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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


Fun with Potato Gun Durable Link to this BLOG
Fun with Potato Gun

You can't write enough about men and their obsession with machines.

One of the most fun I've had recently was at a party where an engineer brought with him a potato gun that he'd built. It was amazing -- no moving parts, and you actually use vegetables as the bullets! 

We tried to shoot tomatoes, zucchini, apples, and cucumbers. I was surprised by its power, as I smashed the target with a mere cucumber (shown below).


Not a Stinger, but a Spud!

Warning: Potato guns (a.k.a tuber launching devices)  might be illegal where you live.

• How to build a Potato Gun
• Fun with Vegetables

Picnic in the Sun

This is my latest creation...

© Vikas Kamat
Picnic in the Sun
Picnic in the Sun
by Vikas Kamat, March 2003
Acrylic on Canvas, 9" X 12"
Original Cyrille et sa mère à Marquayrol, été by Henri Martin (1860-1943)

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, March 3, 2003
Last Modified: 3/3/2003
Tags: VKPainting


Dayanand Saraswati & Arya Samaj Durable Link to this BLOG
Dayanand Saraswati and Arya Samaj

My mother has written a biography of Dayanand Saraswati who founded the great institution of Arya Samaj.

Thanks to Mallikarjun D.G., I found an Indian postal stamp of 1962 featuring Dayanandaji, and I am very proud to create a richly annotated webpage honoring a great Hindu sage.

Dayanad SaraswatiSaraswati and Arya Samaj
Swami Dayanand Saraswati's life and mission form a glorious chapter in the reformation of Hindu religious movement in the 19th century.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, March 7, 2003
Last Modified: 4/2/2003


Network Upgrades.. Durable Link to this BLOG
Upgrades to Kamat Network

I've caught the upgrade bug and am upgrading Kamat Computer Network.

I am upgrading Pascal (the name of a computer) to Win2K,  and I am upgrading the primary server to 1GB of main memory. I have also reconfigured the server Sprague to run Remocon software.

Also, a moment of silence to mark the retirement of the network node Newton (picture showing computer rotting in garage). It has served us very well.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, March 10, 2003
Last Modified: 3/13/2003


Recycled Blogs Durable Link to this BLOG
Recycled Blogs

I am tied up with appointments, bugs, and upgrades. Meanwhile, please enjoy these olden goldies:


Cricket Blues Durable Link to this BLOG
Cricket of Common Folk

If you search the web for "Indian Cricket Team Picture", you do get the picture of a team of Indian Cricket players. Probably not the one you were expecting, but the picture of a very enthusiastic cricket team from my town in India.

Cricket is such an important part of life in India, that it should be now classified as yet another religion from the sub-continent. To mark the World Cup Cricket event currently underway in Africa, I present Cricket of Commoners

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Thursday, March 13, 2003
Last Modified: 3/13/2003


Logic Anyone? Durable Link to this BLOG
Heard on National Public Radio

"We are going to ignore the UN, because Saddam is ignoring UN resolutions. To make him listen to the UN, we have no choice but to ignore UN.

To establish democratic institution in Iraq, we have to ignore the democratic institution of the UN."

Very funny. Very thoughtful.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, March 14, 2003
Last Modified: 3/14/2003


A Postman and a Post-woman Durable Link to this BLOG
Lady Postman

When in college, there was a lady mail-person who'd deliver mail at the dormitory. The boys would always kid her "Maa'm, how do you deliver everyday?!", and make her mad. Finally she got used to it, and would reply, "I deliver twice a day!" (at that time mail was delivered twice a day in Mysore).

Although this photograph is not of that mail-person, I've used that memory for the caption.

Woman who delivers everyday!

See Also:
• Somewhere in India - Candid Photographs
• Ramzanji the Village Postman

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Saturday, March 15, 2003
Last Modified: 3/16/2003


Tips from a Pro. Webmaster :-) Durable Link to this BLOG
Progress on New Server

The upgrade to is turning me from a Amateur Webmaster into a profession webmaster. So many things to do, so many things to learn...

The new server has a gigabyte of main memory, and is superfast. I am very excited about it, although it costs a fortune...

I've opted for the Ensim Webappliance, and so far the experience has been pretty good. I am yet to get a hang of thier virtual server technology (and how to cheat it), but I like the power and flexibility of the Linux engine underneath.

I have recompiled the full text search engine, and tested some key softwares (mail, ftp, php etc.) By this weekend, I plan to switch over.

Handy Tip How to zip and unzip files on Linux

To zip-up a folder:

% tar cf - /Folder | compress >ZipFile

To unzip an archive:

% uncompress < ZipFile | tar xf -

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, March 17, 2003
Last Modified: 3/18/2003


Kamat Memorial Volume Durable Link to this BLOG
Kamat the Blacksmith

Some friends and admirers of my father (Kamat, who passed away last year) have gotten together to bring out a memorial volume in his memory. I was asked to contribute, but I never got around to it, so finally I am pitching in by designing the cover page (a prototype is shown below).

Kamat Memorial

I've suggested the title to be Kammatiga, meaning a blacksmith, or a creative person. The editors have liked it. I have featured murals from Kavi Art and pre-historic cave paintings -- two areas where Bappa contributed significanly.

I am opening a new section, called All-rounder Kamat listing father's various talents. From water-colors, to cooking, to tailoring, to writing and research.

Oh what a wonderful man he was! Simple outside, profound inside!!

See Also:
• Pictorial Biography of K. L. Kamat
• Tributes to K.L. Kamat

The other title I suggested was Kaimata, meaning "Magic with Hands". This sounds like "Kamat" as well...

It was actually Niranjan (a well respected Kannada writer, and husband of more well known Anupama Niranjan), who referred to Bappa once as Dr. Kaimata !

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Wednesday, March 19, 2003
Last Modified: 3/22/2003


List of French Products (to Boycott) Durable Link to this BLOG
A List of French Products
(In case you want to boycott them)

I think the biggest losers in the war against Iraq are going to be the French. I guess that's the price of taking on a bully. Let's see how the cheese eating monkeys will withstand the PR nightmare. I have compiled below some of the products made in France (or brands with French connection) in case you want to switch brands.

  • Evian Water
  • Air France
  • Drakar Noir
  • Bic (pens and razors)
  • Lancome Cosmetics
  • Dannon Yougurt
  • Loreal Cosmetics
  • Perrier Sparking Water
  • French wines, French cheeses, French art supplies

Tomorrow: List of British Products and Services.
Why? Because the British suck too.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Thursday, March 20, 2003
Last Modified: 3/26/2003


List of British Products (to Boycott) Durable Link to this BLOG
A List of British Products
(if you want to boycott them)

Thesedays everybody seems to be using consumer boycott as a means of protest expression. Mahesh Shantaram is advocating the boycott of Times of India Group, and yesterday I compiled a list of French brands and products for you to consider boycott.

Today it's the turn of British interests to face the wrath. I've felt that during this whole Iraq build-up Tony Blair and Co. have behaved recklessly, arrogantly, and very irritatingly. The British have no moral right to mess with other nations, given their history with imperialism and exploitation of colonized nations.

Anyway, here's the list.

  • British Airways
  • Cadbury Chocolates
  • Jacobs Snacks
  • NesCafe Coffee
  • Heinz Ketchup

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, March 21, 2003
Last Modified: 3/22/2003


Spring of 2003 Durable Link to this BLOG
Spring in Alabama

The spring is here in full bloom. Here are some pictures of spring in Alabama.

Volunteer (I didn't plant them) flowers in my yard

Time to start cutting the grass again!

My lousy camera doesn't do justice to this beatutiful blossom ..

Spring is the time for some Spring Tennis (Link to my tennis blog)

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Saturday, March 22, 2003
Last Modified: 3/23/2003


Helen Keller Durable Link to this BLOG
Helen Keller

I've been a fan of Helen Keller, ever since I learnt about her life.

I have visited Tuscumbia, and the best room in my house is named "Helen Keller Sun Room".

Today, the U.S. Goverment honors Helen Keller by featuring her on the coin commemorating Alabama (image shown below).

Helen Keller Quarter

Today is day of pride for Alabamians, women, the blind, and those who believe in overcoming adversity.

Related Links:

  • The Miracle Worker -- the remarkable story of Helen Keller and her teacher Annie Sullivan
  • A Biography of Helen Keller
  • Collectible Quarters of States of USA
  • Names of other rooms in our house

    • (Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, March 24, 2003
      Last Modified: 3/24/2003


Blogging at Anna University Durable Link to this BLOG
Indian Conference on Blogging

The Department of Media Sciences, Anna University, Chennai is hosting a national conference on Blogging.

Focus is on identifying new application areas, and use of blogs in knowledge management.

Bloggers, tool-vendors, and media-persons are invited.

Date: Saturday 29th March
Time: 1:30 PM - 5:30 PM
Venue: Vivekananda Auditorium, Anna University, Guindy, Chennai
Details at 

Anda Kalathile..
(Down the memory lane)

When a young student Kaushal Sen sent me the invitation for the blogging conference above, my mind fondly recalled a conference I'd attended in the same location, once upon a time.

Once upon a time, (when I was 19) I presented a paper at Anna University. It was about making Unix  user-friendly (aha! the work is still unfinished, did you say?!). It was a great experience for me, having traveled from Mysore to Madras just to present the paper. We were given free food and accommodation meant for (I think) visiting scholars and professors. It was wonderful. There I met another engineering student, Anand Sampath who was working on robotics at that time. Anand was also great nature enthusiast and a wonderful photographer, and we went on to become life-long friends. After all these years and distances, we still meet for hiking nature trails, parasailing, or just hanging out.

I write this to encourage students in Indian universities to go beyond what is covered in textbooks and examinations. It is very important to build a network of peers and mentors for professional and personal success. Having a personal blog can help you in that endeavor.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Tuesday, March 25, 2003
Last Modified: 3/25/2003


Back in the Update Mode Durable Link to this BLOG
Resuming Updates to Kamat's Potpourri

The server migration of is now complete. I have disabled my previous e-address due to too much SPAM (please use Contact Kamats instead), installed a new ad. server and have upgraded the disk, RAM, and bandwidth (please visit often), and now I am back in the update mode.

The following are some of the projects I've been working on.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Wednesday, March 26, 2003
Last Modified: 3/27/2003


War and Advertising Durable Link to this BLOG
War and Advertising

I guess war is bad for the advertising industry. Just got a message from the ad. agency informing me that many ad. campaigns have been suspended due to war. Especially affected are media that report war news and war opinions. I guess the companies don't want to be affiliated on either side of the war debate....

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Thursday, March 27, 2003
Last Modified: 3/27/2003


Weekend Notes Durable Link to this BLOG
Weekend Notes

  • I have started on a new mega-project cataloging about two thousand illustrations sketched by my father documenting tribal life, and their relationship to the ancient cavemen. It is one of the most valuable collections Kamat left behind. Unfortunately, I am not proficient in this area, and the only cross-reference I have are some notes taken by my wife when she was in India. Thank God, we have them, although she has used the Korean script to write down the proper names of the tribes and artifacts!
  • SimplyBlog Meets Blogger API -- I created a demo application, Best of Kamat Blogs,  joining my Blog Engine with Content Management, URL Management, and SQL processing is done at Kamat. While hosting, archiving, and broadcasts are done on
  • Frankenstein Blogs are why BlogSpot is Slow -- I had heard all kinds of bad things (in terms of performance) about BlogSpot hosting, and was pleasantly surprised at how fast Best of Kamat Blogs loads. Apparently, it is commenting, Blog-rolling, and other tools is what slows 'em down.
  • I've added a new tab Regularly Updated blogs listing most frequently updated India blogs.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Sunday, March 30, 2003
Last Modified: 3/31/2003


Painting with Acrylic Durable Link to this BLOG
Acrylic Painting

Painting with acrylic has one great advantage that water-colorists do not have. It has undo!! If you make a mistake, no big deal, just cover it up!

Anyway, here's a recent painting of mine.

© Vikas Kamat
Sax Man
The Sax Man
Acrylic on Canvas, March 2003

More of my Acrylic Paintings

BTW, Yesterday was 150th birthday of Vincent Van Gogh.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, March 31, 2003
Last Modified: 3/31/2003

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