Friday, July 30, 2004

The Dilbert Future (Book Review)

Honest! I never knew that Scott Adams was so funny. In the Dilbert Future, he made me laugh out loud quite a few times and I started feeling that I was reading Dave Barry. He's somewhere in between Barry and Bryson (Bill, to those who know him) I would say. Adams is a genius. He's able to use self-deprecating humour, take what he knows about the workplace and the world and twist it to make you laugh.

It's so hard to write about nothing and yet just nail it. I felt entertained when I was reading the book, even though it was written quite a while back. The Dilbert cartoons are, as always, mostly superb.

The Dilbert Future is Scott Adams' take on the future of the technology, marketing, and work among other things. He makes a prediction every few pages, aided apparently by Dogbert in a Nostradamus-like avatar. One of the best "arguments" of the book is how he "proves" that the Swiss are actually aliens.

It's worth a read if you like to laugh. Hey, he'll even use the ridiculous to make you think, but let's not go that deep. I loved the book and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading humour.

Access without registration

If you're like me, you're pretty annoyed that almost every site asks you for a user name and password to read their articles. And the irritating part is that it's free. If it's free, why do you want information about me. I'm just a visitor and I'll read your articles and I'll go away. Why must we exchange phone numbers, addresses, names and why must you ask me to identify myself every time I come to your site? It's advertising I guess. Plus, there's no such thing as a free website now-a-days.

This article is addressed for people who don't want to register in sites but do want to access the content. It's sort of a semi-hack but what the hack (yeah, weak pun, I know). You can read the article and then check out (what a great name) to access your favourite site without registering. It'll generate a user name and password for you and you can login to the site. And you can get an IE and FireFox extension as well. I tried it and it works.

There are some other interesting ways to access sites without logging in in the article.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Yahoo! 100 MB... Maybe Not

I'm probably the only person in the whole wide world (www to the uninitiated) who still doesn't have 100 MB on Yahoo! I don't know if I need a 100 MB account on Yahoo but if everyone has it, then shouldn't I be entitled to as well? Indignation! Yes, entitlement. It's a (freaking) free service and I am entitled.

Well, not exactly. But shouldn't I get 100 MB, so I can store useless emails, forwards with 2 MB attachments, with more attachments in them, the photos of someone on vacation to the places that I never went.

Don't you think it's strange? At one point we were happy with 6 MB that Yahoo gave us, now Gmail's offering 1 Gigabyte of storage space and Yahoo had to up its storage space. Anyone stop to consider what a waste of storage space this is? Now instead of deleting emails that are useless, people will just move them into folders and forget about them for years. We're encouraging more clutter.

Can it last? Can people keep giving away stuff for free? When you send an email, you use the service provider's bandwidth as well and at some point it's going to start hurting the service providers when all those useless forwards start bouncing around with CCs, BCCs by the dozens.

Will this madness end? Probably not. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to write to Yahoo about my "entitlement".

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Being the best

Why are we always looking for the best, always looking to classify? Why can't there be many good people, why does one writer have to be better than the rest or one actor better than the rest?

In Tuedays With Morrie, Mitch Albom relates an incident where Morrie shouts, "We're No. 2" at a basketball game, wondering why being No. 2 is all that bad.

You saw how disappointed Portugal was on losing the Euro 2004 cup final to Greece. Granted, they lost a golden chance to win the cup, but they had never made a final of any major championship. They always stumbled in the semi-final. You'd think they'd be happy about that. Nope, that happiness was fleeting and soon the entire country expected the cup.

The glory with being the best is at best (no pun intended) ephemeral. It's lonely at the top, as the cliche goes. Why can't we be second best?

As Natalie Goldberg writes in Writing Down the Bones, I am good and she is good too. Ain't nothing wrong with that logic I think.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Script Writing Links

It's amazing the number of sites that you can find about screenwriting (script writing). Here are some that I've found.

Script Pimp -- Seems like this site has tons of resources

Wordplay Columns -- Loads of columns about screenwriting.

Script Nannies -- I just used the links on this site.

Movie Scripts -- THe real deal -- If you want scripts, this is a place to visit.

Screentalk --Super site with loads of links and Hitchcock screenplays

Links to screenwriting resources

A tutorial on screenwriting

Thursday, July 08, 2004

My drug of choice -- Music

I get high on music. If you see me at work, you'll think that I'm having fun and not working, because I'll have my headphones on and my body will be swaying to the music while I am writing. Sometimes music even makes me smile.

Music takes me to a plane (a level) that I can't reach with any other medium. Books can't take me there, alcohol can't, and since I've never tried drugs, I can't give you an opinion on that.

It also helps that I play the guitar, since I am able to appreciate the beauty and difficulty in creating a great tune or just any tune. It's tough to create something that you'll like, let alone something that people will like.

Joe Satriani, Jethro Tull, Van Halen, Collective Soul, Def Leppard, Dire Straits, Mark Knopfler, are some of the musicians/bands that I love. Knofpler and Satriani, in particular, they can give me goose bumps with their music.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

A lert of alerts

My mailbox went over the 3 MB quota this morning. Someone sent me a 1.8 MB email and good ol' Outlook Express couldn't download it because our Internet connection was slower than normal. So, I did the next sane thing and went to the website to download the email using the browser, which is faster...sometimes.

What do I find in my mailbox? Six emails, two from the service provider telling me to delete my emails because my mailbox was above the limit. So, I deleted those two emails and tried to play around with downloading the "real" emails.

Five minutes later, there are ten emails in my mailbox, six from the service provider's automated system (again). Ten emails, each of an average size of 5 KB. That's 50 KB of emails in my mailbox which is already above the limit.

I kept deleting these emails till I was finally able to download the 1.8 MB email. After that, the automated alert emails stopped.

Send one alert, maybe even one a day, but an alert almost every minute? Did these guys even think about what they were doing?

Which brings me to the bigger question--Let's say that my mailbox is already above the limit and I don't know about it.

Would you let me know some other way (SMS maybe?) instead of sending me an email to the same mailbox that's above the limit? Or send me an email that is automatically downloaded before any other emails are downloaded (whenever I download my emails), so that I can take some action.

Is that too much to ask for?

Friday, July 02, 2004

Who needs approval?

As children, we learn to crave for approval and sometimes I feel that it doesn't go away. I can understand feeling the need to get praised for something you do but if that's the sole reason for why you're doing something, you're better off doing something else.

The joy of anything is in the doing--not in the rewards that you get afterward. The work IS the fun. I think it's important to remember that. Too many people crave attention and approval and that's the entire joy-package for them. There's no permanence in that. You work for six months and get an approval that lasts for how long? A day? A week? Approvals are fleeting, they're evanescent.

The joy is in the process, the work, the creation. The rest is just gravy.

Thursday, July 01, 2004


I realise it's a bit late to be posting a review of a movie that was released quite a few months ago but this movie released in India just this past week, so bear with me.

I was shocked by Monster. The dark, sombre mood is almost depressing and Charlize Theron with some makeup that makes her look unappealing doesn't help. Charlize Theron is the strength of the movie and gives a superb performance as ther serial killing prostitute. She brings out the confusion, the anger at men, the love for her lesbian companion (Christina Ricci) in a way that makes you empathise with her character. You almost don't think about her victims in the movie, except for fleeting moments. I think that's the only thing I could find wrong with the movie, that the victims didn't appear sympathetic.

Otherwise, the movie captures the person behind the serial killer beautifully and leaves you emotionally drained at the end. Like The Accused which gave a different take on rape, this movie gives you a perspective from the serial killer's side.

The point of it all--Oh, I am not sure, maybe that she was vulnerable and yet capable of such horror. Worth a watch though, if you don't mind dark movies.