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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


Crowbot Goes Multi-user Durable Link to this BLOG
Lone Crowbot Goes Multi-user!

The word Lone Blogger is used for someone who uses his or her own blogging tools (courtesy: Blogicon).

I've been a Lone Blogger, using my own tools, and as Yourish says, "Being a Lone Blogger isn't bad at all".
Till someone else needs to use your tool, that is.

My mother started a blog recently, and I evaluated Blogger and Radio Userland to make her blog. We needed the advantages of both the tools which seem to be mutually exclusive 8-( -- edit from anywhere as well as content managed blogs. After struggling for a week to join our CMS with either of the tools (which I am told, is not possible, because the XML/RPC interface supported by both systems (Blogger API, Radio API) is at a very high level, and not at a granularity required for sophisticated publishing), I decided to make my tool multi-user capable.

It was a painful undertaking, because at every decision making process, I had to distinguish between my blog and her's, my shortcuts and her shortcuts, my templates and her templates. The BLOGSearch had to be modified also. But I am getting there. See a test blog.

The obvious next question now is, how can I make this tool available to public?

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Saturday, June 1, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003


Historians See More Durable Link to this BLOG
Historians See More

I was writing captions for some of the pictures and came across this sculpture in which the two women seem to be arguing.

© K. L. Kamat
Exchanging Colors

I asked my mother, a historian, as to which period the sculpture belonged.

"Probably 16th century A.D." she replied, and pointed to the following details in the picture, that I'd missed.

  • The women are not fighting, but playing a game of exchanging colors -- possibly on the occasion of the Holi festival. The syringes and the refill of colors in the hands indicate this.
  • Notice the hook on their blouses. One can be certain that the blouses were tailored.
  • Notice the frills on their skirts. It probably shows the contemporary way a saree was worn.
  • Notice the decoration on the pilaster. We can see influence of Hoysala school or art, even though the sculpture belonged to the Vijayanagar period.

Links for History Buffs

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Sunday, June 2, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003


New for May 2002 Durable Link to this BLOG
New for May 2002

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Tuesday, June 4, 2002
Last Modified: 1/30/2003


Review of French Open Website Durable Link to this BLOG
The French Open Website

First, link to the Roland Garros Website.

Second, Story on Technology Behind the Website

Then, a Review of the Website.

Summary: Very good in usability, content, and navigation.

Web designers must study the layout of this site to build high traffic portals. The font is very readable, with distinct sizes emphaizing the importance.

What I Liked
• The color combination used in reporting scores & schedules
• The interesting "Did you know" factoids. I'll be copying them
• High quality pictures
• Smart search engine found players even when I mis-spelled the names

My Suggestions for Improvement
• I want to know how a player got to this stage.
• I tried to buy a ballkids polo shirt, I couldn't figure out the size nomenclature.
• I don't want to choose a language every time I go there!
• Link to Paris time in the toolbar. Very thoughtful.

See Also:
• Review of Ericsson Open website

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Thursday, June 6, 2002
Last Modified: 1/23/2003


New Contents Durable Link to this BLOG
New Contents

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, June 10, 2002
Last Modified: 6/10/2002


Blog Vacation Durable Link to this BLOG
nice +19 blogs

I will be extremely busy till July 15th making a living, and regret the sparsity of blog updates.

My surflog for this morning:
• BBC: Kashmir al-Queda Nexus -- as if that is news
• What I want for this Christmas
• Rediff: Terrorist Vs. Terrorist -- now the army can withdraw

If you are wondering what the title of this blog means: nice is the UNIX command to lower the priority of a task.
19 is the lowest priority allowed on my server.

BTW, if you are Microsoft Windows user, changing priority is something you cannot do. ;-- )

• Search AnthoBLOGy for Unix, Microsoft Windows

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Wednesday, June 12, 2002
Last Modified: 1/24/2003


How to Handle Request Stampede Durable Link to this BLOG
How to Handle More Customers than You Can

I have been swamped with projects. Each demanding top priority and great diligence. There's no way I can handle 'em all.

So, I'm performing what is known as the Tirupati Haircut.

Tirupati is a place of Hindu pilgrimage in Southern India, where the devotees tonsure their heads in sacrifice to the deity. On certain days there's so much rush and stampede at the barbers' that the barbers just cannot handle the demand. Each devotee loudly demands that their head be shaven immediately, lest they go to a different barber.

So the barber has a trick. He shaves off only a part of the head and moves on to the next customer. Every customer thinks that his turn has come, but has to wait a long time before the shaving is complete. At the same time, the barber has effectively garnered the business because you won't go to another barber with half your head shaven!

That's exactly what you should do when you have ten top priority tasks. Begin one, don't finish it, but move on to next. That way you have engaged the customer (rather than losing him), while denying the opportunity to the competition.

• Business Wisdom from the Streets of India

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, June 14, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003


The Business of Aggregation Durable Link to this BLOG
Weekend Wisdom

I did a lot of magazine reading this weekend, and hereby I share what I've learnt :-

  • Poverty is reducing in Asia and increasing in Africa
  • Pakistan's ISI and Terrorist nexus is far thicker than we know
  • The challenges Microsoft faces in the future has much to do with business processes than with technology.
  • Attorney General Ashcroft's seat has become very hot. He might have to resign.
  • An eminent Muslim is running for the President's office in India.

BTW, I know of two entrepreneurs who built a large empire based on what I just did (read magazines and summarize them for friends).

The Story of Jerry Seaman and Tim Collins

Gerald Seaman and Tim Collins of Topsfield Massachusetts were both magazine enthusiasts and used to read a lot of magazines. They shared the list of most interesting articles with friends and family and discovered that this compilation was very much appreciated. So in 1984 they started  Popular Magazine Review (PMR) that published summaries of articles from periodicals such as Time, and National Geographic, which was an immediate hit. With PMR you no longer needed to weed through lots of stories -- the best stories were compiled and summarized for you by Seaman and Collins!

Seaman and Collins expanded the idea to include popular magazines, hobby magazines, and then to cover journals and scholarly publications. Their company, eventually merged with EBSCO, is the largest aggregator of content today and is the lifeline of reference content for libraries in the Western hemisphere.

Here's a hat tip to Jerry, Tim and EBSCO for the vision to see the need for intelligent aggregation.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Sunday, June 16, 2002
Last Modified: 1/24/2003


The Meaning of Largest Durable Link to this BLOG
The Meaning of Largest

Apropos: Earlier today we were amused by a press release that claimed that had overtaken Google in the size of their document index.

Soon after the release came out, the site was down, perhaps too busy to handle the sudden burst of traffic and load.

In the afternoon, I had an opportunity to poke around. Remember the that provides the search for many of the blogs? It's the same engine, and the 2.1 Billion web pages they claim to have indexed are really the 2.1 billion permalinks (the name anchor) the bloggers so enthusiastically and automatically insert in their blogs. So one page of Winer's Scripting News (who btw is hospitalized, I hear -- "Get well soon Dave") is consided as 100 documents by AllTheWeb ;-- )

While I welcome a new search engine, I am not blown away by AllTheWeb.
Further, they seem to provide deep links to images (unlike Google) in their ImageSearch which prevents display of copyright notices, and is a sure invitation for trouble. Publishers typically frown upon linking only to images.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, June 17, 2002
Last Modified: 1/26/2003


The Wonder of Ghotuls Durable Link to this BLOG
The Wonder of Ghotuls

Savage or Civilized?

Where in the world can a brother and a sister sleep in the same room with their respective lovers?
Answer: In the Ghotuls of India.

Read about the fascinating educational institution of Muria tribals in Schools of the Jungle.

Now enhanced with newly added pictures.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Tuesday, June 18, 2002
Last Modified: 1/24/2003


Wolrd Cup Soccer Durable Link to this BLOG
Korea Runs Out of Red Cloth!

Spoke to my wife's family in Korea and shared some of the excitement of Korea's shocking victory over Italy. They said the entire nation has gone soccer crazy. Yesterday, 3.5 million people poured into the streets to celebrate the historical victory and the country ran out of red clothes (the jersey color of the Korean team).

And cry baby Italians have fired Ahn Jung-Hwan and are blaming referees and FIFA.

Starbucks Coffee Getting Bitter?

The company the popularized drinking coffee in a coffee-shop is now under criticism from two different circles. First for trying to profit from the WTC look-alike twin-coffee-mug campaign, and then for showing insensitivity to the Palestinians.

I'd like to see someone boycott Starbucks for the right reason -- overpricing of coffee.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Wednesday, June 19, 2002
Last Modified: 1/26/2003


Immature Indian Press Durable Link to this BLOG
Immature Indian Press?

I am concerned by the number of stories carried by Indian press criticizing an article in Time Magazine showing the prime-minister of India in not-so-good light.

C'on people. Until we start criticizing and rediculing the leaders, India won't become a mature democracy.

The parivar (coterie) seems to be upset that Time Magazine disclosed Vajapayee's drinking habits (drinking is frowned upon in India). I say it is not as embarrassing as the drinking habits of one of his predecessors ;-- )

FYI: Morarji Desai, a former prime-minister of India, and a distinguished parliamentarian, practiced urine therapy.

Perhaps the problem is not with the press, but with the people.

What's the role of press in a nation with low literacy and where even smaller percentage that actually buys newspapers?

Links for the day:
• Jay Dubashi provides a reality check (article at NariWorld) for Indians and Indian journalists.
• Engrish Quotes compiled by Aaron in Japan (first seen at Camworld)

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Thursday, June 20, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003


Technology and Racism Durable Link to this BLOG
Technology Will Cure Racism

This morning Wired News has a story of how a DNA study shows close relationship of Appalachian people with an ancient tribe in India.

Earlier this year I also read a research paper (citation is shown below) that found elements of the same tribe in the genes of southern brahmins.

So, down with the superior race and superior caste theories. We are all really same!

Gutala Venkata Ramana, Bing Su, Li Jin, et al.. Y-chromosome SNP haplotypes suggest evidence of gene flow among caste, tribe, and the migrant Siddi populations of Andhra Pradesh, South India. European Journal of Human Genetics, 9/1/01 (Vol. 9, No. 9) , pp. 695-700

Vi Users Never Die

VI (pronounced /V-I/ never /siks/) is the first visual editor I knew and my fingers learnt how to use it. When I developed the Programmer's Disease I tried to go back to vi, hoping to reduce my usage of the mouse. Like bicycling and swimming, you can really never unlearn what the body learns, and vi skills came back to me naturally.

This week, I was very pleasently surprised to discover that Google keyboard shortcuts actually supported vi keys for navigation. Very Cool.

Vi users never die, they keep yanking (vi's mechanism for copy & paste) back.

Also, I didn't know Bill Joy (the creator of NFS and Java) was the author of Vi.
Some people have all the ideas....

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, June 21, 2002
Last Modified: 1/24/2003
Tags: racism


Indian Mafiosi Durable Link to this BLOG
Ugly Faces of Indian Mafiosi

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Saturday, June 22, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003


What's New Durable Link to this BLOG
What's New

What's Updated

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Tuesday, June 25, 2002
Last Modified: 6/25/2002


Links for the Day Durable Link to this BLOG
Links for the Day

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Wednesday, June 26, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003


What's New Durable Link to this BLOG
Updates to Kamat's Potpourri

The June Newsletter is out. Sign up for Friends of Kamat to receive it every month.

AsiaFirst has a very flattering review (scroll to fourth paragraph) of Kamat's Potpourri.

Amma's Column is now full-text indexed. You can use either the search box to the left or the BLOGSearch to search through the archives of Amma's Column.

Arun, a longtime patron has a suggestion -- Why not include technical details of the photograph (film, camera, aperture settings etc.,) in Kamat PICTURESearch
Still considering.....

I am working on a AutoBlog to be released soon.

Sneak Preview of Kamat Community Typewriter.
There's no documentation of the coolest features yet. Like typing the name of a picture to include it. Eg: [[56052]] will give you a picture of Taj Mahal. [[stub 56052]] will give you a stub of the same picture, etc. Nor are the coolest features enabled. Eg: Updating your blog via MetaWeblog API.

Wait a minute. Perhaps I should stop developing and install Movable Type instead.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Thursday, June 27, 2002
Last Modified: 1/23/2003

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