Thursday, November 27, 2008

Murder and Meyhem in Mumbai

Over 80 people dead. Hotels and hospitals attacked. 4 Top cops killed. Army called in. Guests held hostage. Tourists in panic. Its complete chaos all around.

Murder and Meyhem in Mumbai. Terror has struck like never before.

As I write this, I watch on TV - almost every news channel is covering this live - a fire growing atop the heritage building of Taj Hotel. I see the smoke engulfing Hotel's dome. I hear gun fire as the army is storming into a Hotel. I see the TV news reporters cover their head and ears between their hurried words into cameras.

And if watching all this on TV is scary. I wonder how the people there must be feeling. Particularly those families of the dead, those people held hostage, those policemen crouching outside hotels, those doctors looking at the injured, and those pamedics lifting the corpses.

Oh.... the ugly face of terror! Where is it taking us all?

Why O why do these shameless cowards attack the innocent??

Why O why do these misguided fanatics create such havoc?

Why O why do these tactless terroritsts trauamatise the commoners?

Whatever their cause is, whetever they are fighting for, does it merit this horrible blood shed? Does this massacre solve their problems?

Why don't they realize that it is in no way going to further their cause.

I strongly feel that 'they will be brought to justice' is a too soft a phrase. Its just a worn-out platitute and cliche.

These horrible mudereres should be not just quickly caught, but they should also be so.... so very...severely punished that no one should ever dream of doing this again.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Copyright or Copying Rights?

Did you know that over 6 hours of video is being uploaded onto YouTube, every minute??

That is why I wasn't surprised when I read that this enormous uploading of videos - throwing copyright law to winds - has now resulted in an interesting development - Video Identification Tool.

The content owners can now use a video identification tool that will act like the video fingerprint embedded into the video. If anyone else uploads a similar video, the tool identifies a match. If a match is found, the copyright holders' policy preferences are applied to that video (Rights owners, apparently, can choose to block, track or monetize their content).

How cool can you get??? eh?

Now that Google owns You Tube things would be good I think. Some would remember that last March, Viacom, owner of Hollywood studios Paramount and DreamWorks, launched a $1bn lawsuit against YouTube for copyright infringement.

Oh btw, among those who contributed to this development are Time Warner and Disney!


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Oh! This Online Culture!!

"If you haven't been bookmarked, retweeted and blogged,
You might as well not have existed" - Ben Walker

To all of us, online junkies, here's a bit of philosophy. I've come across this defining song on youtube, by Ben Walker ...(lyrics are pasted below the video)


You're no one if you're not on Twitter
And if you aren't there already you've missed it
If you haven't been bookmarked, retweeted and blogged
You might as well not have existed

In the old days it was all about achievements
Collecting all your trophies in a shrine
Then everybody came across the internet
And suddenly you had to be online

A home page was all you really needed
To seem like a success but not a geek
As long as you updated semi-annually
And checked your email once or twice a week

You're no one if you're not on Twitter...

Technology was moving rather quickly
And the next thing you needed was a blog
With intimate and detailed press releases
And now and then a photo of your dog

More recently the students brought us Facebook
And everybody has a hundred friends
The parties in the photos look amazing
They're not so great but everyone pretends

You're no one if you're not on Twitter...

Now you need to publish every movement
And every single thought to cross your mind
I'm told the Twitterverse is full of rubbish
But most of us are actually quite refined

We validate each other's insecurities
And brag about the gadgets that we've bought
We laugh out loud at every hint of jolliness
And try to self-promote without being caught

You're no one if you're not on Twitter...


Michael Jackson & Bahrain's Sheikh

I feel its an amusing turn of events.

Sheikh Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa Vs Michael Jackson would be an interesting case for the London High Court to handle.

The Sheikh says he gave MJ a full 7 million dollar amount as an advance - for an album and an autobiography that MJ never produced.

And MJ says that he thought it was a gift!! ( Ofcourse MJ used a part of the 'gift' amount to pay of his Neverland Ranch's Bills).

Now its the turn of lawyers on both sides to twist the facts (or fiction) to their advantage.

Knowing how one feels about the slick US lawyers, who knows what they will come out with to defend the great MJ?

And Knowing...sorry, not knowing... how one feels if they lose 7 Million dollars, who knows what our Shiekh's lawyers would do?

Whatever the case may be, or however the case might turn out to be, I know that, ultimately, it will be the lawyers who will be laughing all the way to the bank :)

I'm sure, our Shiekh, the now once-bitten amateur song-writer, will make MJ sing a different tune soon.

Check out this news on,
BBC website : MJ too sick to travel to witness in case
CNN website : Sick Jackson may not attend trial
USA Today : Arab Shiekh sues Michael Jackson
GDN (Gulf Daily News) site : Jackson betrays firm


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Zain's zain?

I had experienced a slight problem with Internet Connection to Zain, the ISP that I subscribe to. And I soon put forward my observation in a slightly round-about way.

But here's the nice way they responded. I am sure you will say 'zain'!

(Some of my non-arab friends might know that 'Zain' is also another word for 'good')

Click here on this link and read for yourself :-)

Just thought of sharing - as a good example of customer service/PR response by the company - eventhough it happened a couple of months ago.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

McCain? Obama? Who?

Who will become the most powerful man on earth? In less than 24 hours, the world will know.

Over the last two years, we have certainly seen one man battle it out - first with Hillary Clinton and then with John McCain. First, in order to become the Presidential candidate of the Democrats. Then, in order to, hopefully, become the President of the great United States - regarded without a doubt as the most powerful country in the world.

We don't know whether he will indeed become the President or not. But what we know is that the neck-to-neck race to the white house has become very very exciting in the last few days. Obama's aunt's illegal status, Sarah Palin's foot-in-the-mouth lines, John McCain's poor republican jokes and joseph Biden's faux pas.

Now, the death of the Obama's grandmother could give him a small sympathy wave of votes too. But the fierce speeches of John McCain in an incredible seven-state tour in just a day, could buy him more votes too.

So, Obama? or McCain? A Democrat or a Republican? Who? Who will become the most powerful man in the world? (Ok Ok.. those thinking I should be talking about the UN Secretary General or about the Pope can relax and bear with me).

I feel it will be Barak Obama.

My reasons?

  1. Most of America is tired of the George W. Bush, the Republican, they see. And they want a 'Change'. Which Obama strategically kept hitting at the masses as 'Change we need' (ofcourse its another matter that very few US Presidents faced the crisis situations Bush faced - a horrifying 9/11, a few disastrous Hurricanes and an earth-shocking Financial Crisis, even if we hastily conclude that war on terror in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the nuclear threats from North Korea and Iran are his own doings, which are not entirely his.)
  2. Obama's campaign, I think, has succesfully tied up John McCain to Bush and his unwelcome policies. (So much so that John McCain had to keep saying 'I am not Bush', and had to keep reiterating that he and Obama do not agree with the Bush-policies).
  3. McCain is unable to get out of the Bush shadow..that is horribly large and unfortunately hated-a-lot in the US and outside.
  4. The choice of Sarah Palin has been unwise (Choosing the Governor of Alaska aganist several worthy candidates from other 49 states has not gone well with Americans... even if she is a beauty...and yes...even if she is one with the brains (but her brains have spawned thousands of jokes on youtube or elsewhere, making McCain seem like a victim of bad decisions).
  5. There would be a massive black turn out at voting (even if they did not hitherto cast even a single vote over decades of US Presidential elections. Which black wouldn't want a black President??).
  6. Despite John McCain's wonderful experience and excellent oratorial skills, I feel that Obama has the charisma that two other former democrat presidents, Keneddy and Clinton had.

Well, I am an Indian. I may not know much about US politics. But this is my take on the world's greatest event going on.


Monday, November 03, 2008

Ode to Meeting 2204

At our Toastmasters Club this Saturday(1-Nov), the theme was on poetry and it was an exciting and refreshing difference.

The entire programme - business session, educational session, joke session and evaluation – was peppered with the sharing of short poems and couplets by different members. It was good fun. And drawing some inspiration, I composed the following lines at the end of the meeting. Then, I refined them after coming home, and mailed it to all, and they were all glad.

Ok… Ok…. You will think I am just showing off.

But you know what?....… Yes. I really am showing off. :-D


Ode to Meeting No. 2204

After some Ballads of Business
Sprinkled with marriage announcements
Emcee Madhavi – a passionate poetess
With her poem-filled pronouncements

Next, for all folks, were
Gopan jokes,
Of diapers of kids, and photos of wives
Of men who knew too much like oaks
And all of those cops after our lives

Then came the words of d'anger and damage
Spoken by our own – cool and calm –
If anger you fail to quickly manage
You’ll have no friends. – They will say , “See ya”.

Later for all of us, O ladies and gents
Osama on 'body', and its intelligence
He observes with care – maids and labourers
And doesn’t even spare, men in wheel chairs

After some pastries and some black tea
Abdulrahman, the engagement sign-er
He became all bullish, ‘on global bankruptcy’
And made many a master, a share-market whiner

Then from the hills, came Nepalese
With serious and sombre, General ‘Evalesh’
(Evalesh? (I know!) Its a new word I made up
Inspired and enthused, by our emcee’s work-up)

Yes, folks. Today’s Ballads of Business
And those Epics of Education
Along with lots of Rhymes of Recess
Made it more than mere couplets, in conclusion.