Thursday, September 30, 2004

One Month, And Counting

Not that it is a big event, but yesterday this blog silently completed one month of existence.

I'’d like to take this opportunity to thank (No, I am not clutching a statuette, but this is still big to me) all my viewers and site-followers. This blog has given me everything I'’ve been promised – a platform to speak from, a cool way to make new friends, an awesome way to keep in touch with old ones, impressing chicks, getting dates, my own 15 seconds of fame, no money, everything.

I hope you have had as much fun as I have with this blog. I hope to keep making this blog better, so please tell me what you'’d like to see here and I'’ll try my best to make you happy.

Thanks for being such a great audience. Here’'s to more!

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Link Bin

Tech Links

Not-So-Tech Links

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Spreading Like Wild Fire

First they took back the web. Then they ignited it. Barely 10 days later, its spreading like wild fire!

Firefox scales 2 million downloads in 10 days. For those who just joined us, Firefox was originally targetting half that number in the same time. This is not just great, it's historic! Internet Explorer's market share has never been lower in the last 7 years. Way to go, Firefox team! Awesome job!

Silent Lucidity

Silent Lucidity

Country side Kodaikanal. Another pic from my archives for the weekend.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

XMLHttpRequest In The New Opera

I just wrote about XMLHttpRequest the last time, only to realize later that it was not supported in Opera - the third most popular browser - despite support by Internet Explorer, Mozilla and Safari in some flavor or other. Yes you gessed it right, GMail, A9 and Google Local don't work with Opera (or so I understand - am I wrong?).

However, Simon Willison's feed today alerted me to the fact that the Opera 7.60 Preview 1 for Windows will now be supporting the XMLHttpRequest object. I am putting my money on this getting much bigger than it already is. What do you think?

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Look Ma, No Refresh

One of the biggest challenges of web application design is that any communication with the web server involves a round trip to the server, and a page refresh. A round-trip to the server cannot be avoided in most cases. After all, most of the application logic will rest of the server. However, page refreshes can be avoided completely by using some nifty JavaScript.

I wonder why I didn’t see this before. I think this has been DHTML’s best kept secret (as Simon Willison says in his Sitepoint article), and it took a post at the JavaScript Blog for me to start digging into it. The XMLHTTPRequest Object is probably one of the coolest things about JavaScript. With it, you can stream data over the HTTP stream back and forth between the server and the client without having to do a page refresh. The data is not necessarily formatted as XML (though in most cases it makes best sense to use XML, despite the slightly heavier code weight).

Now when I think about it, XMLHTTPRequest is used in practically every modern web application. Google’s GMail uses it to retrieve your mails without doing a page refresh, making the service lightning fast. Google’s Local uses an even more advanced script allowing you to zoom into and out of and re-center around a point in a map, to locate stuff of your interest in your locality. Amazon’s recently launched A9 uses it for creating and populating the various panes in their interface, making their interface highly interactive, responsive and fast.

I am definitely going to explore this in more detail as soon as possible. It is easy to see why this will be the single most important scripting trick to get comfortable with to make next generation applications for the web.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Amazon Launches A9

Today was the official launch of, the search engine from Amazon. I wouldn’t really call this a search engine; rather, it is a search web-application. The search results aggregated are sorted out into web results, books, images, movies, reference, etc. The web search results are from Google. I don’t think A9 is trying to compete with Google, or even to add to their functionality. Instead, this might be catering to separate audience, like Slashdot says.

This site uses GMail style JavaScript interfaces. Interesting. There is a definite trend in the way web pages are being developed, and A9 is furthering it. Other than that, there are a couple of other features that seem to be interesting. But some of them require me to spend time with the site searching. They claim to be able to “remember” which pages I visited and when I visited them, which is probably useful if you’ve ever wanted to get back to what you had surfed up earlier. I am more comfortable searching through my history though, if you ask me, and don’t see this as a Unique Selling Point. Maybe I missed something.

I’ll post more about A9 if I ever get around to using it. Meanwhile, tell me what you think of A9.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

The Devil's Kitchen

The Devil's Kitchen

This pic was shot in Kodaikanal on my last trip there. This was at some tourist spot called Devil's Kitchen. The Devil's Kitchen is actually the name for some cave formation in the valley of this hill, and was off limits due the dangerous descent. This pic was shot around the top of the hill. It was a beautiful day and was all misty around.

Tell me how you like it.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Firefox Rulez!

This is not surprising at all, but I am overwhelmed by the magnitude of this thing! When I asked people to use Firefox, I was only doing my bit in making a better Internet. I didn’t think I’d be part of a huge revolution sweeping the Internet!

Today is day 3 of the 10 day long Firefox countdown to a million downloads, and they have already achieved more than 75% of their target. Even better, everyone’s talking about it, be it BusinessWeek, The Wall Street Journal, or C|Net. Way to go, Firefox!

If you still wondering if Firefox is right for you, I don’t think there are any better 3 lines to explain why you should change right now.

Even More GMail Invites

I just finished sending my last invite yesterday, only to find that I've got 6 more GMail invites today. They are up for grabs. Just leave your first name, last name and e-mail address in the comments for this post, and I'll send you an invite as soon as I can.

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi

Since the Hindu lord Shiva was away on a monster-busting ride, Goddess Parvathi decided to take a bath. She made a life-size clay model of a boy, breathed life into him, named him Vinayak, and asked him to guard the house while she’s in the bath. I guess that’s the way it worked with the Gods.

Parvathi was still bathing when Shiva came back and Vinayak didn’t let him pass. Furious about not being allowed into his own home, Shiva beheaded Vinayak. Parvathi was very upset by this. To make up, Shiva promised that he’ll replace Vinayak’s head with the head of the first thing he finds.

Shiva finds an elephant (some say it was the monster Gajasura), cuts off his head, and replaces Vinayak’s, giving us Gajanna – The “elephant-headed” God.

Gajanna, or Ganapathi (derived from the Sanskrit word Ganaadhipathi meaning “The Leader”), or Ganesha, was a favourite of goddess Parvathi, as he is a favourite for all of us today. Ganapathi is indeed worshipped more out of love than out of fear or awe.

We celebrate this “birthday” of the Lord, in a beautiful and colorful ten day festival starting today. This festival has come to have no boundaries of religion, community, age, wealth or sex, and is probably India’s largest public festival.

Here’s wishing everyone a Happy Ganesh Chaturthi!

Friday, September 17, 2004

Understanding Users: E-Mail Addresses

Not-So-Web-Savvy-User: I'll mail you. What's your e-mail address?
Me: rakesh dot pai at gmail dot com
NSWSU: At? You mean "at the rate of", right?
Me: Yeah. Same thing.
NSWSU: rakesh dot pai? That's unusual, isn't it?
Me: Just send it to rakeshpai at gmail dot com, if that's too confusing.
NSWSU: No underscores, right?
Me: No. Just rakeshpai.
NSWSU: Ok. No capitals, right?

Anyone has had any similar problem distributing e-mail addresses?

Dubya Quotes

Just wanted to dump these before Bush Jr. quotes get totally obsolete. (via)

  • "It's clearly a budget. It's got a lot of numbers in it."
  • "This is Preservation Month. I appreciate preservation. It's what you do when you run for president. You gotta preserve."
  • "I think anybody who doesn't think I'm smart enough to handle this job is underestimating."
  • "Families are where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream."
  • "They misunderestimated me."
  • "One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures."
  • "The great thing about America is everybody should vote."
  • "If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier - so long as I'm the dictator."
  • "I have said that the sanction regime is like Swiss cheese - that meant that they weren't effective."
  • "We spent a lot of time talking about Africa, as we should. Africa is a nation that suffers from incredible disease."
  • "I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully."
  • "I firmly believe the death tax is good for people from all walks of life all throughout our society."
  • "There may be some tough times here in America. But this country has gone through tough times before, and we are going to do it again."
  • "See, we love freedom. That's what they didn't understand. They hate things; we love things. They act out of hatred; we don't seek revenge, we seek justice out of love."
  • "I was proud the other day when both Republicans and Democrats stood with me in the Rose Garden to announce their support for a clear statement of purpose: you disarm, or we will."
  • "The war on terror involves Saddam Hussein because of the nature of Saddam Hussein, the history of Saddam Hussein, and his willingness to terrorize himself."
  • "I'm honored to shake the hand of a brave Iraqi citizen who had his hand cut off by Saddam Hussein."
  • "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."
  • "Saddam Hussein paid the families of suiciders."
I had printed most of these out and had put it up on my wall. Makes for a great read once in a while.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Link Bin

Tech Links

Not-so-tech Links

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Use Firefox

Everyone please spread the word. Firefox is the only way for us to make the web a better place.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Wicked Worn Out Gallery

Cameron Moll puts together a gallery of sites that use the worn out look. A great resource of graphic designers.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Speed Is Money

Eric Meyer starts where my previous article left off. He explains why speed savings by adopting Web Standards is good for business.

Assembly Elections and Information Technology

The other day, I had a talk with Mr. K Suryakrishnamurthy of the Chief Elections Office at his office in the Mantralaya, about how they can improve their website to incorporate better usability and accessibility. The website has recently come into the limelight after the Office announced that users can register for the polls and can check if they have been registered.

I was stunned when I knew how things work with them. Here are some of the problems they are currently facing.

  • All the states in the country have to publish their own electoral lists, which are only maintained by the Center. These lists have to necessarily be in the local language of the state. Not English. Not Hindi. This is actually not such a bad idea, because some names are best written in the script of that local language, and adapting it to some other language will kill the correctness of the spelling.
  • Since these lists are maintained in different languages, getting them to work on a single database is not possible, simply because storage and retrieval of data will be a pain in the ass when you have to know how to type in different languages.
  • The good folks at the Election Office don’t bother dumping this data in a database anyway, because they don’t know how to use databases.
  • The data lies in a PDF file. Yes, you heard that right. Not Oracle. Not MySQL. Not MSSQL Server. Not even Access.
  • Try putting a PDF list of electoral rolls online. Now, try providing a feature for users to search for their name.
  • End result 1: When you search, you have to know your town, assembly (what ever that is, and it is not the same as your town), then discover that you need Marathi fonts, then select the area of your residence, and then download the appropriate PDF file. Then, read through the PDF line by line to find out if you are going to the polls or not.
  • End result 2: Other than rewriting the data again, or implementing complicated translation algorithms, there’s really no solution to this.

Now, how do we make this easy to use!

Oh, and for the record, he said he doesn’t care about accessibility. He just wants this to work!

The Da Vinci Code

Just finished with The Da Vinci Code today. This book is a must-read. Coming from a guy who doesn't read too many novels, that means a lot.

Misty Mountain Hop

Misty Mountain Hop

A pic for the weekend. Shot on an early morning stroll during the wet season in Manipal, India.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Bourne Supremacy In India

A friend today told me that The Bourne Supremacy (the sequel to The Bourne Identity) has a longish sequence in Goa, India. I understand it's rather gripping, complete with a well pulled-off car chase. This one should be good to watch.

America Getting Worse

Did you really think that Bush will make life for the average American better? Numbers never lie.

Friday, September 10, 2004

The Economics of XHTML

Does XHTML make sense for your business? In this article, I try to find out if XHTML reduces losses, increases profits, and gets more business for websites. Read the complete post...
We all know that XHTML is way cooler than HTML. I personally prefer anything that has an X on the name. Three X’s are even better, but one X will do just fine. It’s really cool.

But how good is “cool” for businesses? Can XHTML increase turnover? Can it reduce costs? Can it get you more business? Will your customers like you to change over? How much will you spend on it in the future on maintenance or upgrades? In a world where time is money, can XHTML based development save you time? In this article, I take a look at the business aspects of XHTML, and try to evaluate if it is just “cool” or if it really makes your pocket heavier. Also, hard as it is, I’ll try not to be biased towards XHTML along the way.

I do not talk about CSS in this article, except where it is absolutely necessary. I’ll cover the cost benefits of CSS in detail in a later post. This post is a comparison of the costs of using different markup technologies and doesn’t delve into styling or other such aspects of web designing.

In this article, XHTML would be treated similar to semantic HTML. So, you should be able to get identical results using semantic HTML.

Cost of hosting

XHTML can reduce the code length of your web pages by a substantial amount. For example, the Adaptive Path website redesign done by Doug Bowman using XHTML and CSS achieved a file-size reduction of 56% (26 kb) in the home page. In a test setup, he also achieved a 62% reduction on a redesign for the Microsoft homepage. In the recent ESPN redesign to embrace XHTML, an estimated saving of 50 kb per page was achieved. Wired News had a saving of around 64% on their site’s redesign.

When hosting a website the costs are split up into two components – cost for the server space and cost for the bandwidth. Since XHTML reduces file sizes, both costs for space and bandwidth come down. Doug has shown that with the Microsoft redesign a saving of 924 GB of bandwidth per day, or 329 Terabytes per year is achievable. Eric Mayer points out that the bandwidth savings of ESPN is around 730 Terabytes per year. When every byte saved is money saved, these numbers should definitely turn heads.

Arguably, Microsoft and ESPN are both huge websites, with a very high amount of hits per day. Smaller sites will not be saving so much. The cost of implementing XHTML might not be justified by the bandwidth savings alone for smaller sites.

Conclusion: XHTML will give a definite reduction in amount of space used on the server, which translates to money saved. Large sites will also benefit from the bandwidth savings, though this might be insignificant for smaller sites.

Cost of development from scratch

The consideration here is about which technology to start with. Considering that HTML is dead as we know it, there’s really no reason to think otherwise. However, I’d like to put in some numbers here too.

Developing using traditional HTML would mean that you’d have to have multiple versions of the same page for different browsers. The extent of differences would vary depending on the nature and design of the site. This is very important for cross-browser compatibility. Also, if additional browsers have to be supported, additional versions of the site have to be prepared. Want to support a PDA or other handhelds? Make another version of the site. Need cell phone-browser support? Make another version.

The cost of making each version of the markup increases linearly. So, if you want to make two versions, the cost of the HTML development will be double (or close to it). Three versions will cost thrice as much.

However, with XHTML, you need to make only one version of your site. Instantly, your site is accessible to a host of devices and browsers. The web-site can be viewed with any browser with exactly the same page, irrespective of the browser, manufacturer or platform. Depending on how many browsers you want to support, this translates into huge cost and time savings.

To put in some numbers, lets say that making a webpage work on Internet Explorer 5 on Windows costs you an amount X. Additionally, making it work on IE 4 on windows will cost you roughly 2X (maybe slightly less). Say you want to support IE 4, 5, 6 on Windows and Mac, that’s already 6X. And that is only 70% of the users on the Net. The remaining 30% of the users, who are just as likely to get you business as the first 70% use more obscure browsers like Mozilla Firefox, Netscape, Opera, Safari, or even unheard-of browsers. Supporting them all will only keep mounting up costs. With XHTML on the other hand, you’d only spend the original amount X. (Ok, the 6X is probably an over-estimate for a lot of projects. But you’d have to agree that it is still a large multiple of the cost of development in XHTML.)

Conclusion: If your use of HTML would mean that you’d have to maintain multiple versions of the site, XHTML linearly saves you both time and money depending on the number of versions you have to support.

Cost of upgrading an existing site

Upgrading to XHTML is usually difficult to justify in terms of ROI and pay-back periods. Most HTML site owners are generally happy with their sites, and don’t see enough returns in moving to XHTML. They are either unaware of or comfortable with the drawbacks of their site, and can’t justify the additional expense. However, there’s one consideration that cannot be overlooked.

XHTML is both backwards (for all practical purposes) and forwards compatible. HTML is only backwards compatible. Forward compatibility is where new technologies and browsers would still work with your site. Backward compatibility ensures that older technologies would be supported by your site. Up until now, web development has tried to maintain good backward compatibility with older browsers and devices. Besides, backward compatibility in HTML was implemented by maintaining different versions of the site. With XHTML, your site will be available to virtually any device that can read XML. Such devices might not even be envisioned yet. Some alternate-browsers that understand XML sound like they are right out of a science fiction flick. These browsers might read your web-page to you loud, or provide a Braille interface for the visually challenged. XHTML is ready for these browsers already. HTML is not.

This saving in money is more abstract, and one cannot predict a timeline for the ROI. However, this is definitely a saving in long-term efforts.

Conclusion: XHTML will definitely save you money in the long run. However, putting down a number for ROI or payback period will be difficult. The real reason to shift to XHTML becomes a technical reason more than an economic one, for the short term.

Cost of maintenance

Periodically, changes will have to be made to the site. The cost of these changes cannot be overlooked.

HTML files are rather complex. They have so much irrelevant information, it becomes difficult to manage them. XHTML on the other hand, if well planned, will be much easier to manage in the long run due to sheer simplicity of the files. Making changes to the site in the future will hence be very fast and consequently much less expensive.

However very few sites will need markup changes frequently. Updates to a site are generally handled using some server-side code. Even frequent updates usually does not translate into modifying markup.

That said, no site is ever prefect. Any good site will have a way to listen to their users and learn from them and accordingly change to serve them better. This process might be automated, manual, or a combination of both. Generally speaking, the process of getting feedback is best automated and real-time, and the process of altering the web-page is best handled manually. Obviously, the bottleneck here is the manual modifications, and easing this becomes very important. So, if you want to make a good site as opposed to one that just provides an online presence, XHTML would definitely help in the long run. Again, as above, putting numbers down to justify this will be difficult.

Conclusion: Most sites need frequent updates or modifications. The ease of handling XHTML as opposed to HTML in these scenarios cannot be overstated. However, again, since this depends on the Internet Business Plan of the company, quantifying this in terms of amount saved will be difficult.

Attracting more business

HTML, as said before, works only in some browsers the way it does. XHTML works on all kinds of browsers, on all kinds of platforms, with all kinds of devices. The market reach of HTML is around 70% and dwindling fast. The market reach of XHTML is around 99.5%, and getting stronger. HTML can support only a limited brand of desktop browsers running on certain operating systems. XHTML can work on devices we haven’t begun to imagine so far, while working just as fine with some of the most ancient setups.

Conclusion: XHTML will increase your market reach by about 30%. Additionally, it will continue to support the largest variety of users coming to the site, now and in the future. HTML has already failed to do this. XHTML will get your more business. Period.

Using best practices

Using XHTML will ensure that your site is compliant with some of the most stringent laws and practices so that your site remains accessible, future-proof, and contributes to the general well-being and goodness of the Internet as a whole. HTML has a lot of trash in it, and chaos attracts more chaos. XHTML is simple, compliant with complex laws and requirements, and helps in making the Internet more cozy and comfortable for everyone.

Though the business implications of this are not immediately visible, one only needs to scratch the surface to see how it helps. A site that is compliant with stringent laws and uses best practices is very easy to use and is highly accessible. Such sites are a pleasure to surf, since the user is always in control. Users will only come back to your site if they had a good experience when they were there the first time. Their every doubt has to be answered and every whim and fancy considered. As much as markup languages can help, XHTML renders clarity and ease of use and puts the user in control, irrespective of his technical limitations. HTML does a poor job of this. A user is more likely to come back to a XHTML site than an HTML site, just because XHTML is more comfortable to use.

Conclusion: XHTML will ensure repeat customers and sustained business in the business in a way that HTML will not be able to handle.

Overall conclusion

For completeness, here’s the list of conclusions.
  • Use of XHTML translates to savings when hosting your site. Mileage might vary.
  • XHTML will give you substantial savings if you were considering investing in HTML.
  • XHTML will give you some amount of savings if you upgrade your current site from HTML. Mileage might vary.
  • XHTML will expose your company to a larger market than is possible with HTML, now and in the future.
  • XHTML makes your user happy with your service. Your user leaves happy.
To sum it up, XHTML is good for your business. Enough said.

This is in no way a complete list of the business gains by using XHTML. And this is definitely not a list of the techinical benefits of using XHTML. This is only some of the more important factors that businesses need to consider when they are spending on their website.

I am sure I have left out many points. Please leave me comments to fill in the gaps. Also, please let me know if I have gone wrong with my assessment. I hope this article will help developers convince businesses to invest – something that most developers find difficult. I also hope this article will make for a good reference to give to businesses to understand why going XHTML is a smart move.


Thursday, September 09, 2004

Warning: Graphic Material

This is one of the grossest set of pics I've found, and I've seen a lot of gross pics - I should know. Click on the link only if you have the stomach for it. You have been warned.
Update: Looks like this host has run out of bandwidth. Check back later.

Link Bin

The End Of Genesis

The Genesis Capsule, covered in a previous post, has crashed to the ground in the Utah desert, bringing the $260 million project to an end. The extent of damage or amount of loss is not known.
Will someone ask NASA what's wrong with them?
Via CNN, MSNBC (pic).

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Rebranding the W3C

Andrei Herasimchuk helps Dean Jackson with rebranding the W3C. The tutorial is a useful resource for any visual designer.

My Room

A corner of my room

I am bored of the typical landscape photography I was posting. So, just for a change, here's a photo that remained on my camera's memory after I was done camera-testing. I really liked this one for some reason, and never got around to deleting it.

HTML Overlays

Daniel Glazman introduces HTML Overlays. Like me, Anne thinks that its probably not such a good idea. However Anne doesn't highlight the fact enough that this idea will make your web page totally inaccessible to non-js browsers. This kind of thing is still better handled at the server. That said, this is still very interesting. I would definitely have used this if it was part of the standard.

Kalsey Doesn't Recommend Firefox

Adam Kalsey of Kalsey Consulting Group says that he thinks Firefox is not good enough to recommend yet. I think he makes a fair point, though I think he goes way overboard in the article.

I have friends with abosolutely no programming background and who'd think that cookies are something that they'd love to eat, who have transitioned from Internet Explorer to Firefox smoothly and painlessly. I guess that means everything Adam said is wrong!

Did you change from Internet Explorer to Firefox recently? How has your experience been? Do you think it is too geeky? Do you think it is more difficult to use? Has the fact that it is still in a pre-release version affected you?

It's Six!

As they would say in this part of the world, Happy Budday, Google!

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

The News Has Been Suitably Edited

Here's the top 25 censored media stories of the year. Isn't there anything you can trust these days?

Monday, September 06, 2004

Reality TV At Its Best

Welcome to the show.
You are required to catch a piece of the 400-pound Genesis Capsule as it is crash-landing into the Earth's atmosphere at a speed of about 400 feet a minute, while you are flying at a speed of 40 mph over the featureless Utah desert, with no visual clues to help guide you, while we broadcast this live on TV. If you do it, we win. You don't, and we lose $260 million.
Sounds crazy? Look at what NASA is doing.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Still More Pics

Where the heavens kiss the earth

One more from my older albums. This pic shows Pillar Rock, Kodaikanal.

Mozilla Goes From Strength To Strength

According to the stats at W3Schools, the usage of Mozilla browsers has nearly doubled in the last nine months alone, from the earlier 8.2% to 14.9%. Internet Explorer 6.0 and 5.x still command 70.5% and 7.0% respectively.
This as now been repeated over and over, but I'll say it yet again: Please stop using Internet Explorer. It is harmful to your computer, harmful to the Internet itself, doesn't help your security, is detrimental the future of the Internet, and is helping an already rich and powerful corporate to take total control over the open and free Internet, which will eventually make us Netizens lose our freedom of choice of software. This is not just a rant, or some stupid speculation - this is happening right now, and you are helping this happen if you are using Internet Explorer. Besides, Internet Explorer is the worst browser on the planet, anyway. The benefits of using Internet Explorer are too little, and the faults too great. Let's all get this plague out from the Internet society.
Instead, use a next-generation, standards-compliant, feature rich, light-weight, high-security browser, that actually cares about the best practices on the Internet. I'd recommend using Mozilla Firefox (free - no strings attached, open source, 4.8MB download - three times smaller than the typical Internet Explorer update!), though you could also choose from Netscape, Opera and Safari among other browsers.

September 5th

From the pages of The Times of India:

When Dr. Radhakrishnan became the President of India in 1962, some of his students and friends requested him to allow them to celebrate his birthday, September 5. He replied, "Instead of celebrating my birthday, it would be my proud privilage if September 5 is observed as Teacher's Day." Since then, Teacher's Day is celebrated to acknowledge the contribution teachers make to our lives.
Thank you, teacher.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Still More GMail Invites

I've got 6 more GMail Invites! If anyone needs an invite, leave your first name, last name and e-mail address in the comments for this post, and I'll send one over immediately.
By the way, is this unusual? Is everyone getting so many invites?

The Web Is Not Print

I get this so often from badly guided designers, I just had to clear it out.

Your site cannot look the same across browsers. Live with it.

And why should it? The web is not print! You don’t have control over the size of the screen, like you control the dimensions of a book. You don’t have control over the colors the user can see, like you control the printers’ color depth. You don’t know if the user can display images at all. Hell, you don’t even know if your user “sees” your web page in the first place! We just have to face it. The web is a different medium, and has to be treated differently.

This has been said before, and I shall repeat it: Content is King. No one will stay at your webpage if it has nothing that’s useful to your user, just because it looks good. And you can completely forget about a repeat visitor. On the flip side, a bad looking page can still attract large crowds if their content is valuable.

It doesn’t require genius to figure this out, but you should really be more worried about the content on your page. Making it look attractive is a good thing to add on, but is only secondary.

Don’t ever again tell me that you want a web page that looks the same in all browsers. I make good web pages now, not just good looking ones.

Such Assholes!

Over 250 school-going kids killed and over 650 injured after a three day hostage drama at Belsan, Russia, in what was probably the worst terrorist show-down in history. Can't begin to understand how the air must be there.

My DRM Or Yours?

The recent launch of MSN Music Store to rival Apple's iTunes (covered in a previous post) has raked up controversies about Digital Rights Management all over again. I was reading what Jeremy Keith had to say about it at his site Adactio, when I stumbled upon an interesting talk given by Cory Doctorow to Microsoft's Research Group.
And if you have to ask me, DRM sucks! Let me just listen to my music! Don't assume I am a thief!

Aye, Me Hearties!

September 19th is the International Talk Like A Pirate Day, matey.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Albert Einstein Quotes

And you thought this guy was all geek!

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.

If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?

The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.

Gravitation can not be held responsible for people falling in love.

Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age 18.

I do not know with what weapons World War 3 will be fought, but World War 4 will be fought using sticks and stones.

Do not worry about your problems with mathematics. I assure you mine are far greater.

Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.

An empty stomach is not a good political adviser.

Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler.

Where Does Microsoft's Money Go?

Om Malik asks The $7 Billion Question.

More Pics

Marooned. Click for larger image.


One more pic from my album at Imagestation.

MSN Music Store - Music To Your Ears?

Microsoft's MSN today officially opens the MSN music store. At $0.99 a song and $9.90 for an album, this might be pretty good. But they still can't beat the prices of my file-sharing network. (Oops! Did I say that too loud?)
Currently, this site is only in a beta US version. The international version may be released in October.
Their site, as expected, doesn't validate (725 HTML 4.01 errors, 457 CSS errors, and miles away from Section 508 Accessibility Standards). Looking at their code turns up some interesting finds.

  • The doctype declaration is on line 10 of the file. After a noscript tag and a bunch of script tags.
  • The HTML is all in mixed case.
  • The page uses (sigh) table based layouts.
  • There is a script tag after the closing HTML tag. And then a span tag too.
Yes, this is 1996. No, the web hasn't gotten better. This is a Microsoft world. Software doesn't get better. Only more expensive.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Mozilla Website Redesign

The Mozilla website just got better! It adorns mostly cosmetic changes, but in a lot of ways this one’s much better.
For those who are still using Internet Explorer, please strongly consider changing for your own good. May I recommend Mozilla Firefox 0.9.

The Attack Of The Nerds

What do nerds do when the are pissed off with the government? They attack presidents with XML! I wonder if they chose XML because it is non-proprietary? Or is it because it is platform-independent?

Beautiful Flower

Beautiful Flower. Click for larger image.

Sunkissed beauties in bloom

Shot in a cousin's farmhouse in Kerala, this is one of my favourite snaps ever.