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


TinTin's Diary II Durable Link to this BLOG
Link to TinTin's Diary - I

Spring is a beautiful time to be in Alabama. The Cherry Blossoms, the Dogwoods, the Azaleas all bloom at once and if there is a dog paradise, it is here in Birmingham. This is a picture of my house taken today - you can also see me with my friend Barkley in the yard.

Spring in Alabama 2005

The daylight savings time is supposed to start this week, but I have no concept of time or period. For me there are only two times: playtime and sleeptime. I play when I am not sleeping and vice versa. There is one exception -- that is during a thunderstorm when I can neither play nor sleep. Thunderstorms are quite bad in Alabama.

My day starts when my friend Champ walks into my yard and when I fetch my collar in preparation to go out. Then I play with my toys, then I play with Barkley, my neighbor. Then daddy takes me to the lake to "take care of business" - if you know what I mean. My daddy tells me that they are going to build an apartment complex on lake front soon, which he is not happy about, so he asks me to make merry as long as it is available to play. I play freely on the lakeshore without a leash. Barkely who accompanies us, however is on the leash, after a couple of his attempts to run away.

Lake View

Then I eat lunch either at my house or at Barkley's house (whoever has more delicious snacks) and take a nap. But I am a light sleeper -- the UPS man, the Postwoman, kids messing around in the neighborhood, squirrels running amuck are all matters of great interest to me and I cannot afford to miss any action in the afternoon.

I get to go for a walk with daddy and mommy again the evening if they are not playing tennis. I say "Hi" to all my friends in the neighborhood (Pepi the Chihuahua, the Old Guy on Chippenham, the Brown Dog Barkley once tried to hump, Brownie the Vagabond are some of the other dogs that I look forward to greeting).

In the evening I play with my toys. I have a stuffed Nemo that I like a lot. I usually go to sleep on the sofa while the Kamats watch TV or surf the web.

My grandparents who visit from Korea say that I have a very good life. But I do get stressed -- like when I left that red plastic jacket in Barkley's house and daddy kept asking me "Where is the Raincoat? Where is the Raincoat?" I didn't know what a raincoat was, and I got stressed.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, April 1, 2005
Last Modified: 4/8/2005 6:36:51 PM


Link Fatigue Durable Link to this BLOG
Link Fatigue

I define excessive linking on a webpage -- however relevant-- as link fatigue.

Pages on Wikipedia are perfect examples of link fatigue.

To reduce link fatigue on our pages, I have installed a "Link Only if not Already Linked somewhere in the Page" rule in my CMS. So if a keyword like Gandhi appears more than onece in the page, only one of them will be hyperlinked, and not every occurance.

The only time when excessive linking might be acceptable is to define cross references like my page on Ramayana where every character can be studied.


• Library Journal: Do Digital Libraries Volate Ranganatha's Laws? (via )
• Ranganathan -- India's First IT Guru

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, April 4, 2005
Last Modified: 4/4/2005 10:17:37 PM


This and That Durable Link to this BLOG
This and That

My article "The Call of Yama" has appeared in the recent issue (cover date of May 2005) of Family Therapy Magazine Secure Site - Requires Login published by American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

I am excited to recieve a gift of never before seen photographs of Gandhi, taken by Mr. V.N. O'key.

The photographs are so old, the silver (the old black and white photographs contained considerable quantity of silver compounds) has almost oxidized.

I am eager to publish them online in our Gandhi Album as it includes some rare pictures and Gandhi engaged in daily activities.

Nely Discovered Mahatam Gandhi Album Lessons from a Micro-patron Experiment "Consider Advertising"

Some guys working in a call center in India stole $350,000 from CitiBank customers and it is bringing the outsourcing industry a bad press.

BTW, here is a list of Research Papers on Outsourcing to India

Ping-Pong: I have implemented Pinging Technorati functionality to the Blog Portal. So just pinging the community server is now enough to percolate the ping to and Technorati.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, April 11, 2005
Last Modified: 4/13/2005 9:56:16 PM


Dynamics of Mixed Doubles Tennis Durable Link to this BLOG
My much coveted Championship Towel arrived today:
Local Mixed Doubles Champion

I play mixed-doubles tennis once a week (I play a lot of tennis with men on other days), which I enjoy very much due to the mixed intensity and social aspects of it. Many married couples play mixed-doubles and the courts provide a unique frontier to test or celebrate the compatibility ;-- )

I do not know any other sport where men and women can compete together, and the dynamics of mixed-double are quite unique in that sense. The male is supposed to intimidate the opponents, yet the female has to carry much of the burden (because assuming that she is the weaker of the two, more balls are fed to her side of the court).

Some of the stories from mixed-doubles tennis:

  • I sometimes partner with a lady from India, who is very good. A lot of people assume that she is my wife. One day, someone asked her "Are you married?" and she said "yes" without realizing that the opponent meant "Are you married to each other?", and it led to a lot of explaining.
  • The number of times I have seen the husband make their wife cry: Three
  • The number of times I have seen a woman go home in the middle of a match because the man was too critical: One
  • The number of times my partner got upset and asked me to play the match alone: One
  • Man to his partner (not his wife): "Whole day at work, my boss tells me what to do, whole day at home, my wife tells me what to do. I don't want you to tell me what to do on tennis courts!"

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, April 18, 2005
Last Modified: 4/22/2005 1:34:38 PM


Preserving Konkani Culture Durable Link to this BLOG
Amma's recently released Konkani book ("Surgya Sar" - Collection of Traditional Konkani Wedding Songs) is already making an impact on Konkani language and culture.

A week long camp (April 19-23) has been organized in Bangalore to teach Konkani housewives how to sing these songs and women from five different states have come to participate and learn. It is the hope that the next time these women will attend a wedding, they would sing some of them, teach some of them, and revive a tradition.

In my own family, there was an aunt who knew these wedding songs called Hovis (or Ovis), after whose death the tradition has disappered, and I am glad to see the hard work of my parents come to frution.

Update (Oct 2006): Now you can buy the Ovyo- Gavuya CD in USA for $9.99

The organizers of North American Konkani Conference have asked me to make a list of prominent Konkanis of 20th century. I have started a list please make suggestions for additions.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, April 22, 2005
Last Modified: 10/27/2006 2:36:15 PM
Tags: konkani


Convoluted Love Affair with RSSs Durable Link to this BLOG
My Convoluted Love Affair with RSSs

OK, there are two different RSSs.

One is a XML format for broadcasting headlines that is gaining momentum, and another, a voluntary organization in India that is losing momentum.

Both are formidable, and I have had a love-hate relationship with either of them.

Some stories:

I grew up as a member of RSS (1970s). I have met great men while I was at RSS -- my thinking and ideology has been shaped by my years in RSS . I must be quick to add that I am no longer a member, and the RSS of today is not the RSS that I was member of, due to their involvement in communal politics and their extreme Hindu nationalistic approach since 1990.

(Wielding the RSS Weapon ;-- ))

In 1990s I had an opportunity to dine with a senior RSS leader, who was then aligned with the VHP-BJP political ideology. I asked him how the grassroots support for RSS was, and he said -- "RSS is dead; It's all Hindutva now!" He was not articulate, but I knew what he meant, and that's how I quit RSS.

On a recent visit to India I went to a RSS branch (shakha) to take a picture for Kamat's Potpourri and felt very sad for the organization that enjoyed so much popular support during the days when I was a member -- neighbors used to bring goodies for the volunteers and the shakhas were full of energy and fun with Kabaddi, Suprabhat, Yoga, and moral education.

Anyway, on to the RSS that is hot.

Some years ago (year 2002) I gave reasons why RSS is not necessarily good and resisted providing a RSS feed.

But today I crossed over to the good side and cranked up a RSS feed for Kamat's Potpourri after a poll in Friends of Kamat group showed substantial interest.

Go ahead and subscribe:

If you do not know what this means or how to subscribe, look at the right-bottom corner of your browser. If you are using FireFox (which you should), you will see this icon: Click on it once and when "Subscribe to RSS" appears, click it again. That's it! Now you will be able to see the new contents in your Bookmarks Kamat's Potpourri

Long live RSS

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Saturday, April 23, 2005
Last Modified: 4/23/2005 6:34:18 PM


No Tears for Microsoft Durable Link to this BLOG
Vic Gundotra says " I Love This Company" in the backdrop of a lot of bad news for Microsoft (top talent leaving, flat stock price, some gay rights stuff that I do not understand).

Anyway, We have heard "I Love This Company" thing before Video (link to video where Steve Ballmer acts like a drunken monkey), but the fact is that Microsoft is a company loved only by Microsoft Coterie.

Gundotra says "just look outside the window" to appreciate Microsoft.

I say, "just look outside of Windows®".

N.K. Kulkarni is No More

Brahmin Eating Dinner with Hands

Noted Kannada scholar N.K. Kulkarni passed away in Dharwad yesterday (via telephone from Amma). Popularly known as "Enke" and "Nani Kaka" he was a source of inspiration to many, including my parents. He was 93.

I am still soliciting additions to the list of famous Konkanis

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, April 25, 2005
Last Modified: 4/25/2005 10:40:45 PM


Content Managed Feeds Durable Link to this BLOG
After years and years of infighting and bickering, the feeds are taking off -- the fact that you can include advertisements in them is a sure sign of it.

That brings us to Feed Generators. Like everything else on this site, I have a custom feed generator and I didn't know what to do with all those custom tags (a.k.a. "shortcuts" or "substituions", you know stuff you enclose within [ [ like in Wikis). I studied how others do it.

Apparently nobody does it!

So if you see Dave Winer's feed, his Radio Userland's shortcuts are not actually rendered, and appear in double-quotes.

Perhaps that is by design -- to water down the feeds. Mumble. Mumble...

See Also: Content Managed Email

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Last Modified: 4/27/2005 1:05:35 PM


Link Suggestions Durable Link to this BLOG
Link Suggestions

• Asita Prabhushankar: What Does it Take for a Woman...
• All You wanted to Know About Frogs and Amphibians (hat tip to Ravi Hegde)
• Painful topic of Partition of India
• Indiana Universiry: Prof. Blaise Cronin on Blogs.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Thursday, April 28, 2005
Last Modified: 4/30/2005 10:17:00 AM


Regurgitated Thoughts Durable Link to this BLOG
Whom Did Draupadi Really Love?

The Swayamvara Wedding
Draupadi by Nandalal Bose

Draupadi, as you might know had five husbands, and I ran into this thoughtful question while reading about "Yuganta" by Irawati Karve.

I would have guessed that Arjuna was her favorite husband, having won her over. Or is it Bhima who saved her from Dushasana and Kichaka? He was strong and mascular too. But remember? Bhima had an affair with Hidimba. Bhima had an another wife Hidimba. Or is the one of the twins? I've heard that women always nurture a non-obvious, secret lover in their hearts... No, No, it has to be Dharmaraya -- only he was faithful to her.

Dr. Karve creates an incident to illustrate the scene. On way to heaven (Mahaprastha) with husbands, Draupadi is the first to collapse. Instead of helping her, Yudhishtira moves ahead saying "She had been very partial to Arjuna and loved him the most". By the time Bhima comes looking for her, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva have all died, and Draupadi, shocked by Dharmaraya's comments is still alive. Bhima then asks her what he could do for her, and a very beautiful moment follows. I am not going to spoil it for you, but the incident provides a lot of fodder to ponder.

Some notes after browsing through Thursday's links

I liked the purpose of Asita's Article. It is quite true that the girls in India are not raised to be leaders. However I feel the article is lopsided only in favor of financial independence for women, and doesn't quite address the question raised rather ambitiously in the title. What about emotional independence? spiritual independence? intellectual independence ? In my experience even financially independent women lack these skills and it becomes a barrier to their "true independence and fulfilment".

Of course, if one defines success as to mean financial success, I have no case. But is it?

In the other link, Dean Blaise Cronin is coming down very hard on Bloggers. I cannot say that he is not right, after all most of the blogs are indeed "Bathetically Ludicrous Online Gibberish"!.

I agree with most of his analysis, yet Cronin doesn't it. Blogs or whatever you call them -- basically self-published websites (like Kamat's Potpourri) is a new phenomenon, equivalent of which was never available before.

Then in the last sentence, he pisses me off -- "Librarians, of course, know better."

Dear Professor, the hard link between scholarship and publication has been broken. Get used to it.

Also, the librarians are in the business of managing publications, not in the business of managing scholarship, in case you've forgotten.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Saturday, April 30, 2005
Last Modified: 5/3/2005 9:47:15 AM

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