Sunday, April 30, 2006

Google's new ketchup: SketchUp

Google is ready with what at first seems like just another pass-time people will play around with for a few days. But SketchUp is cerrtainly more than that

Firstly, it's fabulous as a toy. You draw 3D models of pretty much anything you want (I just put together some quick examples as soon as I downloaded):

Clearly, you don't have to be a mechanical-drawing expert to draw the basic stuff, like buildings, simple objects around you etc.

But the real value lies beyond this. Artists at Google are busy putting together famous buildings around the world on 3D models and uploading them to Google Earth - another fabulous tool by Google. In essence, you can draw 3D imagery from around your home, office, or places you like and combine it with the real life sattelite-maps.

Look at this one from Google:

Hats off to Googi, again!

Indian engineer killed in Afghanistan; India outraged

And what good does that "outrage" do anyway? Almost always when it comes to an Indian stuck in a foreign land, the sequence of events seem to be:

>starting to talk
>unsuccesful in talks
>concerned again
>the family of the killed 'compensated'

That's it! With its meek foreign policies being around for years, India is standing at a point that we can never use a word "pressure" on any foreign land. Oh, no I was missing the pressure we put on Nepal king the other day (note this was after 4 years of dissolvement of parliament that the king had enjoyed, and only after the commoners of Nepal had come to a street-revolt)

Remember that Afghani guy who was being tried for a death-sentence in Kabul for adopting Christianity? America, among several countries made the Afgani president work his ass-off to get the guy out of the trial and flee him out of country

I mean its understandable how america with all the power in hand is at a buying position almost in all negotiations in the world. But is India really bankrupt in such innternational dealing?

Think what would happen if it was an American stuck in Kabul? Of course there'd have been protests and all the non-violence speeches. But behind the scenes, there would have been one phone call to the Karzai man, and he would already be on his way to find the guy himself

Wasn't there a talk of "tri-lateral" relationships between India-Pakistan-Afghanistan just recently? I think such "relationships" flourish only as long as everything is good. I don't think we or any of our neigbors have what it takes to steer in case of a contention

Its like saying:

Love me tender love me long, till the end of time
But when I am hungry and you're around, you'll still be dinner of mine

Thursday, April 20, 2006


How often do you feel like a total stupid?

Err..never mind! Lets say, how often are you made to feel like a total stupid? I am made to feel that day in and day out - when I find myself holding a customer-care phone line, listening to those tasteless musical tones

And i am ashamed of myself when I know the voice on the other side is a machine and I am having to reply to its 'simple questions', like "how would you like me to help you today?", or "please say whether you are a member or a provider". To the last one, I sometimes end up yelling "heck, I am neither a member or a provider, I am a goddamn idiot, talking to a dumb computer program!"

Remember those sci-fi stories about how one day, machines will take over us humans and we'll have to fight them to gain our identities. Guess what? That day is here! And we don't fight the machines, we beg them - every day

And those stories should be news-stories, not a sci-fi. As a matter of fact, there was a news story on NPR the other day about this guy who has put together a database of tips to fool those "interactive" voice response systems.

I really admire this guy's work and I am sure many of us are benefitting from it - not flushing our valuable work-hours, holding the phones to the voices of these "how may I help you?" phone machines.

But the the irony remains that the technology has taken over us humans so badly that we need 'shortcuts' to reach a human to talk to. And the ever-so-profit-hungry corporates work hard to devise ways to keep you off a real person.