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Vikas Kamat
 Vikas Kamat is a programmer- entrepreneur living in Birmingham AL. This blog is a complex mix of Indian culture, life in southern USA, computer sciences, and sports. Opinions are his own.
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Best of AnthoBLOGy

Unripe Revolution
Rooster's Dharma
Don't Know Jack
No Love for Condi
Blogger's Block
Father of  the Bride
TinTin's Diary - I
TinTin's Diary II
Hate Bollywood
Child Labor
M.F.Husain Guilty
Marathi & Konkani
Artist's Daughter
India's First IT Guru


Computing, Libraries, Tennis, India & other interests of Vikas Kamat


Happiness is... Durable Link to this BLOG
Happiness is...

..demonstrating to your best friend various ways to tie a turban.

...reading your favorite author's book, as your wife plays with your pet in front of fireplace

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, February 2, 2004
Last Modified: 2/2/2004


Knuth in the Neighborhood Durable Link to this BLOG
Knuth in the Neighborhood!

I delightfully welcome Knuth (named after Dr. Donald Knuth), a brand new IBM Thinkpad (I have always wanted a ThinkPad; this is my first) computer on the Kamat network.

Vikas's Network Neighborhood

All our computers are named after great scientists, and this one was a toss between Knuth (one of the most cited scientists of modern era, per ISI Web of Science) and Krishnanand (my father that is, and a scientist at heart).

See Also:
• Shopping for Dijkstra
• Kamat's Scientific Photo Lab.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Tuesday, February 3, 2004
Last Modified: 2/4/2004


Microsoft Bug-fix Causes Service Disruption Durable Link to this BLOG
Microsoft Bug Fix Causes Service Disruption

Microsoft has released a new patch to IE browser that no longer supports the following syntax.


It is very disappointing to see Microsoft drop a key feature in HTTP protocol with its new version of IE. Many custom authentication mechanisms made use of this completely legitimate, and correctly supported by other browsers, feature. At the time of this writing, Athens, a life-line of Access Management Services for libraries in Europe was broken for those users who have setup "Auto Windows Update".

So much for being responsible, innovative company.

TriNetre: How Microsoft Fixes Bugs

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Thursday, February 5, 2004
Last Modified: 2/5/2004


History and Mystery of Kamat! Durable Link to this BLOG
History, Mystery and Diversity of Kamat!

Sometime last year there was a guest entry in our Guestbook by V.K. Deshpande that referred my father as "KL". I'd never heard that before, and obviously it conveyed a close friendship. So I contacted him.

This week, in he what he calls History, mystery, and diversity of Kamat he remembers Bappa and provides some insights into how the massive Kamat Archive was formed.

Just to give you an idea of the depth and span of Kamat archives:

  • Estimated 200,000 photographs of India -- that is more than ten photographs taken everyday of the year, for fifty years !
  • Twenty-two published books in Kannada covering different regions of India and discussing contemporary social life
  • Estimated two hundred articles published in popular, and scholarly periodicals
  • Over a thousand hand-drawn illustrations of hard-to-photograph topics, notes spread in twenty diaries

All this was done by one poor man without a job (Dr. Deshpande's assertion that Kamat did not find employment in India is true. It is perhaps also true that Kamat lived poor by choice), or any institutional help.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Sunday, February 8, 2004
Last Modified: 2/9/2004


Kamat in Deccan Herald Durable Link to this BLOG
Kings and Scholars

Amma's Column: Of Kings and Scholars is a fascinating blog entry connecting Chandragupta Maurya (an emperor), Chanakya (a great scholar), R.Shamasastry (a great scholar who discovered Chanakya's lost works) and a prince of Mysore. It ends with a beautiful subhashita

See Also: Full text of Shamasastry's English Translation of Arthashastra (thanks to patron Ravi Shekhar for correction) Nitishastra. External Link

Deccan Herald on Kamat

Today's Deccan Herald newspaper has a profile of K.L.Kamat in its supplement Spectrum. See online version Versatile Talent

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Tuesday, February 10, 2004
Last Modified: 8/10/2004 8:01:23 AM


Love ThinkPad, Hate .NET Durable Link to this BLOG
Love ThinkPad, Hate .NET

I just love my new IBM Thinkpad. Not since the days of Compaq Aero have I fallen love with a portable computer. I love the usability of the keyboard (one suggestion: move the rarely used Fn key somewhere else, it is occupying the important position of the Ctrl key!), the crisp display, and especially the ThinkLight (a miniature white-light on top the display). The wireless worked flawlessly and the nicely loaded (1GB RAM, DVD) machine is fast.

Rather, I should say, it was fast, till I installed .NET development environment.

Am I the only one who thinks .NET is very slow?

Punishment for Using Microsoft ASP?

Recently I was talking with the president of a services company torn between investing in .Net and recuperating his prior investments in VB/ASP (now called Classic ASP).  He said that all his programmers wanted to redesign the company's systems in .NET, and asked me pointedly,

"Tell me Mr. Kamat, what is the benefit to my customers if we use .Net in our products?"

"None!" I said, and he looked excited.

I continued, "Except that in a year or two from now when Microsoft pulls the plug on ASP, you will still have a business to run".

His face fell as if to say "is this the punishment for endorsing prior Microsoft technologies?"

Visual Studio Magazine: "Microsoft's loyal customers deserve better." I agree.

Leaves as Art

"In All Directions"

Newly discovered watercolor paintings by Kamat.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Wednesday, February 11, 2004
Last Modified: 2/14/2004


Pictures of Kammatiga Release Durable Link to this BLOG
Picture Albums 2004

Kamat Memorial Volume

By popular request, I have uploaded some pictures taken at the "Kammatiga" volume release function with some notes. As I have mentioned in it, it was really a great experience to see the vast range of people who loved and admired Kamat -- although Kamat himself was an extremely shy man and shunned publicity till his end.

Also see some pictures taken during my trip to India.

Impending Google IPO

CNET: Google is Overrated.

IMO Forrester Research is overrated.

I have had it with these do nothing, "hit-and-run" consultants. Have they been right on anything?

I not only want to see a runaway success for Google's IPO, but also would like to see Google being able to search my desktop, my e-mail. I'd like to see a Google browser.

Sign me up for a thousand shares please.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Saturday, February 14, 2004
Last Modified: 2/15/2004


Goa-Karnataka Nexus Durable Link to this BLOG
Goa-Karnataka Nexus

For the souvenir issue of forthcoming Konkani conference (to be held in Los Angeles on July 4), I translated one of Kamat's unpublished artciles on the friendship the people of Karnataka and the people of Goa over the centuries. It is an interesting read.

K.L.Kamat Death Anniversary

A small function will be held in Honavar on Sunday February 22nd at 5:30 to remember Bappa. If you are in region, please do attend.

Udayavani: Keeping Kamat's Memory Alive (Kannada Language Content; my thanks to patron Ganesh Katte for sending the link)

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, February 16, 2004
Last Modified: 2/16/2004


Pitch for Blog Portal Durable Link to this BLOG
A Pitch for Blog Portal

Times of India: Are you blogging yet?

If you have a blog related to India, please consider listing it in Blog Portal. If you are already listed, please consider pinging it.

Here's a brief pitch on why:

  • Some enthusiasts have created tools that you can install on your blog-software to automatically ping the Blog Portal.
  • Blog Portal has a Google PageRank of 7. There cannot be an easier way to get your site listed on a PR7 website!
  • Blog Portal is NOT a self-service directory. Self-service directories quickly lose value because of the junk they attract. Like DMOZ, a human carefully selects what goes in, what stays out.
  • Blog Portal supports input and output from several sources and in several formats.
    Output of Blog Portal is available as XML, RSS and now even  as ATOM  (there are some bugs in it, they will be resolved soon)

If you want to start your own free blog, I recommend Blogger. If you want to start a sophesticated blog, I suggest you consider SimplyBlog software. It is free for personal use.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Wednesday, February 18, 2004
Last Modified: 2/18/2004


India Shining Durable Link to this BLOG
India Shining

On a recent trip to India I found a new kind of exuberance among India's middle-class. Those who have benefited from the recent reforms and opportunities are creating a "feel-good" paranoia. They point to the new job opportunities in call-centers and other technical areas like programming, accounting, and research, and to the new nation building mega-projects underway. It is indeed a wonderful development.

However, my pessimism or disappointment comes from two sources.

First, this is not the first time Indians have engaged in such mass-hysteria about the nation. In my own lifetime, I have seen it twice. After the dark days of emergency when Indira Gandhi was defeated and the nation breathed a fresh lease of freedom and life, how enthusiastic the population was! All the grandeur plans, all the ideology, all those "Unity in Diversity" campaigns.

Then during the turbulent 1980s the Indians elected Rajiv Gandhi with a stunning 4/5th majority ! He was young, exposed to the West and had new ideas, and virtually no opposition to implement his plans. I was in college then, and I do recall all the grandeur plans, all the ideology, and all those Unity in Diversity campaigns.

Secondly, I firmly believe in Mahatma Gandhi's vision of "Comprehensive Development" (Sarvodaya) as the only means for India's future. At this time, the advancements in economics and free trade are not accompanied by social, religious, and environmental reforms. It is absolutely necessary to widen the scope of developments so all the strata of the society are benefited.

See Also:
• India Shining propaganda by the Government of India, and its cost (Rediff)
• Extreme Nation -- The Contradictions of India

Kamat Remembered

Udayavani: K.L.Kamat Remembered (Kannada Language Content)

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Tuesday, February 24, 2004
Last Modified: 3/30/2005 7:22:12 AM


Ban on Veils Durable Link to this BLOG
On Ban on Veils

Saree Worn to Cover Hair of a Rajasthani LadyRajasthani Woman in Veil  Carrying Child

I maintain a FAQ on Women of India, and a number of people have asked me if and when India is going to ban veils and other covering-of-the-head as they have done recently in France.

The freedom to practice one's religion is one of the fundamental rights in India, and any such ban will be no doubt perceived as unconstitutional and immoral by the population, and as far as I know, no such initiative has been considered in India.

Of course, my mind quickly wanders into the discussion on whether such mandates are appropriate. We do know that forcing one segment of the people to wear something is wrong, as the Nazis and the Taliban did, but is forcing a segment not to wear something, wrong?

I tend to think so.

Laws of any land should be designed to protect against  injustice, and I see no reason how forcing a Sikh not to wear a turban, or a brahmin not to wear the yajnopavita (sacred thread) serves justice. I am now convinced that the French deserve all the hate and ridicule targeted at them.

Another of the frequent questions asked to me is how come the Indian women still wear sarees while the men seem to have adopted to Western clothing, and if that was a sign of suppression of women in India.

The answer to the question is rather complicated, and multi-folded.

  • The traditional Indian clothing for men is very much prevalent in rural India, as well as in urban homes. The stitched shirt has been used in India for many centuries and can be hardly considered a western influence. One must not assume that traditional Indian attire for men is obsolete or unfashionable.
  • It is true that the veil  (purdah) system was once common in India and was used as a suppression of women's desire to go out or participate in the society. However, social reformers in 19th and 20th centuries have changed many of the social evils in the Indian society while leaving the traditional customs as they were. So while we see that India Gandhi when she was the Prime-Minister of India covered her hair, it would be incorrect to classify her practice as obeying the fundamentalists!
  • Indian women do wear non-Indian clothes! The Salwar-Kameez, that is very popular in India came from Middle-East.
  • Some outfits like skirts or shorts are considered too revealing for women in India, yet the saree that shows the bare midriff and navel is is considered respectable. It is a cultural thing.

But what do I know? I am a man.

See Also:
• Rajasthani Woman in Veil Carrying Child
• Saree Sapne -- Celebrating the Indian Saree

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Wednesday, February 25, 2004
Last Modified: 2/25/2004


Pass Through Searching Durable Link to this BLOG
Pass Through Searching
(a.k.a. "I'm Feeling Lucky" Search)

Most people know about Google's "I'm Feeling Lucky" button.  But the idea is very old, has been in use for several years and is known as "Pass Through Searching/Linking".

The technique is this. If the search engine has enough confidence that it has met the exact match the user is looking for, instead of showing the user the search results, she is taken to the target. It reduces clicks and builds confidence and trust in users (for two reasons: (a) the search service provider is giving up on an opportunity to display a page, and (b) the users will learn to use a search criteria that will give them the exact match for the repeat searches).

Today I have implemented Pass Through Searching on Blog Portal.  If the search returns only one result, it will directly take you the appropriate site.

I like it because, instead of having an elaborate blog roll, I have one word shortcuts.

See Demo:

Try Also: Amma, Anita, Bangalore or any keywords that gives you just one result

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, February 27, 2004
Last Modified: 2/27/2004

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