Saturday, February 28, 2009

GM Service Plus

“Leave the car here. We may be able to give it back in 4 days”, said Gowda.

“4 days! Oh come on! Do you guys always take 4 days for any kind of work?”, I said to myself.

I asked, “How much will it cost?”.

“Around 30,000”. Gowda said after a short but stretched hmmmm.

After pleading with my boss, I was able to take 3 days off from work. I decided to drive from Bangalore to Kerala for a vacation. Just 5 minutes after I started the journey, I rear ended a Scorpio on the Outer Ring-Sarjapur Road. Scorpio, being a sturdy SUV, suffered minor blemishes while my car had a dislodged front grill and  badly damaged front bumper.

“You had serviced my car yesterday. Now I have banged my car into a Scorpio. I was travelling to Kerala. Can you assess the damage? If there isn’t much damage, I would like to continue my drive to Kerala” I told the GM engineer who had serviced previously.

He said “Sir, Please take down this number. We are on Kasturba Road. But the service station which takes car of accidents is on Rajaji Nagar. You will have to contact them.

“But… Can’t you assess the damage? How am I going to find Rajaji Nagar?” I pleaded.

I drove half way across the town and found the GM service station in Rajaji Nagar. I found Mr Gowda who asked me to find my answers in GM Service station at Kasturba Road. After explaining about being directed to this service station by his brethen at Kasturba Road, he agreed to assess the damage.

“That is a lot of money” I said to myself.

“There goes a good part of my full and final settlement from my previous company” thought my wife looking at the two new checks she picked up 2 hours ago.

“What is the risk of driving to Kerala?” I asked.

A short but stretched hmmm later. “The engine hood is stuck. If the car gets heated up, you will have to put this on top of truck and bring it back” Gowda says.

I panicked. My wife and daughter is with me. Do I really need them to go through this ordeal? But, my mind cleared up and started racing very soon.

It has been 3 years since I bought the car. Never once did I open the engine hood! Not even once did the engine give me problems during the drive from Manali to Gurgaon through the Himalayas in 17 hours.

Why should I put the car on top of a truck? Why can’t it be towed? There are also plenty of automobile body shops on highway! They may be able to help.

I'M GOING TO KERALA.

After 12 hours, I reached home safely. My cousin recommended a  local automobile body shop. There were able to fix my car in nearly one-fifth of the GM estimate! They returned the car in 3 days. The car looks great.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hidden Kitchen: Kolkatta, UP Chats and Paranthas

Kolkatta, UP Chats and Paranthas is located inside the maze near the BDA complex in HSR Layout.  They operate out of a small room in one of discreet buildings.

This food is vegetarian and they specialize in all kind of paranthas and chaat items. They serve Paranthas with the curry of the day (spicy and delicious), mango pickle and raitha.

The food is cheap with a parantha at Rs 15.

The menu is funny. It says Kolkatta, UP Charts and Paranthas.

If you feel like not cooking at night and you do not want to spend a lot of money, go for this one.


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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

81st Annual Academy Awards

Two Indians won Oscars on the 81st Annual Academy Awards night. AR Rahman won 2 Oscars for Music(Score) and Music(Song) while Resul Pookutty shared his Oscar with two other colleagues for Sound Mixing.

These two Indians successfully put India on the world map! Before you get agitated, the “India is on the world map” is a rediff headline. Somebody just woke up at the rediff and took a look at the world map for the first time in their life! For your information, we were always there on the map!

Both Rahman and Resul spoke eloquently during the acceptance. For a camera shy person, Rahman did a very good job. I was even surprised when Will Smith flawlessly pronounced “Resul Pookkutty”. That was a hard one!

Although this is a very great achievement for two Indian artists, Slumdog Millionaire(the film associated with the awards) is not an Indian movie. A lot of Indians worked on and behind the camera for this movie. But the movie is not produced by Indians. Having a true-blue Hollywood backing helps in the race. They know the rules of the game!

On this day of national pride, let us thank three gentlemen who were indeed the first to achieve the impossible.

  1. Ashustosh Gowarikar for making a clean movie(Lagaan)
  2. Aamir Khan for believing in Ashutosh
  3. Ronnie Screwvala (UTV) for standing by Ashutosh and Aamir

In 2001, nobody thought we could go to Oscars. Yet, these three gentlemen left no stone unturned to get “Lagaan” into the final five in the “Best Foreign Film” category. They taught the rest of Indian film fraternity to aim high and dream big!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Hidden Kitchen: Kubay

Located near Koramangala Club, Kubay serves coastal food – a mix of Mangalorean and Goan. They announce themselves on a ocean blue nameplate which is hard to spot if you are not looking hard and the color reminds you of the sea (and the fish…).

I found Solkadi and Rava fry on their menu. It reminded me of Pune. They also serve Boiled Rice.

They also have executive meals featuring seafood curry and seafood fry of your choice with unlimited (boiled) rice during the weekdays.

Try the butter fried squid. It was yummy.

This place is ideal for a date. Quiet but good ambience.


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Judiciary versus Law Enforcement

While we were busy working on our respective official and domestic assignments on 19th and 2oth February, a high-voltage drama was unfolding in various parts of Tamil Nadu. The cast included lawyers and police while the causalities comprised of people from both categories, private & public properties and police stations. Private & private properties were vandalized and police stations burnt down.

Although our country has witnessed similar protests in the pasts, this is the most shocking. In the world of checks and balances, lawyers are a good check on the police. They make sure the police have made a good (or bad) case against the accused. They make sure a fair trial is given to the accused. They also the subject matter expert on the system (law).

Is this righteous anger against an organization that is beyond redemption? Is this why the police stations had to be purified by fire? Is this why lawyers took law into their hands?

Is this unadulterated ego? Till 19th, lawyers were a different class. They were beaten up the cops. Now, this is revenge time. Eye for an eye. In this case, your office for my property!

The whole incident is sending out wrong signals. Both of these organizations are vital for the country’s functioning. Even if one of them fails, there is no hope for us!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Movie: Sex and the City

This is the sequel to the successful television series of the same name. The Carrie Bradshaw got stuck in a time warp in terms of growing up.

The movie starts off 3 years from the time when the series ended.

Charlotte is happy with her husband. They have adopted a kid. Miranda is a busy mom, less interested in sex and still complaining about everything in the world. Samantha is still stuck with her superstar boyfriend. Carrie is still in love with Big.

Carrie and Big decides to exchange marriage vows thereby ending a 10 yr on and off relationship. But, Big develops cold feet and becomes the Runaway bridegroom.

Miranda’s husband cheats on her and confesses about the one time infidelity. Samantha is having trouble coping with the one-man situation. Charlotte is having a perfect life and gets pregnant too.

Finally, all is well that ends well.

The series is an encyclopedia on dating, relationships and fetishes! Since the episodes lasts only 30 minutes, they tell interesting stories without trying the patience of the viewer. You easily identify with the characters as you have either seen similar people in real life or embodies a little bit of it in your self.

The sex factor is toned down in the movie. The series was raunchy. Who wants to see Samantha in chains especially when it is not a metallic one and an invisible one as a result of a steady relationship?

The movie is touted to be the dessert by the people behind the camera. It is the dessert because you had the main meal (the series), you have waited for a while and now you have the dessert (the movie). If this is the dessert, I will give it a pass. I will equate this movie to the restaurant, Mainland China. The food is good. But, the dessert is a turn off.

If you are interested in the keeping up with the latest trends in fashion (woman’s), then you might like this one.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Movie: The Dark Knight

When Gordon flashes the calling card of the Joker at the end of the “Batman Begins”, my mind was speculating on the actor who will be chosen to play the role. Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of the role in the Tim Burton series was still fresh in my mind.

When Heath Ledger was finally zeroed in for enacting the role, I was skeptic. During the pre-production days, there was a lot of buzz about the psychopathic Joker. The accidental death of Heath Ledger due to drug overdose led to more anxiety and curiosity. I was anxious of not getting a Batman movie and curious about how the movie will shape up.

The story picks up where “Batman Begins” left off. Batman and Gordon are hitting the mob where it hurts. Bruce, the alter ego of Batman, has broken off with his childhood sweetheart, Rachel. Rachel is dating the new DA, Harvey Dent, who has an impeccable record of fighting crime. A new criminal, the Joker, is steadily becoming prominent.

When pushed to a corner by Batman, Gordon and Harvey, the mob enlists the services of the Joker. The Joker is successful in killing the mayor and the commissioner of the Gotham City. The Joker is arrested while he makes an attempt to kill Harvey.

The Joker escapes the prison. He kills Rachel and disfigures Harvey. He poisons the mind of Harvey. Harvey takes law in his hand and becomes Two Face.

The Joker is captured and Two Face is killed at the end. But Batman and Gordon decides not to reveal to the world about the Harvey’s transformation. Batman takes up the blame. Gotham turns against Batman.

Christopher Nolan has made a worthy sequel to “Batman Begins”. On the lines of the predecessor, the theme of “The Dark Knight” is dark and the characters are complex. The Joker is an exception. The Joker is plain evil.

Christian Bale is good as Batman/Bruce. Batman is tired and wants someone else to carry on the legacy. He almost finds a replacement. But, in the end, he loses him. Christian Bales makes us sympathize with Batman/Bruce.

Heath Ledger is fantastic as the Joker. The Joker is not a complex character. He loves anarchy. Heath Ledger puts in a great performance. He has the best lines in the movie. He has complemented the best lines with mannerisms. When Rachel confronts the Joker after he has crashed into Bruce’s party, the Joker starts talking to her. But, not before he combs his hair into place using his fingers.

Heath, we will miss you. You have become the James Dean of this decade (or even this century! Who knows!). Yes, my skepticism was misplaced!

Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman are efficient while adding respectability to the cast.

Buy the DVD. This is a collector’s item.

Tags: Movies,,Batman,Tim Burton,Heath Ledger,Christopher Nolan,Christian Bale,Michael Caine,Morgan Freeman

Monday, February 16, 2009

Dear Sunil Mittal

Dear Sunil Mittal,

You may not know me! When I signed on with Airtel during early 2007, I became part of your( and Shah Rukh’s and Madhavan’s and Vidya’s and now Saifeena’s) family.

On Valentine’s day, when members of Sri Rama Sene was unpacking pink chaddi’s and Nisha Susan was overseeing the final packages to Mutalik, I walked into our office in Koramangala with my daughter.

This was not part of a field trip! In fact, I wanted to mix business with pleasure. In other words, I took a detour while spending quality time with my daughter to cancel my old Airtel number (Gurgaon number). In these trying times, paying for my old and new numbers at the same time is going to affect the “quality time” with my daughter!

When I walked into our office, I saw a microcosm of India in the 500 sq ft office. I was bought up in a joint family culture and so, I was very excited to see other family members.

There were around 8 customer service representatives at the counter. There were fancy plates hanging from the roof announcing the areas of expertise namely Post-paid, Pre-Paid and Billing.

The queues in front of these counter were reminiscent to traffic in Bangalore. You have 2 lanes on the road. But if you look at the vehicles, they manage to squeeze another 2 lanes magically; thereby giving an illusion of a four lane road.

After examining the three post-paid counters, I chose the shortest one. The shortest one turned into the longest one in no time. I spent an hour and a half in the queue before I got near a Customer Service Representative (CSR).

The CSR provided me with a blank sheet and asked me to fill in an application. I did so. The CSR started keying in details into the computer and started consulting with other CSRs. I broke a cold sweat! In those moments, I believed I was an outlaw and I have amnesia.

My daughter broke the ice. She started asking about updates. Following this, a lot more CSRs joined in to complete the process. My daughter is very persistent and also tireless. She started asking for an update every few seconds. As a result, the CSRs displayed embarrassment, annoyance and anger in a matter of minutes. If I and some of our family members were not there to support my daughter, the CSRs would have pounced on her!

After a few minutes, they announced that my application is complete and my number will be disconnected in another 10 business days. I thanked them and stepped out. The CSRs were also apologetic. As part of the infrastructure upgrade, there are newer computer application in place. But, they are confused on how to use them.

Later, when I recalled the events of the day, I remember seeing a lot of disgruntled faces. Everyone was protesting in different ways – silently, cautiously and angrily. I could not see a single happy face in the 500 sq ft office – neither behind the counter nor before the counter.

Isn’t it time to stop on your feet and think of the following aspects?

  • Growing subscriber base without having the right number of customer service representatives.
  • Reducing the dependency on the offices when there are alternatives available – web, phone and fax!
  • Cross training the support staff (Pre-paid person would not even touch the post paid customer even with a very long pole).
  • Train the support staff when there is an infrastructure upgrade

I’m still hopeful. I am not going to defect yet. I love your “Barriers break when people talk” ad. Please continue to break the barriers. But please do not break my trust!

Your sincerely,

Airtel subscriber.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Movie: The Bucket List

Two terminally ill patients create a list of things to do before the time runs out. In other words, before they hit the bucket. Hence the name "The Bucket List".

The movie stars Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. As a big fan of American movies, I was naturally excited about seeing these two actors perform on the screen. But I was disappointed after seeing the movie.

The story is a big letdown. Two diametrically opposite people are terminally ill and ends up sharing the same room in hospital. They make a to-do list before dying. Ultimately, they end up making each other's life better.

We have seen similar stories over and over again in the past. The story is conforming to the successful formula of a "feel-good" Hollywood movie. Two protagonists. Strangers first unaware of each other's existence. Friends for major part of the movie. Then, angry with each other till the climax. Forgiving each other as the credit roll.

Morgan Freeman plays the main character in addition to being the narrator. This is a role that comes naturally to Freeman since he has been doing this from the "Shawshank Redemption" days. Jack Nicholson plays the grumpy (old) man which is again a cakewalk for him.

See it when you have run out of other options. But please watch this when you are entertaining your friends. They are other options available.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Movie: Iron Man

Robert Downey Jr! Why? Can he play a super hero?

Jon Favreau! That slighty overweight actor who has specialized in sidekick roles. Can he direct a super hero movie?

These were the thoughts that came to my mind when I heard Iron Man was a big hit during the summer of 2008. I have neither read a Iron Man comic book nor seen a Iron Man cartoon. Although I was skeptical about the movie, I ended up enjoying this one very much.

Tony Stark is a maverick, successful weapons manufacturer. On a (sales) tour to Afghanistan, he gets captured by a terrorist group. He makes a flying armor from a pile of junk to escape out of the prison. Once he reaches the free world, he has a change of mind about on how to spend his (and his company's) energy. His partner no longer likes him who eventually turns into the super villain. On a parallel track, Tony builts a super flying armor. Tony embedded in the armor becomes the Iron Man.

The movie is enjoyable because of Robert Downey Jr. Robert Downey Jr plays Tony Stark. Tony remains in your mind even after the movie. Tony is eccentric, unpredictable and restless. He is always ready with one-liners. They aren't cheesy. Unlike the other superheroes movies (read it as Batman, Superman or X men), Tony is not confused about his identity. He wants to have fun and occasionally help people. Even when his partner betrays him, there is disappointment. But the disappointment lasts only for a very little duration. He moves on.

The rest of the cast pales in front of Robert Downey Jr. I have seen Jeff Bridges for a long time. But he is no supervillain material. Gwenyth Paltrow is okay as a Tony's secretary who smitten by her boss.

The emphasis is not on action. It is on the transformation of Tony into Iron Man. The action is okay.

And finally, the overweight guy who has specialized in side kick roles... He sure can direct a movie.

Recommended. Go for it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Decoding the mind of an absent minded driver

My blackberry is vibrating. It is downloading new mails! But it has been only 5 minutes since I left home. Is it the same emails I checked from home? Damn Airtel! Why can't they synch up with my Blackberry faster?

All the recent emails were downloaded. I had checked before getting in the car! These are new emails! Whom did I piss off early in the morning? Is it my customer or my boss? The odds are even. They need to learn the art of breathing. Or is it art of living?

Let me turn up the radio. Good music. When are the commercials coming in? I love Rajni saaru, Charles and Banta Singh on this channel. But it is not as exciting as Sud on the NCR radio waves! Did Sud get married? He looks like a perpetual evergreen bachelor!

What has happened? The traffic is slowing! It has stopped completely! Should I quickly scan the subject lines of all the unread emails? Just to be sure? The traffic is moving again!

Sud and his hassi ke phunware! I miss Gurgaon. I don’t. I’m not sure. I love being here in Bangalore. At least, I love all the Karimeen fry and Karimeen Pollichathu. Of course, being near to the family!

South Indian food is adding to my waistline! Why don't I get time to exercise? Life has become so hectic! Life in Santa Clara and Pune were good. I went home durin lunchbreaks. Now, it seems to be a lifetime ago! I had to travel a lot then. But that was fun too.

What is happening with this mini-bus on the right? Is he coming closer to me? Do not invade my space. He IS coming closer. Should I steer to my left? How can I? They are 4 motorbikes on my left. Stop getting any more closer than it is.

Thanks buddy! Our vehicles are “hip”locked now. Thanks for the kind act so early in the morning. Should I pay for your kind act?

Can you hear me? You have to reverse your mini-bus. Can’t you understand Hindi? Why are you talking in Kannada? Speak in Hindi or English. Tamil is also okay. But don't expect me to talk in Tamil. I give you three options - English, Hindi or Malayalam. Pick one and I will use your choice of language to communicate to you.

Can’t you see we are "hip"locked? I can’t even get out of my car! You are on my right! How will I open the door. Pull back, you idiot! I can’t move my car forward or backward! Congratulations. You have jammed me.

Can you understand the words coming out of mouth? Can you feel my rage? I will go with hand actions. Yeah.. You move...BACKWARDS... REVERSE... REVERSE...

Are we blocking the traffic? Yes, we are! But, why are all these people honking? I am not moving unless this moron reverses his mini-bus.

Now, you are using your brains. So you are going past us in the narrow gap we have left on the two sides of the road.

But, you don't have to give me a dirty look! Why are you worried? You can move forward even though we are blocking half the road! Are you going to be late because of our “hip"lock? Serves you right!

The insurance! Do I have to shell out a bomb? The plastic versus the metallic clause on the damn insurance. Why are cars using plastic stuff? That way, the cars get cheaper and people like me can afford!

Finally, you understand me now! You are reversing. We are no longer "hip"locked. Wait. Let me check out the damage. No dents. But the paint on the door below my rearview mirror. A patch of paint is missing.

My blood pressure is rising up. I spent a fortune on this car for this moron to scrape the paint off it? Hey Mr!Pull your van over to the side. Let these honkers reach their cubicles on time(Let them be blessed with rejection or beratings based on the object they are pursuing!).

Now, let’s talk. It is surprising. You still haven’t learnt Hindi! English? No. What the hell are you talking in Kannada? No, I do not know Kannada. I didn't get time to study. Can't you see I have processing all these in mind? When did I get time?

You idiot! I do not understand Kannada. I should not leave him like this. Give me somebody who can speak Kannada! Eureka! My previous boss and good friend. He knows Kannada. Let me call him.

He has agreed to talk. Now, Mr Moron, you talk to my Kanndiga saviour. What are you talking to each other? Is he going to charge me? Hell with you. I’m going to beat you black and blue. Why are you talking for so long?

The guys in the car... They are still staring at us. Are you wondering what is happening here? I'm selling the road you are on and my potential buyer wanted to see if these were in perfect condition before giving me a quote. Are you happy? Or do you want to see the quote too?

Thank, God! Finally, you have stopped talking on the phone. My friend, what the hell is this moron talking?You mean.. it is difficult for the van driver to pay any kind of compensation. He did not have time to check. I was coming too fast. No way. I have never crossed 60 kmph. Well.. whatever… I’ll let it go. Very little damage. I will try to forget about it. Thanks man for taking the call.

Hey Mr, you go. If you can’t understand my words, look at my hand actions. DONE. GO.

Finally, I'm back in the car. It is so hot outside. Turn on the A/C. Turn on the radio. Which song is this? Well.. I kinda like it. The blood pressure and the breathing is back to normal. My blackberry is vibrating.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Avoiding Detection

During the de-stressing session at a local bar after a stressful customer interaction yesterday, we hit upon the topic of avoiding detection. Avoiding detection while surfing adult content on the web. It was a interesting crowd with married men and singles in various stages of commitment.
  • A friend is staying with his sister and brother-in-law. So, he clears the history after browsing. In his case, he got yelled at for clearing history. He still clears history. But now, he notes all the sites browsed on a notepad. After he clears history, he visits the previously browsed sites to make sure the history is intact.
  • A friend was browsing adult sites from an internet cafe. After sending him a warning, the cafe administrator kicked him off from these sessions. In order to have his money's worth, he searched and found anonymizers. Anonymizers makes the internet surfing untraceable. He started using anonymizers while browsing from the cafe.
  • A friend uses Firefox. Everyone else in the household uses various flavours of IE. So clearing history on Firefox goes undetected. This is very popular among married men. I was surprised to see a friend using this technique to escape the prying eyes of his roommates.
  • Google Chrome has an incognito mode. In this mode, you can browse in stealth mode. The webpages opened are not logged in the browsing and download histories.
  • A friend was editing the history to selectively wipe out certain visits. He was the geekiest of all and I was not able to figure out his explanation.

Sitting there and getting intoxicated, I told all of them about writing this as part of the blog. Most of them were afraid of giving away the secrets of avoiding detection. But I assured them. Human mind is creative. When restricted, we always find a better way to circumvent the restriction. Like my friend in the cafe with the anonymizer.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Movie: Jumper

Since medieval times, a war has been raging between Jumpers and Paladins. Jumpers are people who can teleport. Paladins are their nemesis. The movie begins with a jumper narrating us his story. He was a shy teenager who discovers his teleporting abilities accidentally and then perfects this skill. In eight years, he has grown into a young man who is globetrotting teleporter who robs banks to sustain his lifestyle. A paladin catches up with him. He is helped by a fellow jumper, whose aim is to kill paladins.

If you have understood the plot so far, here is the final twist. The hero's mother is a paladin.

The movie is directed by Doug Liman. He had directed Bourne Identity and Mr & Mrs Smith earlier. While I was impressed with the former film, I was terribly disappointed with the latter. I'm disappointed with Jumper too. As a director, the movie would have been exciting for Doug Liman. The movie is shot in multiple continents and multiple locations. At the same time, it is challenging to execute the teleporting sequences (even if it is all CG). Since the movie has a predictable (bordering on cheesy) plotline, all the efforts of the director in managing this complexity goes unnoticed. If you remember X2, the teleporting scenes are not even half as exciting as Nightcrawler's teleporting scenes.

Even Samuel L Jackson sleepwalks through the role. He looks bored and unconvinced most of the time.

If you want a background noise while washing your dishes, go for this one!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Hidden Kitchen: Ella's Restaurant

Ella's is located in a bylane near HDFC Bank and Nous Software in Jakkasandra. The restaurant occupies the ground floor of an ordinary building. You could easily mistake Ella's for a garage by looking at the building and sorrounding.

You are in for a surprise when you walk inside. It is very clean and hygienic. But, Ella's can seat hardly 20 people. The kitchen is situated in the front. It is kept open so that the customers can see the cooks and the clean kitchen. The tables are in the back of the building.

Ella's specializes in Pork. The cuisine is Asian (a little bit of Chinese, Malaysian and Tibetan). Check out the Chilly Pork, Kway Teow and Thupka.

Ella's is run by Kamalesh. Engineer by profession, he had worked for Escorts and also tried a short stint in real estate. He says business is good and is planning to introduce breakfast in his menu too.

This is highly recommended. A dish costs an average of Rs 60.

Please find the address and contact information below.

#52, 3rd Main,
Jakkasandra, Koramangala 1st Block (Opp Murthy Clinic)
Bangalore 34

Landline: (080) 32501929
Mobile: 98455 39215


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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Google, Human errors and Monoculture

Between 6:30 am PST and 7:20 am PST on 31st Jan, all searches on Google resulted in only websites that may harm your computer. The version 2.0 of the official statement attributed this error to a "human failure".

According to Google, they get a list from StopBADware.org. Google maintains this list through manual and automated process. Somewhere along the line, "/" was checked in as a value in this file. This makes me wonder what kind of manipulation is done manually to get "/" into the file. Is someone opening up the file and verifying it? Highly unlikely as there are around 196382 sites reported as badware sites according to StopBADware.org websites. It is not possible for someone to verify this list manually. It is likely that someone opened up the file for fun and accidentally saved while exiting out!

All said and done, the issue was fixed in 40 minutes! Be it a rollback of the bad file or release of an updated file, it is great feat for an organization to undo the damage in 40 minutes. Although it raised a lot of alarms worldwide, Google should be commended for turning this around in the shortest possible time.

Finally, all this has raised concerns about Google monoculture. We are dependent on a single software provider for our searches. Although there are different alternatives (Yahoo Search, Mamma.com, Cuil) available, I am not going to switch in the near future. I'm happy with Google. I forgive Google for a 40 minutes scare (and hopes they do not repeat it!).

Monday, February 2, 2009

No Cussing Club

Having fed up of hearing his peers swearing a lot, McKay Hatch has started a no cussing club! Mckay is a 15 years old boy from South Pasadena, California. As per the web site, it has over 20,000 members in 25 countries. Quite an achievement for an young boy activist!

The tagline is simple. "Ya wanna hang with us? Don't Cuss". They also have a video promoting "No Cussing Club".



Not everyone is amused with this idea. There is a widespread discontent against "No Cussing Club". There has been pizza orders worth $2000 delivered to McKay's house. Porn is sent to him on a regular basis. Now, he has started getting death threats. His parents has contacted the police after the death threat. Death threat to a 15 yr old! That is disgusting.

We should be encouraging McKay for taking up activism at an young age!
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