Routine Order

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No Googling for Information, says Harvard Business School

December 29th, 2006 · No Comments

At Harvard’s business school, it’s forbidden to use Google to “solve” a case study by figuring out how the business actually turned out(Source: Peter Suber, Open Access News).

Now is it just me, or are these guys counter-intuitive? I guess the policy-makers at universities world wide need to grow younger and think lik students do, and I am not suggesting anything subversive, or radical or that they should start thinking like punks. The decision makers probably did not grow with the knowledge-awareness that the young have – where you have a better idea of what is possible, where to look for the solution (or data) and how to best get the information you need. The old have to learn, the young know, intuitively. Stopping the young from using the tools they know best will shackle their growth.

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Scoble the Wrong Choice?

December 28th, 2006 · 5 Comments

So John Edwards joins the race to become President, and hires Scoble to Blog for him?

Great, you say? Well, wait a second. Scoble is a geek – he worked for Microsoft and was good at apologizing for the many shortcomings of the monolithic software giant. He was really good at dropping names, connecting with people etc. But, and that is a big “but”, he did it all for a software firm. Can he pull that off for a politician? I guess not, and here’s why:

Scoble is not really behind blogging tools, the technology and the stuff that goes with it. For one, his blog is hosted at, a service provided by wordpress. So you hire him, and you still need to hire a technologist – someone who can keep your blog running in the face of heavy traffic, and optimize and design it so it pulls readers by virtue of its looks and functionality. So why not hire someone who can do both things, or can at least advise on the technology behind it all?

Scoble is old, let’s face it – he’s got family. Passion is what pulls readers. Give me a twenty-something with fire in his guts for what he’s bloggin about, anytime. I hope you get where I am going with this train, ’cause its one of those freight-train like trains of thought – I don’t really know where it is going, but I’ve hopped on now :)

Lastly, Scoble’s skills covering technology are admirable, to say the least, and it is difficult to imagine he will put the rest of his blogging on hold, or even slow down temporarily, which means the Edwards campaign won’t get 100% from their blogger.

Call me a skeptic, but I can’t think of one good reason why a technology blogger will help you win a presidential election. Oh well.


Eat, Then Decide What You Want to Pay

December 27th, 2006 · No Comments

From Consumerist I learnt of this restaurant that lets you decide how much the meal you ate was worth, and pay exactly that. That is such a cool idea!

“Our philosophy is that everyone, regardless of economic status, deserves the chance to eat healthy, organic food while being treated with dignity,” explains Brad Birky, who opened SAME with his wife, Libby, in October. Customers who have no money are encouraged to exchange an hour of service — sweep, wash the dishes, weed the organic garden — for a meal.”

The restaurant was originally featured in an Article in Time. What I like about the idea is that there will always be those that pay more than the owners expected to compensate for those that paid too little, or better still, those that can only pay less than what the meal was worth.

In fact, there is more than one such restaurant, in Salt Lake City, Denver, and I guess a few other cities. One, called the SAME(So All May Eat) has a website at The owners profess a love of cooking, and altruism. They have formed a non-profit, at for others that want to replicate the idea, or improve on it.

Sure, this thing can backfire, and I was thinking there might be a few that might misuse this and ripoff the owners. Guess what? It has already happened:

At Babu, an Indian restaurant in New York City, the pay-what-you-feel-is-fair method resulted in too many people getting a free meal. One Friday night, a rowdy group of 10 young Indians walked in and took over the restaurant’s large central table. Their response to no prices was to leave no money; not even a tip for the wait staff. Babu now states their prices.

Trusting the capacity of humans to do good is a great thing, but I’d recommend having a list of prices for those customers (like me) that are not sure how much is too little. That said, I look forward to some such restaurant in my city.

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Define Research

December 27th, 2006 · No Comments

∃xistential Type » Research versus engineering

You know you’re doing research when you spend today undoing nearly everything you did yesterday.

Right said!

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How to do “X” using htaccess?

December 25th, 2006 · No Comments

Stupid htaccess Tricks « Perishable Press

Will definitely come in handy. Lots of “recipes” or solutions to the more common problem solved easily using .htaccess in Apache. Great collection of solutions!

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Google Patent Search

December 23rd, 2006 · No Comments

Google Patent Search

Google Patent Search covers the entire collection of patents made available by the USPTO—from patents issued in the 1790s through those issued in the middle of 2006. We don’t currently include patent applications, international patents, or U.S. patents issued over the last few months

The new search tool makes a joke trivial – have you ever tried to check if your idea is original? Try it now, and be amazed at how many people out there get patents, and for what silly “inventions”.

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Firefox Updated Message – Retardedness

December 22nd, 2006 · 1 Comment

Firefox updated itself earlier today.firefox updated

As you can see the message that appears is perfectly useless. We all have known for ages that Firefox has tabbed browsing, and that it is extensible. In fact, that is the reason I started using Firefox. Remember, this is the message shown after an update, so the person who sees the message has been using Firefox for a while. I can understand if the message appears immediately after Firefox is installed and run for the first time, but after updating?

It would be more helpful if the message stated:

  • The version number of the version I updated to
  • New features in the updated version
  • Why there was an updated, what bugs, if any, needed to be fixed, requiring an update
  • In simple English, why the update was required, if there are any other reasons

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Google book-scanning – Keep Your Hands Off OUR Content

December 21st, 2006 · No Comments

Heartening news from Yahoo: Google book-scanning efforts spark debate – Yahoo! News

A splinter group called the Open Content Alliance favors a less restrictive approach to prevent mankind’s accumulated knowledge from being controlled by a commercial entity, even if it’s a company like Google that has embraced “Don’t Be Evil” as its creed.

The organization will be doling out millions to an Open Archiving group – the Internet Archive. Works to be scanned include those from a Boston Public Library and the Museum of Modern Art.

So what’s wrong with Google’s scanning initiative, you ask? Well, for one they intend to scan copyrighted material without explicit permission, and then show excerpts from the scans that don’t violate the copyright. And then there is the fact that they don’t want the content to appear on any other search engine besides theirs – A monopoly over knowledge, anyone?

It’s like having this huge, bad-ass “public” library, and then putting a gate upfront, and then charging to include books in the library, and to read the books, and no, the books can’t leave the library. There is nothing altruistic about google’s efforts – think about it – if you have original content that was not available in digital form earlier, that is now available only through you – who profits? I guess “humanity” is not the answer as much as “The Google Corporation” is.

I hope the Open Content Alliance survives, and thrives.

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Indian Athlete Fails Gender Test

December 20th, 2006 · 1 Comment

How does one fail a gender test? And really, how hard could it be to assess someone’s gender? I agree if could be more challenging if the doctor cannot pull the patient’s pants down, but since we all know doctors can do that, how hard can it be?

Santhi Soundararajan, an erstwhile female athlete who was declared the best athlete at an Indian championship failed a gender test in Doha. (Since the award was for “best athlete”, she should get to keep it right, irrespective of whether or not she is female?)

KP Mohan, a sports journalist, said athletes were usually examined by a team of doctors, including a gynaecologist, endocrinologist and psychologist, and put through physical and clinical examinations during a gender test.

And here’s how ridiculous it is – she passed the gender test at the Asian track and field championship last year before winning a gold medal. I tell you, there is something non-standard with these tests. I would love to learn why the heck its so hard to find someone’s gender!

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DC Comics – Vertigo First issue pdfs now set free

December 19th, 2006 · No Comments

DC Comics
Now you can read the full first issues of the many Vertigo series that revolutionized comics! Follow the links below to download a PDF version of the first issue of these classic Vertigo series now collected in graphic novel form. When you visit the Graphic Novels section of, any graphic novel titles with a #1 icon () will have a download of the ground-breaking first issue!

Sandman, Death: The high cost of living, The Swamp Thing, all are anow available as free pdfs… Very Cool!

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