Saturday, December 31, 2005

Lord of the Ringing

Yup, this new year's eve is going to be spent in the usual amazing way. Sitting at home, watching TV and chatting away to glory.
Btw, I'm not being sarcastic.

Amit's post on the issue quite conveys my feelings.

Cya, next year.


Got dragged into one of those parties in Mumbai. Welcomed Mr.2006 with smoke, loud noise and lots of filth lying around later. The chocolate cake at the end seemed to be the only good part. Looks like I've found another item for my crusade campaign.


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Beware, I have a Sprachgefuhl !

AWAD can sometimes spring up gems like this one.

(PS : Internet presence may be severely affected in the following days due to a number of reasons including a peculiar position of the planets and a slight twitch in my left hallux.)

Sunday, December 18, 2005


Dear Mr. Friedman,

My name is ____________, and I am a second year engineering student in Pune,India at a government technology school. While discussing the 'flatteners' in your latest book you seem to have ommited a major sub-reason for the rapid disemmination of information and powering, of the Indian masses in particular and the Indo-China in general. That is 'illegal information purchasing capability' in the form of PIRACY.

As you have rightly pointed out, the internet (unlike telecommunications) is highly language specific (only english speakers are sufficiently empowered) and such capabilites in regional(indian) languages also depend majorly on literacy. In a country with about 60% literacy (pls verify) this is too less, add to this the figures for English literacy and internet penetration, the percentage that seem to be driving this flattening,from India, is small, but nevertheless significant.

However, you must realize that almost all of the 'zippie' generation can hardly afford to even dream of purchasing original software and indeed other intellectual content that is powering this knowledge drive. The whole zippie generation runs on pirated software, right from their copies of the latest Windows xp and Office to movies, music and even niché products at home use like Photoshop and Macromedia Flash.

The government crackdown on this phenomenon is incredibly minimal and mostly related to office spaces. However, the INDIVIDUALS that are powering today's flattening in the third world do so on mostly pirated stuff, and you will be astonished at the extent of this problem. The risks of getting caught are vitually minimal for a young teenager installing unauthorised copies of Windows, and so even those who can afford to pay, don't. Though companies (esp. large ones) rarely risk reputations, the small, young home user has hardly anything to lose when using a piece of pirated software.

Therefore content, made not by open source platforms but by corporations , (which Bill Gates claims to be better), is ALSO FREE. Therefore due to a laxity in the implementation of these laws, the third world has the added advantage of listening to the latest American popstars, tuning into Harry Potter 4 as soon as it is released, at home, and buying extremely cheap, pirated books off the roadsides, is incredibly simple. The First world simply cannot even realize how easy, and how cheap it is, for me in a India to get a pirated copy of 'The World is Flat' for a measly Rs. 150 compared to an enormous Rs.710 in licensed bookstores. [The normal teens monthly spending would be around Rs. 1000 - 1500 and he can't afford to blow half of it on this book]

Therefore this free information that Indians have access to, is a major driving factor in accelerating the pace of the-catch-up process. And this problem is spread out in esp. the South-East-Asian markets and also probably China. (that is for you to investigate!) The 'empowered' zippie that you make out to be, is reading stuff on the net off a pirated copy of windows (obtained from his local dealer), wearing fake Nike boots and a fake Manchester United jersey (though manufacturing piracy is less prevalent in India and more in SE-Asia) listening to an amazing playlist right from Bob Dylan's country grooves to the latest Bollywood number.

The issue is not the 'morality' or 'outrageousness' of the observation - but simply the fact that this is a major factor in giving third world countries an edge over the first world. Thus in this case, a law and order breakdown has actually benefited the intellectual revolution. Or has it ?

Thank you,
Yours Truly,

PS : If someone really knows TLF's email ID, please tell me about it.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

A few pointers

Morales' Bolivia ? The Economist finds out.

Keane goes to Celtic, and Peter Crouch scores, twice.

And Kapeesh writes eloquently about ..., well, find out for yourself, here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

England's Road to WC Glory.

Step One :

Play Trinidad AND Tobago,(not win) draw with Sweden and finish second in group

Step Two: (PreQ)

Beat Germany 5-1.

Step Three: (Quarters)

Beat Argentina 1-0

Step Four:(Semis)

France. Concede penalty which Pires promptly misses and Gary Neville scores much to his own suprise. Win.

Step Five: (Finals)

Meet Brazil. Half time 2-0. Paul Gascoigne appears, wearing plastic breasts and cocktail stains on his shirt and urges the lads to do it for England (well, no one quite knows what he's said but it works). Terry nods in one and Gerrard scores the other. Extra-time. Crouch comes one and scores, fainting in the process.

There, simple.

(Simplified Robbo)

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The best thing about Rock Concerts

You don't need to tell people to turn their cell phones off.

This is Big

... and stupid.

Roy Keane has apparently passed a medical at Real Madrid, and should be moving there anytime soon. I think this by far, is the final cap on a series of stupid decisions that Florentino Perez has taken, since when he ushered in the Galacticos era.

Keano is a great motivator, but he's 34, he won't be motivated and all he's looking for is a good time. If Gravesen cannot get a game, a similar but younger player Keano's chances seem extremely slim.

I only hope Perez did this 'cause Keane came cheap. I don't see any other reason for Spanish in an Irish accent to be heard around Madrid anytime soon.

(Wonder what Beckham might be feeling as he sees England acquaintances slipping by, saying hi at Real Madrid)

PS: This is the only link I could find, and the seal of confirmation is still awaited as far as this news goes.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Grrrrrr.... Grrrrrrr......

If you like me watched Cartoon Network during the mid 90s you might be well acquainted with Penelope Pitstop and the whole funny crew of Wacky Races . And you might chance on having heard that famous 'Grrr...' by that pointy nosed evil looking car-driver and his dog. Yup, Dick Dastardly and his pet dog Muttley have finally got their due place in the spotlight. The Times in a recent 'study' has concluded that Dick Dastardly is the most dangerous cartoon driver. And as for our dear Homer, he's not far behind either at second place while Fred Flintstone makes it to third, for his 'pedestrian' efforts.

And all those aaj-kal-ke kids - who watch tiny TV etc. with stupid talking lorries and what-not, this stuff was 'real' good and of course, 'real' dangerous.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Ici, Il fait beau !

Some musings from the garden city.

* Saw my first Kannada film (Amruthavarshini) on the State Govt. Volvo bus service. This was after they made me sit through Garam Masala, and switched off the wonderful reading lights they have there.( Go and sleep, why do you want to read?). It's funny how I understand what they're saying - but never quite get even one word in the songs. Also the Kannada film was definitely better than Garam Masala, but hey, that's not saying much.

* How can a govt. bus show the latest movies on pirated CDs. They've got no right to tell others to stop if they can go flouting the rules on every bus they have. I don't think the anti-piracy campaigners have quite grasped the gravity of the bus-movie-showing business. And why can't they show serials, episodes, musical programmes etc. instead of bad, new, movies?

* Was pleasantly surprised to see Venkatesh Prasad smiling down on me from the Andhra Bank hoarding. For some reason I've always had a soft corner for VP.

* I'd seen before going and I'd heard someone saying that the roads in Pune were better. No need to be worried, my Pune Brethren - we are still number one.

* It's quite cloudy and pleasant here - so the weather's fantastic. Also got to have a look at Chinnaswamy Stadium and saw ManU thrash Portsmouth 3-0. So, so far, the going's been good.