Ok. This has got to be the heights of laziness + stupidity. I know that laziness is a very common affliction, but this guy takes the cake ( actually, I think he'd be more likely to ask someone for the cake since he'd be too lazy to get it ). This picture was in the Times Of India, Delhi edition, dated 28th March 2007.

TEACHING AN OLD DOG NEW TRICKS: Levester Johnson takes his dog Armani for a morning jog in Akron, Ohio. “I was lazy this morning,” said Johnson. “I’m on the way to the gym myself. I wanted to make sure he got in a workout before I left”

I mean, you're going to the gym and you decide to walk the dog sitting in your car?! Seriously? He couldn't have used the opportunity to warm up with a jog?

People are so incredibly dumb sometimes.


This has got to be one of the worst parts of being online. Such an immense amount of time is wasted on clearing out your mailbox that could be utilized so much more productively in some other activity.

The origin of the term is from the Monty Python sketch of the same name. The sketch featured a menu which had the processed meat product with every single item. The idea of it being all-pervasive lending itself very nicely to the electronic phenomenon of unsolicited, junk mail.

I can understand that hackers, crackers and seedy marketers would use it as a medium of deception and promotion. It is rather perplexing though, how educated and ( seemingly ) intelligent people can forward mail with information that is pretty obviously fake. I get so many forwards about sick and dying people, victims of accidents and fires, fantastically dangerous drugs, free money being given away that it's a wonder I get any time to check any of my actual mail! I actually get messages that read '...if you forward this sms...'. Alright. I've heard of convergence of different technologies. But since when did messages make the leap from telephone networks into email and remain ( supposedly ) trackable?

On Orkut too, people now forward spam as messages. I've started sending out mails to all my friends when I'm sent any spam ( and no, that does not count as spam! It serves a higher purpose! ). The latest ( but actually quite old ) trend seems to be forwarding messages claiming to be from someone at Orkut and warning people that if they don't forward the message, their account will be closed. Really? Don't they have a news page for where they make announcements? Doesn't anyone stop to think why a member of Orkut would contact some random person and hand them the rather big responsibility of telling everyone what is going on? What if that person doesn't login anymore? And wouldn't the person from Orkut, being in charge of Orkut and all that, be able to message everyone at one go without having to depend on some unknown member?

Similar messages come in on Yahoo! Messenger as well. And I've ticked people off for that only to be told that they knew it was fake all along and were only forwarding it for a few laughs. There is nothing funny about spam! It wastes time and resources and increases costs because providers have to compensate for the extra bandwidth use.

And how believable is it that some major corporation is giving away money for forwarding a mail? Seriously? That's just dumb. No one would just give away money like that for some 'test' ( ostensibly for checking if you're using a particular browser! I'm pretty sure there is no field in an e-mail’s header which tracks what browser you're using! And so much of mail goes through other mail clients like Microsoft Outlook; where does that fit in? ) which would probably not even give proper results. What if you just kept forwarding the mail to yourself? And how would anyone guarantee that the mail would remain trackable across networks, especially if it was converted to plaintext ( assuming that the tracking was being done by some active code; I can't think of any other way ). That said, there is no ethical, legal ( or even foolproof ) way of tracking an email that any major corporation could use. Imagine the privacy concerns.

How can anyone imagine they're helping someone out by forwarding a trail of electrons across the network? Maybe it's because we feel guilty about not doing anything and since hitting the forward button is easy, we take that option and feel like we've done our bit in helping out the world. I'd like to see how many people would forward these messages if they mails read '...your bank account will be debited $1.00 each time you forward this mail. Forward to as many people as you can! Thanks...' instead of '...will donate $1.00 each time you forward this mail. Forward to as many people as you can! Thanks...'. Not as many as right now, I think.

On the lighter side, Google's GMail show's links to Spam recipes on the top of the spam folder. That's rather cute, you must admit. :)

There are quite a few sites on the net that list out all these hoaxes and various, popular spam messages. Here are a few that I find quite useful when I'm sending out an enlightening message to all my contacts who forward spam.

The next time you get the urge to send out some suspicious mail, do take a moment to check if it is a known hoax or not. And do use your common-sense. You are sensible, aren't you? Then prove it. And do your little bit for the good for the Internet community as a whole.

Now, send a link to this post to everyone in your email contacts list, messengers' buddy-lists, MySpace / Orkut / Facebook / Friendster / Gazzag/ or whatever else it is you use friends' lists in the next 2.5 milliseconds otherwise your newspaper will fall in a puddle of water tomorrow morning and you will have to read it all soggy-wet. You have been warned! :D


There seems to be something really wrong with the weather. It's the middle of March and we're still using blankets and fans are, for the most part, switched off. It poured like the monsoons for a couple of days, followed by a really warm 24 hours, followed by more rain. This set of events, of course, had to be shown up and so there was a hailstorm this evening. And it was pretty heavy too.

On realizing that it was hailing, we all immediately dropped what we were doing and darted outside; anything to stop work! It was quite a pretty sight; hundreds of thousands of little white hailstones falling onto the green lawns of the company. We watched for a while and more people kept walking out and joining the crowd. When it was finally over, a rainbow appeared. It wasn't a particularly bright or colourful or indeed, in anyway special, rainbow. But it was a rainbow and that makes it worth mentioning. People then streamed into the lawn to take a look at the hailstones. Some of the more playful one's starting tossing a few at each other. Ouch! Makes you feel kinda sorry for the people who've never experienced snow.

Now, I'm not one to complain about a few extra cool days before the scorching summers begin; but I just can't help but wonder - what in the world is in the works? All this weird weather phenomena has to forebode some disturbing changes in the climate. It sets me pondering as to whether it is the doomsday pundits who are correct or if it is the global-warming-naysayers and conspiracy-theorists who shall be proved to have been accurate. Only time will tell.

Images: Courtesy a colleague and her Nokia 6280.


tridecennary (try-di-SEN-uh-ree) noun

1. A period of thirteen years.

2. A thirteenth anniversary.

[From Latin tres (three), from decem (ten) + annus (year).]

I'm a subscriber of A.Word.A.Day ( not that it does me much good! Though, admittedly, I don't really get time to go through the mails properly, so... ). Anyway, last week's theme was the number 13, as it was their thirteenth anniversary. This was the first word and Anu Garg mentioned that Google showed only one hit for this word. I'd run a search for it at that time and seen 3 results; the original plus the Wordsmith site. And a search now shows about 668 results ( with Wordsmith at the top! )

As a Sally Boyson noted in the AWADmail Issue 253, it is a great example of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle which states that you can't observe something without affecting it in someway. Of course, it also reflects the immense popularity of A.Word.A.Day!

हिंदी Transliteration!

I've been busy the last couple of weeks and haven't really put up any posts ( What? You noticed? :) ) When I logged in yesterday and decided to tweak the settings a bit, I noticed a new option under the Basic Settings: 'Show transliteration button for you posts?'. Intrigued, I set it to yes and checked out the Blogger help entry for it.

Well, guess what? It's a totally awesome feature that automatically converts what you type in English, to Hindi! It works phonetically so what you type may not come out right, but they have very thoughtfully provided options to either correct what you're typing or have complete control by typing out letters from a on-screen keyboard. And it seems to work rather well too! It is just fantastically impressive!

However, it does have some limitations and the text may not always display correctly. But I guess they'll work that out sometime in the future.

तो अब हम हिंदी में ब्लोग लिख सकते हैं! क्या, क्या बनाया है इन्सान ने! विज्ञानं कितनी सीमाएँ पार कर चुका है! १-२ साल पहले ही, क्या कोई मानता कि यह सब मुमकिन है?

Alright, very 10-class-board-essay-type sentence there; but it pretty much covers it. And I just have to mention that I didn't have to edit a single letter for it! It came out right the first time around! This feature is just tremendously brilliant!

For those of you who can't see it, try reading this article and till you get it right, here's a screenshot:

After going through the help entry for this feature, I'm quite embarrassed because I realize that my knowledge of my mother tongue isn't as good as it should be. The Google guys probably know much more about the structure, syntax and semantics that I ever will. I don't even know the complete alphabet in order! I've got the option but I probably wouldn't be able to correct any spellings in my Hindi sentences!

Police III

Really. What is it about the uniform that turns policemen so apathetic and indifferent? Why do they look the other direction, literally sometimes when the general public is in dire need of their assistance?

I was once heading towards office and at that time, the main road leading that way was being repaved. And of course, the work was being carried out in the usual bumbling, inefficient methods of road construction that all road repair/ construction teams seem to unfailingly follow. I suspect the authorities have documented and standardized these procedures that must be adhered to in order to cause the common man maximum possible hindrance, exasperation and just plain disruption of schedule.

Anyhow, of the two lanes, for traffic heading in opposite direction, separated by a road divider, one was being re-tarred. And the vehicles had to drive somewhere. So the traffic was redirected onto the wrong-way lane, adding to the already chaotic flow at the crossing. This, of course, was done without the utilization of apparently trivial things like road signs and/ or traffic cones. So one had no idea what one was getting into till one was neck deep in it ( it being the aforementioned chaos at the crossing ).

However, we Indians are now resilient; we have built up a tolerance for the idiocy of the bureaucracy and the public works departments. What got my attention was the lackadaisical attitude of the traffic policeman at the crossing. He was supposed to be directing the traffic; but instead he had chosen to stand aside and watch it get interestingly intricately integrated into one entity; which was unable to go anywhere.

One motorcyclist, as he crossed the policeman, gestured to him to do something about the snarl. The policeman responded with a shout at the retreating back of the rider, inviting him to come and do the needful himself. Alright, so maybe he was frustrated and irritated. But the rider had only pointed out what he should have been doing in the first place!

This picture on Nikhil's blog says it all!

Bad Day?

I've realized something recently. If your day starts off good, don't feel too happy about it. Starting good means the chances of it getting worse are higher. So you're usually destined for disappointment as the day gets along.

On the other hand, if you started off on the wrong foot, it can only get better, right? So you've got something to look forward to.

That's just how I see it.

Bathroom Cleaning Tip

The room that I'm renting had a bathroom that was, well, not quite that dirty, but not pristine either. The tiles and bathware were stained a bit and the taps seemed really rusty.

Well, I've got it all gleaming now! And today I'm going to share my secret with you! You too can have a bathroom that looks brand new! It'll make your friends wonder how you manage it! And all it takes is a little bit of shopping a lot of hard work! Not to mention regularly visiting this blog to get more neat tips on various things ( a little bit of shameless self-promotion there :D )!

You'll need the following:

  • Harpic ( or something similar )
  • Steel scrubber

The Harpic can help you save a quite a bit of back-breaking scrubbing if you use it properly. And the scrubber is almost certainly guaranteed to scrape off most grime off most surfaces ( along with quite a bit of your fingertips if you're not careful! )

Start off by generously coating the surface( s ) to be cleaned with Harpic. Let it stay for a while but don't let it dry. If you clean now, even with a plastic scrubber, you'll get most of the stains off. But the steel scrubber will definitely do the job better. I used this method to get the taps good as new and the basin and tiles squeaky clean.

Oh, and for those of you that don't know, newspaper is excellent for cleaning mirrors without streaking or leaving irritating little strands.

So go ahead, clean your bathroom and get a good workout at the same time. And when your friends ( or foes ) ask, direct them to this blog :D