Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Mail This Site

Just added a "Email Post" button to each post. Asking a friend to see any post is now just a click away.

Using Feeds

My site is now available as ATOM feeds.

I know that half of my site’s current audience doesn’t know ATOM feeds from cattle feeds, so let me take some time to explain how to exploit this feature.

It all started in the development shacks at Netscape Communications. That’s the place where they make some of the acronyms we use in day-to-day language. One such acronym they made has evolved from RDF, to RSS, and now in its latest avatar to ATOM.

So, what is this stuff anyway? Is it useful, or just another of those acronyms that sounds big and scary but does nothing?

Let’s start with its uses. If you are anything like me, you surf a lot. A lot of the sites you visit are blogs. Most of the blogs you visit are ones you have visited before. You are only going there to check if there has been any update. You also want to check out news on a regular basis, but have found no easy way to do it. Getting the daily Calvin and Hobbes comic strip would be a nicety too, but you don’t bother because you’d have to go their site. You’d love to subscribe to a couple of online magazines or other publications, but you don’t want their mails cluttering up your mailbox.

Feeds would make all these problems non-existent. With one click, you can scan a hundred sites for their updates, grab them and display them in a neat and organized fashion on your screen. It uses a technology so simple, you’d wonder why we didn’t think of it before. Because it is so simple, you don’t need a fast connection, or a powerful computer. If you have a web-based feed reader like I have, you don’t even need to install software on your computer. Just sign up for one of the popular feed reader services, like Bloglines – the one I use.

Once you have a feed reader, whether on your desktop or online, you now collect feeds from different websites. Most modern websites offer their content as feeds. For example, the link to my feeds can be found on the sidebar. These feeds are called by different names on different sites: XML Feeds, RSS Feeds, ATOM Feeds, or sometimes simply by an orange “XML” button. All these are different flavors of the same thing, and their differences mostly don't matter much from a user's point of view. You just find the URL of the feed, and add it to your feed-reader. Now on, your feed reader will scan the site on a regular basis, or when you explicitly ask it to.

It’s almost like a different kind of browsing! It's faster, more customizable, and much more easy than hopping from site to site.

Update: You might want to add my feed directly to your Bloglines.com account.

License To Drive

I just got my driving license today. Anyone who has seen me drive will be surprised.
Even more surprising was the test process.

Driving Test Instructor: (Pointing to a 'X' on a paper) Put your thumb impression here.
Me: er... I can sign...?
Driving Test Instructor: Did I ask you to sign? (Points to tbe 'X' again, impatiently, and repeats slowly.) Just put your thumb impression here.
Me: Ok. (I push my thumb into a ink pad, and then jab it on the paper.)
Driving Test Instuctor: (Pointing to the door) The exit is that way.

That was my driving test. Now we know why we have so many accidents!

Monday, August 30, 2004

Culture Station

Saadhu at a railway station. Click for larger image.

Culture Station

I had shot this photograph on the same trip as the Kerala and Kodaikanal trip I made, but hadn't posted it on that album. This one was shot in a railway station in Karnataka.

Web Development Mistakes

In a follow-up to the amazing article titled Web development mistakes, Roger Johansson comes back with Web development mistakes - Redux, addressing issues with development of web-sites for the future.

More GMail Invites

GMail invites are just pouring in! I've got 5 more invites left. Just leave your First Name, Last Name, and your current E-Mail Address in the comments for this post, and I'll send you an invite. Only the first five people get the invites. Unless, of course, I get more...

Insect Eggs Behind A Leaf

Insect eggs behind a leaf. Click for larger version

Insect eggs behind a leaf

I have a whole album of these pics I shot in Kerala and Kodaikanal on a recent trip (registration required), at Imagestation. I'll eventually have a copy of all those images here. I just had to start with this one.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Images From Manipal - 2

Three's a crowd. Click for larger version

Three's a crowd

More pics from Manipal. Sorry, but Blogger allows me only one pic per post.

Images From Manipal

Heavenly Sunrise. Click for larger version

Heavenly Sunrise

I particularly liked this photograph I took at Manipal, on my last trip there.

Independence Rock

Today, finally, the Independence Rock celebrations will be culminating, at a new location. What a shame that it couldn’t be held at Rang Bhavan. What were our politicians doing anyway, when Gods were distributing brains?

GMail Invitations

I have 3 invitations to GMail. I'll just give it to the first three people who write in with their email addresses. Just leave your address in the comments, and I'll send you an invitation.

I'm Not Done Yet!

Those who have been in touch with me lately will know that I have been working on a blogging engine for myself. This blog is not that! I am not done with that system yet, and had the urge to get on with blogging anyway.

Who knows, I might be tracing the development of that blog engine through this blog!


In the beginning, there was nothing...

This is not my first blog. I've actually had three whole posts on another blog before. Those posts were so techie, I couldn't make it through the proof-reading itself, and just posted them without bothering too much about it. I don't know what I was thinking!

This blog, though, will be different. I plan to keep this more personal, humorous, and involving. I will still be discussing a lot of techie issues as and when I think about them, but they will not be the only things I talk about here.

I hope you have fun reading this!