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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


Design Ideas from B&A Durable Link to this BLOG
Ideas from Before and After

This month's Before and After Magazine  (B&A) features Mel and Patricia Ziegler, the couple that created Banana Republic and eventually the Republic of Tea. The story is not online, but is worth a read. B&A is the one of the only five periodicals I pay for (National Geographic, TIME, NewsWeek, and ArtNews  are others), and perhaps the the only one I read. While it is very pricey, I must say that I have learnt a lot from it. Soon I am going to go over all old issues trying to create a new look and feel to Kamat's Potpourri website. Here're some stuff that I've learnt from B&A:

  • Do you know why the FedEx logo is so cool and distinguishable? Look at the logo again (shown below), there's a arrow between E and X that indirectly conveys speed, and forward movement to the brain. Such hidden meanings (like the "A to Z" in Amazon logo) are very important for the brand name and recognition (Y'all know about the "Coca-cola font").

    Hidden meaning in Logos

  • How to use the wheel of color, or why yellow and blue are such a good combo.
  • How to design banners for the web. It's all in cropping.

The "No Tears for You" List

My tears are only for Serena.

Blooywood Fest @ TCM

Do not forget the Indian movie festival on Turner Classic Movies, starting today. Complete Schedule.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Thursday, June 5, 2003
Last Modified: 6/7/2003


Pan Fried Catfish Durable Link to this BLOG
Recipe: Pan Fried Catfish

This delicacy has won me many friends:


• Six Farm Raised Catfish
• Coarse, all-purpose flour
• Chili Powder
• Minced Garlic
• Tamarind Paste
• Salt
• Cooking Oil


Clean the Catfish and marinate in a paste of minced garlic, tamarind paste, chili powder, and salt in equal proportions of one tea spoon each. Marinate for about five minutes.


Dip the marinated fish in a thin coat of coarse flour and roast on the pan for about 10 minutes at 350oF

Turn the fish a couple of times for equal distribution of heat and spices.

Fish is done when the outside turns golden brown. Serve with steamed rice.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Saturday, June 7, 2003
Last Modified: 6/7/2003


A Grave Misstep Durable Link to this BLOG
Buy Hillary's Book Here

I hear Hillary Clinton's new book is already a best-seller. I thought of getting a slice of the pie and designed a banner (shown below):

Buy Living History at Amazon

A Grave Misstep

Israel cannot play mean and expect Hamas to take the high road to peace. That ain't gonna happen.

What Israel did today (tried political assassination) is nothing short of terrorism by a state.

President Bush correctly has issued a rebuke.

Only in America

Yesterday I bought a network card for my aging notebook Pascal (that's the name of the computer. See names of other computers on  network). It was $39.99 with $30.00 cash back (you know, they give you some money if you fill a form and authorize the vendor to send you junk mail). Then I saw a box that was already open and BestBuy offered it to me for $19.99.

So altogether, I got a free PCMCIA network card, and also got $10.00 cash!

I don't think there is any other place on earth where you get more money  than what you paid for buying something!

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Tuesday, June 10, 2003
Last Modified: 6/24/2003


Tit for Tat Violence Durable Link to this BLOG
Tit for Tat Violence

Reciprocal revenge violence spreads in Israel-Palestine, and I am reminded of Ganhi's famous words:

"Eye for an eye makes the whole world blind".


(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Thursday, June 12, 2003
Last Modified: 6/12/2003


Greetings from Florida Durable Link to this BLOG
Greetings from sometimes sunny, many times rainy, Florida panhandle.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Sunday, June 15, 2003
Last Modified: 7/3/2003


Some Wishes... Durable Link to this BLOG
I wish..

I wish I were here (Link to ALA Toronto) mingling with librarians, than being bitter about learning so far nothing new .NET technology.

I wish I had not unloaded the gold stock that I bought just before the US invasion of Iraq. That thing has doubled!

I wish it quit raining here in Birmingham this year, so the grass didn't grow as much and so I could play some tennis.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Thursday, June 19, 2003
Last Modified: 6/19/2003


Winning Business by Blackmail Durable Link to this BLOG
Winning Business by Blackmail

This is a true story.

In 1989 I was working on a project in rural India, and sought the help of a local newspaper (I advertised our service) to spread word. I was an outsider to the town (Town of Sirsi) and I had selected this newspaper based on a recommendation from a relative. Our advertisement ran everyday for a week and generated a great response for us, so I renewed the campaign.

What I didn't know was of a great rivalry between this newspaper and yet another one operating in the same town. One day I was shocked  to find our advertisement in this other newspaper as well. It was much bigger advertisement. I investigated if they really were owned by the same owner, and why he was generous to me by placing bigger advertisements than what I had paid for.

No, the two were really fierce competitors, and  the fact that one of them had garnered the new advertising revenue had not gone well in the other camp. I was amazed by the genius of the editor, in attracting our attention and funding. But I was angry at him, because I thought a newspaper spreading our message  (disguised as advertisement) without our consent,  was not appropriate. "What if you advertise in the newspaper that my company is closing down?" -- I took objection.

They pacified me. "Look Sir, this is a small town and both publications deserve your patronage."  In reality, however, they had blackmailed me, in paying for the advertisements.

Point to ponder:

It is illegal to defame a company or person by spreading a damaging news/advertising message; but is it OK to spread positive message supporting a company without their consent? This is just like Klu-Klux-Klan holding a fund raiser for Red Cross (or for Augusta Nationals) isn't it?

I mean, can you tell someone not to support you?

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, June 20, 2003
Last Modified: 6/20/2003


Gems in Kamat Diaries Durable Link to this BLOG
Unending Supply of Gems in Kamat's Diaries

Every time I browse through Bappa's notebooks, I find fascinating stuff. Today I learnt about the difference between Tanjore and Mysore traditional styles of gesso art.

Or the mouse-mask worn by a panicked villager that I had never noticed in this picture.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Sunday, June 22, 2003
Last Modified: 6/22/2003


Wimbledon is Underway Durable Link to this BLOG
Wimbledon Underway

Wimbledon is off to a tumultous start with the biggest upset possible (defending champion and strong favorite, crashing out in first round).

See Wimbledon updates in Kimbo's TopSpin.

Merchandise Blog Post

My thanks to the six people who ordered Hillary Clinton's book by clicking on my banner.

Here's the Harry Potter banner for your consideration.

Order your copy of "Order of the Phoenix" here.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Tuesday, June 24, 2003
Last Modified: 6/24/2003


Photography via Photosyntesis Durable Link to this BLOG
Rediscover the "Photo" in Photography

Of course, y'all know the photo in photography means light. Photography is a wonderful technique that mankind discovered.

There is another photo-processing technique that goes in nature that we don't think much about, especially in the context of photography. The process, of course is photosynthesis, the process by which the plants produce their own food, using light and carbs.

Meet the genius of Binh Danh (link to NPR) who has combined the two -- photography and photosynthesis. He exploits the ability to the leaf to react differently to different intensity of light, to make photographic pictures. 

Binh Danh really prints photographs on leaf ! It is amazing! See for yourself.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Wednesday, June 25, 2003
Last Modified: 6/25/2003


About Reducing Junk Calls Durable Link to this BLOG
About Reducing Junk Calls

The US Government has started a Do Not Call list, which is supposed to reduce the number of junk telephone calls you recieve.

A friend writes (via email):

Guess who is exempt:
  • Politicians
  • Charities
  • Anyone you have done business within the prior 18 months.

"Hello, this is Slim Whitman thanking you for your recent purchase from any of the following gas stations, of which I am a 0.00001% shareholding owner: Exxon, Chevron, Amoco, BP, Shell, Getty, Starvin Marvins, Racetrak, JollyTime ....

I am calling today on behalf of the American Red Cross. If you purchase my Greatist Hits album today, I will personally donate a penny from each and every sale.

I would also very much appreciate your vote for County Councilman during the next election cycle. Thanks for the loopholes, sucker..."

BTW, have you noticed how many of the new telemarketeers are from India? After the emergence of voice-over-IP technology, junk calling from India has become real cheap..

FYI, according to the FAQ,
Any telemarketers calling U.S. consumers are covered, regardless of where they are calling from. If a company within the U.S. solicits sales through an overseas professional telemarketer, that U.S. company is liable for any violations by the telemarketer. The FTC can initiate enforcement actions against such companies.

To me, it would have made more sense to build "OK to Call" list, making it optional; only those who wish to be called needed to register...

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, June 27, 2003
Last Modified: 6/28/2003


Misc. Updates Durable Link to this BLOG
Misc. Updates
  • The Aperture Photo Blog gets static rendering What's This? -- For performance reasons, I have changed the page to be baked, rather than to be fried. You can see the difference yourself. Here's the dynamically rendered  (or fried) version of the same page.
  • Amma's Column -- Interesting post on the use of pigeons in governmental organizations (post office, police force) in India.
  • AshaNet is preparing for their annual fundraiser. My appeal to our readers from a previous year.
  • I have started reading S.L.Bhyrappa's famous autobiography Bhitti (in Kannada). It is gripping both as a literary masterpiece as well as a documentary of life and poverty in pre-independent India. It is as disturbing as it is philosophical, and taken my admiration for S.L. Bhyrappa to a new height. This book is going to make my "All Time Favorites" list.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, June 30, 2003
Last Modified: 7/3/2003

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