your own Java newsreader

Fri, 6 Jan 2006 05:47:48 -0500

XML feeds are the way today to keep a tab on what?s happening in the blogosphere as well as to know about site updates and new additions. I had heard about two popular open source feature-rich Java APIs to deal with the feeds, Rome and Informa but could never really savor them. For one of my own sites where I, sort of hand-built the aggregator as Myjavaserevr does not allow deploying external JARs or Taglibs I did not get any chance to play with these APIs. So when I got some opportunity it was imperative that I tried them. The following is a very elementary example of using the two news aggregation libraries that imitates a newsreader. The examples, as I said, are pretty basic and they would make a hit to the specified Feed URL every time you call the JSPs. The code snippets are not meant to demonstrate good coding practice. Both the libraries support almost all versions of RSS, RDF and Atom and features such as dynamic discovery of feed format. Feature wise probably Informa has an upper hand (it supports OPML, recognizes the Enclosure element making it suitable to comprehend Podcast feeds and can be configured to use a persistence mechanism built over Hibernate) but what it lacks is availability of documents. There are no primers at the site and the code is very poorly commented making the Javadocs difficult to come to pace quickly. The two articles that I could, Google have been outdated, as I used the 0.6.5 version of the library. Rome, on the other hand, has very nice documentation available at its site, complete with code examples. Many desirable features are unfortunately still on the TODO list. While I have not investigated them, there are a number of sub-projects based on both Rome and Informa, for example: there is a JSP Tag library based on Informa. There is a short review of various libraries here but I guess much stuff on Informa is not relevant now since its latest release. I am not mincing my words when I say that each API has its own strengths, Informa library is pretty bulky but supports OPML while Rome has a wider support for all kind of XML feeds and has a pluggable architecture. The good thing about these APIs is that they pretty much offer you everything that you may want to do with feeds, reading, generating your own, and creating a digest from multiple feeds and so on. To run these JSPs, needless to say, you would need to download Informa and Rome libraries. I ran these on jakarta-tomcat-5.0.28 / j2sdk1.4.2_06 and the only dependency I was missing was the JDOM jar that Rome needs. A bare-minimum Newsreader based on Informa: <%@page import=", de.nava.informa.core.ChannelFormat, de.nava.informa.core.ItemIF, de.nava.informa.parsers.FeedParser, de.nava.informa.core.ChannelIF, de.nava.informa.impl.basic.ChannelBuilder, de.nava.informa.core.ItemEnclosureIF, java.util.*" contentType="text/html;charset=UTF-8" %> <% String url = request.getParameter("url"); if (url != null && !url.trim().equals("")) { try { ChannelIF channel = FeedParser.parse(new ChannelBuilder(), new URL(url)); %>

New posts from: <%=channel.getTitle()%> by <%=channel.getCreator()%>

<% for (Iterator it = channel.getItems().iterator(); it.hasNext (); ) { ItemIF item = (ItemIF); ItemEnclosureIF enclosure = item.getEnclosure(); %>


[Published on <%=item.getDate()%>]


<% if(enclosure != null){ %>

Enclosure [<%=enclosure.getType()%>, <%=Math.floor(enclosure.getLength()/1000000)%> MB]

<% } } } catch (Exception ex) { ex.printStackTrace(); %>Sorry, error occurred while fetching po[...]

Piping problem

Fri, 6 Jan 2006 05:39:50 -0500

I recently had a task wherein I was required to call few Perl routines from inside my Java class. You must be saying, waht's the big deal? Runtime.exec is what one needs. You are dead right, this comes to rescue when ones needs to call a non-Java process or an executable. With this, I was able to call most of the said routines, except a few that were using "Piping". Now, a pipe is a one-way I/O channel which can transfer a stream of bytes from one process to another, meaning that one processes's standard output serves as a pipe to another program; anything you print to STDOUT will be standard input for the other process.

With a piped routine call as follows, only routine1 got exccuted and routine2 didn't.

./ param1 | ./ -directory  param2

Googling revealed that people were facing problems too and I had no clue as to how I could use the Standard output from the Process object to feed to second routine.

I finally found the solution here, like the light at the end of tunnel. As the article says, Runtime.exec invokes actual executable binary programs. Syntax such as pipe (|) and > are part of a particular command processor, and are only understood by that processor. So in such calls, the command preceding the pipe is executed, but the rest of the shell command is not. Moreover, invoking the process with single string argument, say as "sh -c './ param1 | ./ -directory param2'" doesn't work because the String passed to exec method is split apart into tokens without caring for the single inner quotes.

Without further ado, let me reveal that invoking the process as follows is what works:

String param = "./ param1 | ./ -directory  param2";
Runtime runtime = Runtime.getRuntime();
String[] args = new String[]{"sh", "-c", param};
Process p = runtime.exec(args);

Blogger block

Wed, 4 Jan 2006 03:20:17 -0500

Charu refers to an article on how to deal with the blogger burnout, a term I came to terms with when Jivha quit blogging. For me it has been more the case of Blogger block rather than burnout. I have never been a zealous blogger anyway but few months back I at least would right twice/thrice a week, it is still twice or thrice but the weeks have turned into months. A blog-friend, who just would not have Null Pointer on his blogroll ;), tauntingly observed recently, "I like your blog but it would be better if you atleast have one post a week instead of one a month". Some write to me enquiring if I have quit blogging, and while I am reading all those blogs regularly, I am often ashamed to find a referrer log entry from a reader who visited my blog expecting some new post but (perhaps) went away perturbed. I worry if s/he would ever come back again.

A thing that prevents me from blogging regularly is absence of net connectivity at home. Then the recent happenings at the personal front are to be blamed too. Blogging at work is definitely awkward, your colleagues keep staring at your monitor and are not content to ask "Yeh kya hai?"; preparing a post especially in Hindi (and I am very poor at punching Hindi on Takhti) seems more heinous than looking a porno pop-up that shockingly appeared from an innocent looking site. During the day I must have been thinking at least a dozen times to blog about this and blog about that, but I am too lazy to jot it down immediately. Then it slips from your mind and poof, the slate is clean again. Now, I never have been in the habit of posting a link with a short comment, an advice given in the article that I just can't follow, most of my posts are lengthy, some are notoriously so.

So I don't think I (and the readers) have much choice really except that I don't care a damn about those staring eyeballs and don't feel ashamed in jotting a short link post instead of waiting to post longer ones and then not posting at all.

Happy 2006

Sun, 1 Jan 2006 12:43:33 -0500

Null Pointer wishes all it's readers a very happy and prosperous new year!

Reading blogs with an Opinmind

Wed, 14 Dec 2005 02:43:15 -0500

Thousands of issues are raised everyday in blogs and among all those heavily opinionated posts, sometimes you wish you could get to know about both sides of a story, effortlessly. Opinmind is a new blog-search engine that does precisely that. It displays both the "positive" and "negative" opinions on the searched topic, with a "sentimeter" that gauges the mood of the web on the searched topic, thankfully with "no editorial judgment".

Very innovative! And if don't wanna take my word for it, try this search.

Customized widgets with Google Module API

Wed, 14 Dec 2005 02:39:54 -0500

Google has expanded on this idea of customization of their homepage and now you can come-up with your own custom widgets for the whole world to use. Within days of Yahoo releasing version three of its widgets, Google has made its API to make modules public for developers to create modules, possibly host them at Google base and view the content on their customized Google homepage. There are many samples to play with and a detailed guide to explore more. This place is sure going to swell in time to come.

While they may seem same, conceptually Yahoo?s widgets and Google?s modules are pretty different, Google?s modules, primarily XML, are pretty much meant for inline rendering of content on its own homepage, Yahoo?s widgets, based on Yahoo! Widget Engine or Konfabulator, may be more portable I suppose.

Indic Blogger Awards

Mon, 12 Dec 2005 23:54:07 -0500

Raman informs that Microsoft's BhashaIndia, a portal on Indic language computing featuring the Microsoft solutions, is coming up with its "Indic Blogger Award" for blogs in Indian languages. Boasting of eight categories with 11 Indic languages in the fray this sure will provide the necessary boost to bloggers like us. Wonder if they owe the idea to the Indibloggies that is the first Indian weblog awards to concentrate on Indic blogs also. Microsoft is also sponsoring two prizes at the Indibloggies 2005.

The Indibloggies 2005 edition BTW has started with a whopping 28 member Jury to rate the nominated blogs. Nominations would be done using Delicious this year and a detailed notification will follow on 15 Dec at the Indibloggies website. Like last year, there has been a tremendous response from the sponsors with prizes worth more than INR 50000 to be claimed.

Delicious, says Yahoo!

Sat, 10 Dec 2005 01:49:40 -0500

Yahoo has acquired, the pioneering social bookmarking service made by Joshua Schachter, an unpredictable yet great move for the giant after the Flicker buy. With Yahoo hopefully integrating and augmenting the services, it seems tagging would now be everywhere. What a tasty way to end the year!

What were they thinking?

Thu, 24 Nov 2005 01:43:55 -0500

Is what I think when I see the keyword referrers to my blog. Savor few I encountered offlate:

  • any company they have been treating their employees unethically
  • costume for anchors of aaj tak channel
  • Is abhigyan prakash still with ndtv today?
  • funny interviews about atal bihari vajpayee in hindi
  • find any company they have been treating their employees unethically and give the name of this company
  • israeli "married to an indian"
  • how to enter in mission one crore programme by sahara tv

Blogs attack!

Fri, 28 Oct 2005 02:43:03 -0400

Forbes magazine has an thought-provoking outburst against the bloggers:

Web logs are the prized platform of an online lynch mob spouting liberty but spewing lies, libel and invective. Their potent allies in this pursuit include Google and Yahoo.

South Asian earthquake victims: You can also help

Thu, 27 Oct 2005 13:34:19 -0400

(image) Only when a natural calamity strikes we realize our limitations. In the recent earthquake that struck India and Pakistan thousands lost their lives and still more await help in the strenuous weather conditions that will only worsen in the wake of ensuing winter. Desipundit is the flag-bearer of a unique initiative by the Indi-blogdom that will hopefully spread awareness about the plight of the residents of the affected regions and encourage people to donate. Please click on the picture alongside to know how you can contribute. Thanks!

No IT Returns for salaries people. Really?

Thu, 27 Oct 2005 12:33:22 -0400

When it is the Government on the other side, nothing comes to you without the fine print. I came across this interesting comment by a reader on FM's announcement that the "Salaried class would not be required to file Income Tax returns from next year on provided there was no income from any other source".

A reader Sharad C. Misra quipped

"the Finance Minister's statement is confusing. There would be no salaried person who does not have "Income from Other Sources" under Section 56(1) of the I.T. Act which includes interest on Fixed Deposits, Bonds, Saving Bank account etc. Thus, the exemption would benefit only those who do not have even a Savings Bank account. We think that such a character would be a rarity in India!

Introducing Avaran ~ Blogger templates

Thu, 27 Oct 2005 10:17:10 -0400

I have been planning this for some time and it feels good bringing to you, Aavaran, a site where you can get new Blogger templates with, perhaps for the first time, ready templates for Hindi blogs. Apart from new templates that I propose to add, most of the templates would be adapted from popular themes of other blogwares like Wordpress, which you wish you could have at your Blogger blog. I started with two of the templates I fancied, Read Train and China Red. If you are seeing too much "red" into this, don't worry there is more to come. I hope you will like this venture and look forward to your comments and suggestions. If you would like to contribute with such new templates, do drop me a mail.

Game-shows on Indian telly: hot again

Wed, 26 Oct 2005 11:17:27 -0400

KBC has been the impetus for all the Game shows on the Indian tele, but none could fare better. Channels were in a tizzy during KBC?s first spell, desperate for their share of the pie they went ahead with hastily assembled murky imitations like one hosted by Anupam Kher on Zee or the one by Govinda on Sony. KBC was able to generate interest even in its second avatar, the format was changed very little and this time it was felt other channels were unperturbed. Content with its singing-competition turned into a reality-singing-tussle Saregamapa Zee went ahead with its low-key "Howzee" while Star?s and Sahara?s One channel host similar flicks.

I don?t know how the Channels and their producers are getting this idea of revisiting the battle, things seem to be warming up suddenly in this front. Sony has roped in the South superstar Madhavan for a new show dubbed as "Deal or no deal" while Sahara One has perhaps a more fitting reply to the crorepati show KBC with Sanjay Dutt slated to host their "Mission Ek Crore" (seems "ummeed se aadha" can be an interesting catchphrase, rightaway).

Speaking of such shows, I only hope these shows do not follow the path of shows like "Khul ja simsim", testing the participants for "Idiocity quotient".

God bloggers on the prowl?

Mon, 17 Oct 2005 09:03:57 -0400

David is back with interesting facts about the blogosphere. The figures may not be too accurate but the growth still seems bizarre to me, 70000 blogs created every day. Though the study shows that as much as 8% of these are spam or fake blogs, it is still a huge number! Technorati thinks that lot many Chinese bloggers are on the prowl but I suppose the God Bloggers would take away the crown next time.

Think before you write

Mon, 17 Oct 2005 03:45:25 -0400

I have been simply amazed by the IIPM episode and the happenings in the Indiblogdom for the past few days. While it cannot be denied that bloggers are supposed to remain united at times of distress such as this, especially when the episode took a bad turn and one of the vociferous blogger has to quit his job, I find it amazing that so many blog posts sprouted steadily grudging against IIPM and Arundam Cahudhary. I cannot vouch for it, but most of the posts contain unsubstantiated allegations and sadly, the language is no different from that used in the said "fake blogs" or the comments at Rashmi's blog. I don't think if there is any way to verify whether these comments and blog-posts were indeed posted by the IIPM students only. Moreover, even if they were, do they represent the official IIPM view? This is what I understood of the whole episode: A magazine publisher Rashmi Bansal also happens to run a blog called "Youth Curry". Her publication JAM, a youth magazine, runs an investigative story on IIPM. They had fathomed lot of unknown facts, but they choose not to publish the IIPM's version. Another blogger Gaurav links to this story Gaurav gets a legal notice over email which he does not take very seriously (I am unable to get this part though, shouldn't this notice have been slapped on the JAM magazine?) This ignites the IIPM rage in the blogdom and every blogger worth his salt, has a post condemning IIPM in a bid to uphold the "freedom of speech". A lot many so-called fake blogs also mushroom that bloat in favour of the institute. In a strange turn of events, IBM is arm-twisted by IIPM, one of its clients, to take action against Gaurav. Gaurav listens to his inner voice and decides to resign without any instigation from IBM. In all this, the bad part have been the "fake blogs" who actually made the matter worse and indeed the IIPM administrative staff that did not deem it fit to talk to the bloggers directly. Still I do not find any version of IIPM anywhere and that is probably the worst part of this whole episode. If there is an aspect of the Mediaah story, there is always another point of view, and both deserve a mention. When things take this proportion, and when people have been writing to Instapundit and Newspapers for support, it would have been better to write to Arindam and IIPM asking for their version. I think even Gaurav realized that the huge outrage against the institution might very well hurt the career prospects of the students there. The point that has been unarguably been proven here is that a line needs to be drawn between blogging and journalism. Though the conviction has been strengthened by entry of the "journalism dropouts", as someone pointed out recently, blogging IMHO is not journalism, it cannot be, because being run by individuals the facts are not seldom verified, nobody checks your copy, and as an author you're mostly forgiven for behaving irresponsibly, or shall I say unethically. When others link to you, they become part of the same vicious circle. IMHO for an employed blogger, for whom blogging is not a profession, it is all the more necessary to think twice before writing anything and ascertain before clicking the publish button that the matter does not conflict with the interests or IPR of their employer. While it was very dignified for Gaurav to quit IBM but I think he should have been careful because he had to pay a heavy price and the entire episode may have tarnished IBM's image too. This is also high time that the employers decide on formulating a clear blogging policy for their employees, the lack of any such policy only adds to the confusion to [...]

Bye Bye Bloglet!

Thu, 6 Oct 2005 09:37:38 -0400

I was not quite aware of how many readers have subscribed to this blog through Email. Today I checked Bloglet and found that there are 50+ readers who have subscribed, but as usual, Bloglet indicated that the emails were not being sent lately.

Bloglet?s has been one of the most unique and pioneering service, but apart from long unexplained down times the biggest problem with their free service has been - its conflict with the feeds, for instance it was never able to read JRoller RSS feed and kept on throwing the error "String was not recognized as a valid DateTime." I remember having logged this bug but it remains unattended to date.

Today I came across FeedBlitz, a similar service. The thing that I obviously liked was it allowed me to import all the Bloglet subscriptions. Another virtue: it recognizes Atom Feeds, a feature that Bloglet lacked, so I can now have the email subscribers to my Hindi blog, hitherto depending on the Yahoo groups service, back to this system perhaps. Feel sad to say, but so long Bloglet!

Interesting findings

Wed, 28 Sep 2005 02:19:43 -0400

(image) MIT Media Laboratory has this interesting Survey going on, click the image to take it. Though the results would change as more and more people take the survey, here are some interesting findings on the Blogging scenario:

  • There are more female bloggers than male (did you expect that?)
  • While people started blogging as early as 1996, the surge has been between 2002-2004.
  • Majority of bloggers are in the age-group 23-25.
  • Most of the bloggers
    • maintain a single blog
    • read 10-25 blogs everyday
    • don't know how long they will continue blogging
    • believe 90% of their blogs are on personal matter

[Link via: Chandru]

Tanmay is 3 today

Tue, 27 Sep 2005 15:16:28 -0400

(image) Today my son Tanmay is 3 years old. He and wife are with my parents and I wish I could hug him and wish him a very happy birthday.

Hearty wishes son for a long, healthy and happy life. We love you very much!


Google introduces Blog search

Wed, 14 Sep 2005 05:27:08 -0400

We should have seen this coming after Technorati brought in their Blog Search feature. Now Google has "Blog Search" tool for the blogs, without the pain of tagging your blog. As always, you can notice the detail to which they go. The "search options" lets you search a particular blog (or multiple blogs), even a blog post using its permalink or within a date range. The Advanced search option gives you whatever you can ask for; search for posts in a particular language, by an author, safe search and so on.

Brilliant work, that would certainly delight the users around the world! Update: I learnt that the search works of all blogs that have a feed and not just blogs.

Better than Google?

Fri, 9 Sep 2005 02:14:18 -0400

Now this may not be too geeky but Google Total gives you what it promises, all Google services at one place, sort of wrapper for the real Google if you will. No need to click on various tabs, all Google goodies are available in the drop-down list. Probably, Pune based Anil hated toolbars as much as I do. Interesting thing is: the site is hosted at May this survive the wrath of the behemoth!

Technorati's Blog Finder

Fri, 2 Sep 2005 04:57:43 -0400

Technorati has come up with another good service called Blog Finder that can let you search for blogs as per categories or subjects, as tagged by the blog-owners. IMHO the tagging part should have been a moderated affair, current system will have all the drawbacks of tagging. This could do well for blogs that do not have categories, like the Blogger blogs. As of now Technorati (and I know this using their BlogPostTag API) used to regard the categories in blog systems such as Wordpress as default tags. Now I am not influenced by the bashing Technorati has been getting lately, but frankly, I would still prefer Google to search for blogs on a subject. [Source]

Hindi in that Cloud

Tue, 30 Aug 2005 06:10:42 -0400

In my previous post I had discussed that Tagcloud was unable to generate the Tagcloud for Hindi blogdom since the Yahoo term extraction API doesn't recognize non-English characters yet. I then decided on implementing it myself. This is how I do it:

  1. Parse the Hindi blog group RSS Feed
  2. Get the Words ignoring the very commonly used ones
  3. Insert the data (word and frequency of occurrence) in database

The data from database is available as XML and as this JSP (see the frame below for a glimpse). If you want to see the page in action, look out for the "Kya bolte hum?" section at Chittha Vishwa.

align="right" style="border:0px:align:right" border="0" width="300px" height="200px" src="">Sad part is, the solution only considers words and is not intelligent enough to decipher phrases. Perhaps this is why I was happy to notice that Technorati now provides a Blog Post Tags service where the query returns the most frequently used tags in a blog. However, for some strange reasons the query never works out for me, I tried the same for this blog as well several other Hindi blogs but the XML returned is always empty. First, I thought it only works for Wordpress blogs or blogs that use Technorati Tags, however for some blogs like this one it works. A missive to Technorati did not fetch any reply; their blog post OTOH indicates that the service is "available only on request". I hope they read this post and tell me what is happening. If thier solution works, my tagcloud could perhaps be generated more efficiently.

TagCloud, if it could work with Hindi

Sat, 6 Aug 2005 08:31:40 -0400

Tagcloud seems interesting; tells you the crux of the conversations in blogdom pretty much like Technorati tags. There are 80+ Hindi blogs now and I thought why not sport one such cloud for these blogs at Chittha Vishwa, alas the effort failed. The onus fell on the Yahoo Term Extraction API that as of now only recognizes English words. The speed with which terms are extracted from even large amount of text, I tested it here. Try entering some Hindi text and as you may see it is unable to recognize the terms. The thing I like is the simplicity of REST. BTW, do have a look at the Tagcloud from my Hindi as well as this blog (atleast it will get the English words from my Hindi blog) on the left sidebar.

While I intended to do it for pure fun, as did Desipundit, people are scepticle about the usefulness of these tags. While Tagcloud ranks these tags to prepare the cloud, Simon used it to extract terms for "automated tagging", though the results are not guaranteed to be relevent.

Hindi blogs showcased on DesiPundit

Wed, 27 Jul 2005 01:33:27 -0400

Patrix, who wanted the group blog DesiPundit to have some desi flavor true to its name, was kind enough to invite me to be a co-blogger. I was keen on Anup doing it as he reads more Hindi blogs than I do and manages Chittha Charcha a monthly round up on the major happenings in Indian blogdom. He was reluctant but assured me his support. That prompted me to join the wagon. With blogging on my blogs in a dismal shape, I hope I would be able to bring forth the best of Hindi blogosphere through DesiPundit.

Cheese on the Moon

Wed, 20 Jul 2005 09:42:44 -0400

I really envy these guys having fun at work. Based on the Google Maps they have a funsite called Google Moon featuring the NASA pictures of Man's 1969 landing on the Moon. As for the "cheese" in the title of this post, look closer :)

Copy I will

Tue, 19 Jul 2005 13:36:47 -0400

Almost a year back, I had reached this site of one Dhiraj Rathi from the referrer logs to my home page at geocities. Now, my homepage is not a work of art, yet it is one of my original works. So it was natural to get startled by Dhiraj''s site, as it was a copy of my website, from the menu, to the layout, to the site theme. Offended, I wrote to Dhiraj, and he was quick to reply, which went like:

Hi, I fully appreciate what you feel like. I am extremely sorry for that. The site was not designed by me and was done by one of the summer trainee working for me. I had some simple HTML pages for my website which I have hosted few years back under my domain name when it use to be free by free domains. I will immediately ask him to remove the site at Lycos. In fact Lycos was just the testing site, the final site is hosted on geocities. I am not offering any excuse for the mistake I have been a part of. Currently I am in Colombo for 10 days on a business trip, should I request you to please give me some time so that I can also change my site at geocities, which is also I assume is based on your site.
Apologies once again, awaiting your kind reply.
I don't know whether the LTTE took him since, as hostage or something, I see his mail today while doing a routine clean-up of my Gmail inbox and just out of curiosity click the link and lo, the site is still there, with no hints of correction. Funny part is, some of the links (for example, the link to "My Writings") still point to my web page. I guess, the words guilt and repentance are not in the dictionary of this guy, who apparently has a blog too. The "owner of 3 houses" still has to resort to stealing when it comes to expressing, shame on you Rathi!

Nirantar July issue

Tue, 5 Jul 2005 03:08:11 -0400

The July issue of Nirantar is on the browsers now. Details are at Raman's blog post. Here are the highlights of the issue:

All this with all the regular features. Do have a dekko.

Going Sudoku!

Tue, 28 Jun 2005 04:31:39 -0400

They say Newspapers are the reflection of the society and I tend to agree. Last few years have seen the altered focus in news presentation in Print and electronic media, favoring crisper and quicker coverage rather than detailed next day coverage. Whilst we may have anticipated that the print media would focus more on news analysis and let the electronic media cater to the ?breaking news? segment, trendsetters like the Times of India have instead focused on vellicating news and gossiping.

However, the media is not to blame entirely; they are reacting to the changes taking around us. People are busy, spend lot of time on commuting and would like something brief to digest that?s not too noetic. One of the facets of changing content is the good old crossword. People already hated it when newspapers switched to Cryptic crosswords with irritatingly obvious answers. Now the newspapers are on to easier formats like the Sudoku which has gained much popularity this year. Sudoku has Japanese origin and is a placement puzzle and seems easier because you are not expected to be a logical wizard to solve it, what you need in abundance is patience. TOI and many other newspapers have started featuring Sudoku puzzles along with other similar puzzles. They are surely addictive and are gaining popularity probably because newspapers do not go for difficult ones and people can solve it in their spare time. Changing times!

Nirantar's May Issue

Mon, 27 Jun 2005 06:40:09 -0400

The May issue of Hindi blogzine Nirantar is now on the browsers. In this issue you may read:

  • "Kya aap tagging karte hain?" an interesting overview of the newly emerging "tag folksonomy", post Technorati tags. If you have never tag-ged before this is the article to read.
  • Nitin Pai awaits arrival of another Mahatma, this time for an economic liberty.
  • Interview of Sahitya academy award winner author Giriraj Kishor where he talks about IIT Kanpur, Gandhiji and litertaure.
  • Purnima Burman reminisces the journey of online literary magazines "Anubhuti" and "Abhivyakti".
  • Ravi reviews Kamleshwar's translation of "The Alchemist".
  • Anup Shukla's Chittha Charcha joins the zine with monthly roundup of Indiblogdom.
  • All regular columns including the Samsya Purti competition where you can win Rebecca Blood's book "The weblog handbook", Chug's link blog, news round-up, IndiBlog stats, Memoirs, Satires, Poems, Best Post of the month, Quotable Quotes, Puchhiye Fursatiya se, Photo feature showcasing Deepak Gulati and renowned photographer Devendra Sharma.

We are planning new things in the zine, including theme-based issue. The next issue of Nirantar would be a "Wordpress Special" with interview, anecdotes, and articles. The July issue would be a "Water special". We welcome your participation and suggestions.

Claiming blog at Technorati

Wed, 15 Jun 2005 13:38:32 -0400

Technorati Profile

Anti Coke campaign gathers momentum

Thu, 9 Jun 2005 07:50:24 -0400

We hear haughty talks of decentralization and "power to the people" through the Panchayati Raj but it seems that the MNCs and even the Indian courts think otherwise. I had referred to a High Court order that allowed Coke to resume production at its Plachimada, Kerala plant despite of the village council objections. It is ludicrous that in a decision that affects the community its members have no say. The people at Plachimada have seen severe water shortages after Coke began its operations there. Another cause of concern is that the remaining groundwater as well as soil has been polluted because of their bottling operations. It is also alleged that Coke was also dumping its solid waste as fertilizer to the farmers. These have been found to contain high levels of lead and cadmium. Coke has several other such plants in Uttar Pradesh as well. Coca-Cola products have been under criticism when they were found to contain extremely high levels of pesticides by the Delhi based institution, Center for Science and Environment.

It is encouraging to note that the Plachimada community is undeterred after the recent court ruling that undermines their 3-year struggle. They are now contemplating to make an appeal to Supreme Court. If you wish to support their campaign, you may register it online, here.

Coke: Bench shopping judgment

Mon, 6 Jun 2005 01:07:36 -0400

JK is happy with the recent High court ruling that allows Coke to resume production at its Perumatty plant in Kerala even if it does not get a license. There is always the "other side" to the story. Unfortunately, commie bashing has become such a fashion that we offer our prejudiced view even before we appreciate the repercussions. Now here is a story that presents the "other side" of the coin (Disclaimer: I am just a regular subscriber to this site?s press releases).

To me this is another shameless instance of MNCs openly arm-twisting local interests using the crutches of law. Imagine someone digging a bore well in your backyard, dumping the waste in your area, draining your own water resources and then selling you their bottled products to you. People have been crying foul on these biggies polluting the groundwater resources and soil since years. When V.R. Krishna Iyer, a former Supreme Court judge accuses Coke of 'bench shopping' a favorable judgment, it is not as simple as it seems.

Nirantar June issue is "Wordpress Special"

Sat, 4 Jun 2005 13:40:24 -0400

The June issue of Nirantar is on the browsers now. This has ushered in theme-based issues for Nirantar, the issue being a "Wordpress special". The meteoric rise in the popularity of this open-source blogging tool led us to go for a special issue that focuses on its journey so far and ample advices for the Wordpress newbie. Pankaj has done a very good job compiling this issue. Pankaj, a Wordpress power user himself, has also spearheaded the Hindi localization of the tool. Nirantar "Wordpress special" issue features: An interesting interview with Matt Mullenweg, lead developer of Wordpress, where he talks about the WP community, his involvement in it and his life; must say that the 20 something guy is really ripe for his age. Interestingly he said that had he not been working on Wordpress he would not have been in IT at all, not very hard to believe if you consider his passion for jazz and photography. Khaled, the creator of popular Wordpress theme "Manji", talks about his experience at the community. Mark Ghosh and Karthik Sharma, two prominent community members at Wordpress chat on how Wordpress changed their online zindagi. Raman Kaul has an interesting tutorial series for Wordpress wannabees to help them get going. This issue also includes an extended news section, apart from the regular blog buzz for the month that went by, you may also read Patrix's reportage on the Blog Nashville event. And do not miss all the regular columns at Nirantar, there is something for everybody there; literature, book review, jokes, photo-feature, blog quotes, Chug's links and a poetry competition where you can win a book. If you are amused by statistics and trivia, there is the revamped "Abo-hawa" section that's on the verge of becoming the wizden of the Indiblogdom. Ok. Ok, I was exaggerating, but it's not bad either. Anup has the bird's eye view of the Indiblogosphere with his Chittha Charcha that takes a glance over interesting posts all around (and no, we are not short sighted to concentrate on Hindi blogs alone). All in all, an interesting read I suppose. Do let me know your thoughts. If you wish to write for the zine do drop me a mail. We have interesting stuff lined up for Nirantar. In August we would have a "Water-special" issue that is expected to create some buzz. What's more, you too can be a part of this special issue, just watch out for a special announcement at Nirantar. Happy reading![...]

Free Sun Certified Java Associate exam

Wed, 1 Jun 2005 06:03:36 -0400

Just heard about this new Sun certification exam. The beta version of the exam, with a whopping 122 questions to be answered in 3 hours, is being offered free from June 20 for a month.

I am not sure why Sun went for this, an exam for entry level programmers and IT managers with just 6 months experience can take it (Javaranch has ample tales of people, with no real-life exposure to Java, even clear SCWCD). I just hope they do not make this new exam a prerequisite for SCWCD and other exams, which currently demand a minimum of SCJP.

Those things

Thu, 19 May 2005 01:12:19 -0400

Chugs makes this restrained comment on Bollywood actress Mallika's much hyped wardrobe at Cannes.

Not only are "those things" fake, she has managed to push them up to her nose! Whom is she trying to fool? We all know gravity exists on Earth.

Very apt Chugs! IMHO, Mallika actually succeeded at what Simi Garewal and Rekha tried one time and failed at. The best part is, she does not want to show herself off as "beauty with brains". For the men beauty generally exists much below where the brain is situated. The lady knows the power of oomph, you may have it (if size matters, Huma Khan probably had a better pair) but it needs guts to flaunt it. However, I still think the much talked about wardrobe was "too much skin", what many agree to. I would have liked her to reveal a little and flaunt her confidence more, a thing she possesses in plenty.

Mushu Mushu haasi

Sun, 24 Apr 2005 10:30:50 -0400

"Mushu Mushu haasi deo" must be the song on the lips of the Indian diplomats who were all gaga over the recent paltry visit of the Pakistani Dictator. I think if it achieved something, it was the dilution of the tough stance against cross-border terrorism, the existence of which was gradually being acknowledged publicly by Pakistan and the rest of the World (read USA) post 9/11. In effect, the erstwhile BJP government was perhaps better off dealing.

Analysts such as Dileep Padgaonkar say that Musharaff has progressed from an "obdurate soldier" at Agra Summit to an "astute politician" of today, with a vision. We hope this is true. Nobody can deny his efforts at projecting Pakistan as a moderate forward-looking nation (whether he is actually working towards that, Khuda only knows).

More than anything, I was taken aback by the unwarranted hype. The prior visit of Chinese Premier, probably more significant, attracted no buzz. First, there is no comparing the current visit with the Agra one. This one was no summit! There was nothing that could have emerged. With no diplomatic homework being done at all, this was just not the right occasion. It was no wonder that both the sides were so flexible. Watching the press briefings even a layman could have seen that the outcome was cipher. "We achieved much more that I expected", said the General with a dim face. As if he had come here with the belief that Kashmir will be handed over to him in a platter.

The only positive steps taken IMHO are the efforts on restoring the two Ts, trade and travel, between the nations. The best way to coerce a misbehaved child is either thrashing or making him busy and happy. The former has not worked, so we must try the latter. Though, it?s difficult to view such steps without wariness; we have been brought up to hate Pakistan. Atanu worries that projects such as the Indo-Iranian pipeline would only let Pakistan arm-twist us later, I don?t fully subscribe to this. An economically progressive and politically stable Pakistan certainly means less trouble for us.

Swaminathan Aiyar has no faith in the summits and the bus-diplomacy either, which he says, "creates an illusion that Pakistan is a key player in the issue". He raises another valid question on the way Kashmir problem was dealt with right from the beginning ("it was New Delhi and not Islamabad that created the problem"). He cites the example of Punjab Terrorism that was successfully tackled by the local Police rather than the Army, the latter he rightfully says, "is simply not suited to tackle civil militancy". Hello! Is anybody listening?

World's first Hindi blogzine

Mon, 18 Apr 2005 05:36:33 -0400

I feel elated in presenting Nirantar, World's first Hindi blogzine. It has been the result of untiring efforts of so many Hindi bloggers, and prominently that of Pankaj Narula, Jitendra Chaudhary, Anup Shukla, Ravishankar Shrivastava, Atul Arora and Raman Kaul but I must say that the fire kindled in the Hindi blogging community for strengthening it provided the much needed shot in the arm. I must place on records my special appreciation for Pankaj, who very patiently handled the Drupal and Civic Space installations and hacks and hosted the zine on his website. The motivation behind the zine is manifold: consolidating the creative talent of Hindi blogdom under one hood; perhaps convincing others to take up blogging in Hindi (Isn?t it strange that a language spoken by 400 million people and understood by far greater number of people has only 40 odd persons blogging in the language?); showcase the language blogging scenario in general and Hindi blogging in particular and above all providing a wholesome read on a plethora of topics concerning our nation and Indian blogging apart from other for the outside world. In the inaugural issue of Nirantar, you may read; Best Indiblog winner Atanu Dey's Interview with Nitin Pai Book Excerpt in Hindi  from Rebecca Blood's book "The Weblog Handbook". I must thank her, not only to allow us publish this excerpt, but also to convince her publishers to donate Nirantar 4 copies of her book which we would award at forthcoming competitions at Nirantar. Dina Mehta's analytical take on the Indiblogging scenario, which also happens to be the Cover story. A tutorial on using Firefox Apart from this there is whole lot of other stuff slated to become regular columns in the zine Photo feature, a competition, Jokes, Blogger profiles, Poll, Links to interesting stories, News roundup, Poems and Short stories, Quotable quotes, Best Posts handpicked by the editors. You are just a click away from this, and a lot more stuff. If you love Hindi, you sure gonna fall in love with Nirantar! I look forward to your suggestions and criticism :) Update: Another first 'feather' gets added to Hindi blogging's cap, the World's first Hindi Blog Radio "Blognaad" launched by Jitendra. Tags: nirantar, ??????[...]

Hindi blogzine : The time has come

Mon, 18 Apr 2005 05:35:31 -0400

It seems the Hindi blogdom will soon realize its dream of creating a Hindi blogzine, "Nirantar". The monthly blogzine on the anvil has the mission to chronicle the blogdom in general with an emphasis on the Indian language blogging scenario. However, the magazine, hopefully, would not be confined to topics related to blogging alone.

We are currently soliciting material for the inaugural issue of 'Nirantar', I look forward to contributions from all. Do not bother if your material is not in Hindi; as long as someone among us can comprehend the language, we will handle the translation work. Click here to know the kind of publication material we are looking for. Contributions and suggestions for the blogzine may be sent to patrikaa at gmail dot com. A prototype of the zine is available here.

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Nirantar April issue, on the browsers

Mon, 18 Apr 2005 05:34:43 -0400

The April issue of Nirantar was released on April 3, 2005. In this issue you may read:

  • Mark Glaser's commentary on the recent Mediaah Blog TOI tussle
  • An interview with Hemant Sharma, the lesser known author of the popular Hindi Unicode editor Tahkti
  • Second part of the interesting series on using Firefox discusses ?Live Bookmarks?
  • Book excerpt in Hindi from Biz Stones's popular book ?Who let the blogs out?
  • An interesting collection of anecdotes, poems, book Review and satire.Cartoonist Rajneesh Kapoor joins the wagon with his exclusive comic strip ?Ye jo hai zindagi? plus the adventures of Sukkhi in ?Sukhi jaisa koi nahi?.
  • All regular columns including Chittha Zordar (collection of outstanding posts from the Indian blogosphere), Quotes, Blogosphere news, Chug's Links and whole lotta more stuff.

If you want to contribute to Nirantar (as long as we can understand the language we can convert it to Hindi), do drop a mail at patrikaa at gmail dot com.

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Stay away!

Thu, 7 Apr 2005 03:50:00 -0400

The maverick dictator plans to vist India with the characteristic razzmatazz. The author of Kargil who wants the world to believe that he is a visionary and a worthy contender for the Nobel Peace prize. Null Pointer joins the blogdom in condemning his proposed India visit on the behest of cricket diplomacy.


Here now, gone tomorrow?

Tue, 29 Mar 2005 05:32:30 -0500

Atleast this is what Google groups (beta) opines. Once you make a post, the resulting page makes you unsure whether the post will make it to the archives. Or am I sounding too British ;)


The advent of media rich blogs

Fri, 18 Mar 2005 03:03:36 -0500

From their individualistic approach blogs have already emerged as a potent combined force with group blogs and the communities woven around them. Now some thought is being given perhaps to projecting it as your personal space that you would like to share with others, what they term as "social networking". Audio, Photo and Mo-blogging had occupied a niche space. I am noticing a deliberate discussion on advent of media rich blogs like Bubbler.

I was recently startled to see my geocities sites shrunken to almost 70% of their existence with the hitherto popup Yahoo adverstiments proudly proclaiming the rest of the space. No, there is no X button around to close them. It gave an indication about Yahoo's lost interest in the static pages containing family pictures and recipes. Yahoo 360 degrees proves this apprehension. With Yahoo foraying into the blogging scene, I am unable to comprehend which way it is heading on to. Like Bubbler here too the USP is usage of all kinds of media and sharing them with friends, family and acquaintance. Blogger's individual space is going to be stalked soon.

Update: I think I overlooked that Yahoo does provide the option to shrink, if not close, the advertisement panes at geocities.

Tremors in life

Mon, 14 Mar 2005 05:53:54 -0500

20 minutes back, my chair at the 5th floor of my office building was shaking, I realized it was a tremor when some of my colleagues started rushing towards the exit. The water bottle on my table was still trembling when we left. News says Maharashtra had felt it. 10 minutes later the building was evacuated and we came back just now. At home my wife didn't feel it.

Mushy's web sight

Mon, 14 Mar 2005 05:48:18 -0500

It has the razzmatazz, the chutzpah, sans anything you would expect on the website of a President. I am talking about the glitzy website of President Musharraf. For an armywallah, that he is at heart, it's difficult to give up the true colors, the paki belligerence towards India is there, savor this:

There was the much trumpeted bus journey of Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee to Pakistan in 1998 and my supposed refusal as the Army Chief to meet or shake hands with him. Then came the Kargil Operation with all its reality and distortions. It proved a lesson to the Indians and a rude awakening to the world of the reality of Kashmir. Heightened temperatures were tried to be cooled by me through my famous handshake with PM Vajpayee at the Katmandu SAARC Summit. The Agra summit saw a great breakthrough but ended up in a disappointing failure under the negative influence of some radical Indian Government functionaries in particular Mr. Advani. Later accusing Pakistan of involvement in an unfortunate terrorist attack on Indian Parliament, India decided to mobilize and amass its entire Army and Air Force on Pakistan's borders in a mass show of strength to coerce Pakistan. We moved forward our forces also and stood our ground firmly. I made sure that clear indications were sent across that any misadventure by India would be replied with resolute force by Pakistan.

Blog strolling - 2

Sat, 5 Mar 2005 04:25:50 -0500

  • Java's friendly mascot Duke has got a blog too.
  • Indic threads has a 3 part skinny on J2SE 5.0
  • Bus Service to Pakistan. Oh no not again! I am sick and tired of these gimmicks.
  • "some countries" sweet Patil saheb! India ki diplomacy da jawab nahin!

Scratching the wounds

Sat, 5 Mar 2005 04:21:23 -0500

Visibly annoyed with its aging dinosaurs and amidst the aspiration scuffles taking its toll in the party, BJP's old turk Govind Govindacharya is scratching the wounds again. The Babri mosque demolition was the "failure of the saffron gauge the mood of the karsevaks...a glaring example of contradiction between cadre-based and mass-based politics", says the expat.

An occupying contradiction is entailed in Maloy Krishna Dhar's book. Maloy, a former IB Joint Director, does not agree that the incident was a spontaneous misadventure of the mob. He maintains that it was engineered months in advance by top leaders of RSS, BJP and VHP, a choreographed pralaya nritya with the vandalism handled by the Shiv Sena while Sangh leaders added fuel with their "irresponsible rhetoric". Another occupying observation made by the author is about the late Prime Minister P.V.Narsimha Rao's piteous handling of the issue, who, according to the author, "had regained some jest for life and had started dreaming of short-circuiting the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty."

It's early days!

Sat, 5 Mar 2005 04:20:02 -0500

It is difficult not to raise voice against this seemingly undemocratic move, the recent return of monarchy in Nepal, yet if King Gyanendra's motive of curbing the Maoist showdown holds any truth, I would invest my support for such a move. When the elected representatives are capable to do little, it is futile to justify a weak democratic setup. What scares me is thatsmall nations like Nepal could be completely engulfed with such insurgency in no time. In our own country, we have seen frail political will almost ruin the state of Kashmir.

Interestingly, many analysts interpret this as a clever move of the Himalayan nation to put India and China in a tug of war, for example analystRaja Mohan says,

Gyanendra has also sought to play the China card. After all no one can ignore the reality that Nepal is the geopolitical fulcrum of the Himalayas. Being the bridge between China's Tibet and India's Gangetic plains, Nepal has often sought to play India and China against each other.

Indeed it is difficult to rule outKing Gyanendra doing a MusharaffI still believe that it's early days to predict Nepal's future. As long as the monarch promises basic civic rights and stays on his agenda, I see no problem in the nation retreating to a democratic regime in a year's time, hopefully the Maoist nuisance that was wrecking the country would be gone by then.

So u got a good memory, huh?

Sat, 5 Mar 2005 04:17:32 -0500

Very few organisations would go out of the way to provide additional facilities to their customers. Obviously Paypal is one such organisation. It gives you the facility to, guess what, forget your password. So if you were too proud of having an elephant's memory, accept the challenge ;)