Wednesday, December 28, 2005

MoMA featuring Pixar

MoMA, The Museum of Mordern Arts, NYC, is currently featuring Pixar: 20 Years of Animation. Pixar's Computer Generated models, Pencil Sketches, Colour scripts and so on are the subject of this exhibit. Along with this, there is a phenomenal audio program, that brings up some of the visuals accompanied by commentary. This just blew me away. They have exhibits of wire frames of the Les Incredibles, A Bug's life, Toy Story among others. They also have a complete Pixar film retrospective. This exhibition is on till Feb 6, 2006.

Cheers !

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Vertical Farm Project

"We shall eradicate hunger"
This may very well come true if The Vertical Farm Project becomes a reality. This site is replete with the designs and presentations. As Dr. Dickson Despommier; Columbia University says, this is only a concept as of now. But if this comes true, this could very well be the thing that we are all looking out for.

Someone else calls it the Z-axis Urban agriculture. Pretty interesting !

Cheers !

The ringing of the division bell has begun... -Floyd

Monday, December 26, 2005

Spam et all...

I came across this discussion on /. and this got me thinking.

Is there such a thing as 'too paranoid about privacy'? There are some interesting posts on /. and one of the posts that caught my eye was 'once you forego some privacy it's a slippery slope till you have none.' This is really an interesting thought.

But the point I want to make is not all that entirely related to the above. At some point in the discussion, people start talking about giving out fake information to all those companies that want your information for say 'verification'. This triggered my thoughts and brought some really old information to the forefront. A while ago, I remember reading about a couple of sites that let you create instant email addresses. (I forget my source... if you are reading this, my sincere apologies)

Mailinator is one of them. From the Mailinator site -

Have you ever gone to a website that asks for your email address? (haven't we all). You know that the moment you type it in, it is streaming across the net on its way to every spam database in the world. You simply can't be that careless with your personal email address.

What if there was a website that any and every email address you can think of already exists. And you use any one you like, anytime you like - just by thinking one up.

Welcome to Mailinator™. It's like super-instant, always-ready, any-email-you-want email. Right now. It's your personal disposable email account. Here is how it works: You are on the web, at a party, or talking to your favorite insurance salesman. Wherever you are, someone (or some webpage) asks for your email. You know if you give it, you're gambling with your privacy. On the other hand, you do want at least one message from that person. The answer is to give them a mailinator address. You don't need to sign-up. You just make it up on the spot. Pick or — pick anything you want.

Later, come to this site and check that account. Its that easy. Mailinator accounts are created when mail arrives for them. No signup, no personal information, and when you're done — you can walk away — an instant solution to one way spammers get your address. It's an anti-spam solution for everyone. Your temporary email account will be automatically deleted for you after a few hours.

It is quite handy and pretty simple to use. I used to use it all the time. Do not know what has come over me nowadays though.

However, this does not address the basic problem itself. There are a lot of anecdotes within the discussion, where information is exhorted from the common man, be it a priviledged customer card or a special rebate... We often find ourselves in a situation where we are approached with an offer for signing up for the customer loyalty program etc etc... This is a serious problem that has to addressed. Privacy is indeed an important thing and I value it.

There's a rather strange approach of dealing with the problem, that I came across some time back.... taking the attack back to the spammers.. in other words, 'Spam the spammers'. I also remember this interesting paper titled 'On rules of engagement for Information Warfare'. You can find that here.

When we are being asked piece of private information in partial payment for goods or services (or for discounts), the gut feeling is that we feel cheated as we are exchanging our humanity for a monetary benefit. However, we fight this gut feeling at every turn and convince ourselves that this is a small loss for a great gain. The most important point to ponder is that, if this information is not worth too much, why are we given such incentives to part with this information? In my opinion, it is we that control our privacy and it is we, who chose to disclose what to whom. And the problem in the networked world is that we neither know nor trust the recipient of the information. This is a situation that is unlikely to change as long as each of us is running after our own personal privacy...

Cheers !

Fortune favors the lucky.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Google Zeitgeist 2005

Google releases their Zeitgeist 2005. Google writes "It turns out that looking at the aggregation of billions of search queries people type into Google reveals something about our curiosity, our thirst for news, and perhaps even our desires. Considering all that has occurred in 2005, we thought it would be interesting to study just a few of the significant events, and names that make this a memorable year. (We’ll leave it to the historians to determine which ones are lasting and which ephemeral.) We hope you enjoy this selective view of our collective year."

Interesting times we are in, where Janet Jackson still tops the search list.... something to ponder??


Simple people talk of people, better people talk of events, great people talk of ideas.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Forbes Fictional 15

This years Forbes fictional 15 is out and Santa Claus bags the top spot yet again...

Here's what NYTimes have to say about the fictional 15... "Collectively, we are fascinated by the super-rich. We devour their biographies. We hang on their advice. Maybe we even hope for their downfall. But in our attempts to explain the ultra-rich--and their super-inflated bank accounts--we are often guilty of reducing real people to mere caricatures. There is the monopolist. The oracle. The genius. The thief.

With the Forbes Fictional 15, we have taken the opposite approach--fiction’s caricatures are elevated to the status of real people. To qualify for the Fictional 15, we insisted that members be both fictional (in the sense that we excluded mythological and folkloric figures) and characters (meaning they are part of a narrative story or series of stories). Great wealth was required to be one of the primary attributes of the characters on this list--in other words, we looked for characters that were known, within their universes, for being rich."


It is never possible to deduce judgements of value from matters of fact - George Berkeley

Friday, December 02, 2005


This is serious fun. You are given a set of images and have to guess the search string.


I couldn't score more than 152. What's yours?


The early bird who catches the worm works for someone who comes in late and owns the worm farm. -- Travis McGee

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Software Engineering Quotes

I came across an interesting collection on quotes on Software Engineering and thought I ll share it here....

Software Engineering Quotes

My favourite ones from here are :

A leader is best when people barely know that he exists.
Less good when they obey and acclaim him.
Worse when they fear and despise him.
Fail to honor people, and they fail to honor you.
But of a good leader, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled,
they will say, "We did this ourselves."

-- Lao-Tzu

... while we all know that unmastered complexity is at the root of the misery, we do not know what degree of simplicity can be obtained, nor to what extent the intrinsic complexity of the whole design has to show up in the interfaces. We simply do not know yet the limits of disentanglement. We do not know yet whether intrinsic intricacy can be distinguished from accidental intricacy.

-- E. W. Dijkstra, Communications of the ACM, Mar 2001, Vol. 44, No. 3


History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree on. - Napoleon Bonaparte, "Maxims"