Computing, Libraries, Tennis, India & other interests of Vikas Kamat
|Teaching an Old Spider New Tricks|| |
I pretty much retired my spider Narad in 2001 after the emergence of Google, because Google could do everything that I was using Narad for.
Now that I am jobless, I thought of doing some work on Narad. Today I implemeted "Feed Auto-discovery" so I can populate the BlogXMLFeed field we had reserved during the design of Blog Portal.
Once that is done, you no longer have to ping Blog Portal with the Pickup Line, the spider will pick it up.
How cool is that?
Of course, the manual ping will continue to exist for people who blog using their own tools and for who want ping broadcasting.
Field of Information Retreival
Information retrieval (IR), sometimes called Selective Dissemination of Information (SDI) is an application of computer science where a software program makes sense of an ocean of content to determine what is of interest and what is noise. Google News is an excellent example of IR/SDI technology. Kim and I are tuning our Narad crawler to recognize scholarly content that is useful to us in compilation of the Kamat Research Abstracts.
|First Written: Tuesday, May 03, 2005|
Last Modified: 5/4/2005 10:45:22 PM
|Nashville No, Atlanta Yes|| |
| Although I did register, I am not going to make it to BlogNashville.|
And I hereby emphasize that my decision has nothing to do with Dave Winer attending the conference. On the other hand, it would have been a great opportunity to wish him 50th birthday.
Instead, I will be in Atlanta over the weekend, doing a tennis picnic.
|First Written: Thursday, May 05, 2005|
Last Modified: 5/9/2005 9:36:21 PM
|"Missing Links" Found in Kansas|| |
| The fundamentalists are at it again. This time they feel by proving Evolution theory as doubtful, they can promote their agenda.|
What I don't get is, how does Jesus become lesser God if Charles Darwin is correct?
Did Shiva become a lesser diety because Tenzing and Hillary conquered the Himalayas? After all they didn't find Shiva's house over there...
Boston Globe: How to Believe in Bible and in Evolution
My prayer: Lord, bless the educators in Kansas with some sense.
Hindustan Times: Barely Obscene -- The Art of Khajuraho Temples
Blog Portal with many bugs fixed, lots of new blogs listed, and now featuring ping-less updates (spidered updates).
|First Written: Sunday, May 08, 2005|
Last Modified: 5/11/2005 8:50:11 AM
|Humor at Kamats|| |
| Although Amma is a well-known writer of light humor in Kannda (see her books: "Samsaradalli Swarasya", "Samsaradalli Swarasya II", and "Heegiddeve Navu" ), I have not featured them (except one) on this website preferring to focus on non-fiction. I guess I could change that.|
Anyway, I thought of humor this morning because, this month's issue of "Aparanji", Kannada's humor magazine has an article on Humor in my dad's book Keetajagattu (humor found in K.L.Kamat's book on insects). That's cool, because there's a lot of humor in that book -- like how the mantis dined on her husband and the wedding of the termite couple.
IMO, the best part of Kamat family humor is that we make fun of ourseleves on so many occasions -- like the time Amma went on the diet, or the time Bappa wrote his will..
There is another aspect of Kamat family humor known only in private literary circles -- called "Vikas's Stories" -- these make-believe stories were originally told by my grandpa to entertain me. They all are centered around me -- like "When Vikas Met Ashwathama", "Decoits of Chambal Kidnap Bappa", and "Singing Hero-stones of Hadolli". These edu-humor stories have never been published, but I was very surprised one day, when a guy I'd never met before, told me "I have never met you, but I have read all of Vikas' Stories!" He even remembered the plot of many stories ("The School of Chandra") that I had forgotten!
|First Written: Friday, May 13, 2005|
Last Modified: 5/17/2005 3:38:11 AM
|Why No Comments on Kamat.com?|| |
| I am often asked why there is not a commenting system at Kamat's Potpourri.|
The No.1 reason is that we cannot handle the volume of feedback. For us, web publishing is not a profession or a religion, it is a hobby.
The second reason is the problem of impersonation and SPAM that's plaguing the feedback systems of today.
That said, patron feedback is important to any publication -- be it a blog or a newspaper, and some readers strongly feel that their opinions/contributions need to be published. I do get fair amount of feedback -- (there is a feedback button on every page on the left hand side), and I must acknowledge that many ideas and corrections are prompted by reader comments.
I do encourage our readers to write to me. How else would I know if the man fighting Bakasura is Bhima or Krishna?!
It is just that those messages are not automatically published like they used to be.
(Only lengthier articles are published in Kamat Umbrella)
I am considering writing a commenting system at this time. True to my established tradition, it won't be a Frankenstein solution, but a homegrown system.
The Feedback System!
|First Written: Tuesday, May 17, 2005|
Last Modified: 5/17/2005 12:15:29 PM
|List of New Contents|| |
| New Pictures Added to Kamat.com|
The following are the new contents published this week.
This entry will automatically update till end of the month.
How is this done? My blog software supports a content predicate called "SQL2Table" which takes an SQL statement and renders it as an HTML table. So new rows added to the table automatically appear in the blog entry.
To illustrate further, search for SQL2Table or PicToc(Pictorial Table of Contents). What you will find is a list of entries that uses this predicate. This is like indirect addressing in Computer Science. You don't point to the actual data, but instead point to a location, that in turn points to data. "I don't know where John's house is, but I know Tom, who knows where John's house is" The beauty of this mechanism is that John can change houses and I don't care, because Tom always knows where John's house is!
|First Written: Thursday, May 19, 2005|
Last Modified: 5/20/2005 8:52:49 AM
|Used Rasgullas Anyone?|| |
| Rasgulla or rasogolla (the spongy, milky, sugary balls) is my most favorite Indian delicacy. Amma has a blog entry on the Rasgullas today. Slurp!|
Anyway, I wanted to find out the most common way to spell rasgulla, and typed the different combinations (see: Trouble with Indian Names) in Google (the one yielding most number of results is the most common way), and kept on recieving this ad. (shown below).
What on earth is a used rasgulla ?!
|First Written: Tuesday, May 24, 2005|
Last Modified: 5/25/2005 10:13:42 PM
|Gaffar Khan is My Main Man|| |
| In the aftermath of Sept 11 attacks, I have thought a lot about non-violent
actions to fight terrorism -- to eliminate the root causes of terrorism. Even
when I have supported armed action, I have believed that there must be a
non-violent component to our response. A non-violent solution is not only
enduring, IMHO, it is infinitely righteous one as well.
But how can we bring about a change in an environment infested with
fundamentalism, ignorance and hatred?
I am concluding that we cannot (we as in "external to Muslim world"). That kind
of reform can only come from inside.
We need the Muslims to have a leader like Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan (1890-1988)
(a.k.a. Badshah Khan and Frotier Gandhi)
Gaffar Khan was born in Afghanistan and was a devout Muslim. He understood
the power of non-violence as a potent weapon and found courage to convince his
fellow countrymen that love and righteous behavior is the true message of Koran.
His volunteer Islamic army Khudai Khidmatgars, or
Servants of God, was a non-violent army, much like Gandhi's Satyagrahis and
opposed British rule.
Taller than Gandhi?
Gaffar Khan visited Mahatma Gandhi in his Sevagram hermitage and the two great men
inspired each other. In the photograph (never published before) above, they are
seen together accompanied by Kasturba. Gaffar Khan was really a tall man, as you
Links to Gaffar Khan's Biographies:
|First Written: Friday, May 27, 2005|
Last Modified: 5/27/2005 10:17:45 AM
|End of Google PR Disclosure?|| |
| It appears that Google has decided to end disclosing a site's PageRank. I saw it was coming because of its widespread absuse in the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) industry.|
Meanwhile, I wrote my list of "Commonsense SEO Tricks" for SEO. It is based on my own experiences and "best business practices", and sometimes go against the practices prevelent in SEO world.
|First Written: Saturday, May 28, 2005|
Last Modified: 5/28/2005 10:43:00 PM
|Arranged Marriages of India|| |
| Arranged Marriages|
© K. L. Kamat
To answer most oftenly asked questions about the institution of arranged marriages in India, I have written an article briefly mentioning the behind-the-scenes events of a typical arranged marriage.
No discussion of arranged marriages is complete without touching upon the humiliation of the bride's father during the process. Best said in a folk poem, "Soirika Phajiti". Notes and references follow the translation.
Father of the Bride (The Indian Version)
(translated from a folk song)
Can't describe the agony
Can't describe the hardships
of the bride's daddy.
Visited every home of fellow caste 
and distributed the horoscope
His shoes are worn out by wandering pillar to post
to find a suitable match
His bank account is dwindling fast
to find a suitable match for his girl
Meanwhile ticking away is bride's biological clock
worried is the bride's sister  and rest of the flock
All the powerful Gods are offered a bribe
in prayer for a suitable groom for the bride
Hurray, there's a match of the horoscope
Even though it means settling for less.
Accompanied by four men, he went to negotiate.
News is that groom's friend doesn't like the girl apparently
The groom's father will decide after hearing about the dowry
Grapevine has that the groom's mom is keen
Groom's sister is sitting on the fence
It's time to spend the money for the wedding
Grooms family wants lavish spending
Chiroti  for the friends
sarees  for thirty relatives
It's a time to bear the humiliation
of washing the in-law's feet
of bearing insults
of putting on a courteous mask and pleasing the groom's side
of waiting of approval which will never come
Raising the girl for eighteen years
with all the skills to be a good housewife
and a good mother
is not enough.
Worrying if she will be cared or loved after marriage
is not enough.
By the time the girl is married,
have no words to describe the agony
Can't describe the hardships
of the bride's daddy.
Lord is his only hope.
Frustration is his only friend.
Source: Ovyo Gavuya, Jyotsna Kamat, 2005
 Arranged marriages are typically arranged within one's own caste
 In an arranged marriage system, the younger sisters are not married unless the elder
sister is married.
 Chiroti -- A sweet delicacy usually offered in welcoming the guests
 Sarees -- The Indian drapes; see saree, sarees
First Person Experiences of a Candidate in an Arranged Marriage by Anita Jain
|First Written: Monday, May 30, 2005|
Last Modified: 5/31/2005 9:44:43 PM
|This is how I surf the web. Turns out
creating your own start page beats all portals, back-flipping,
personalized corporate pages, and book-marking tools.