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Kamat's Potpourri

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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

Startup Wisdom Durable Link to this BLOG
Mahesh Shantaram: Indian Blogs are just like the Olympics -- because five of us have to represent a billion people !

Startup Wisdom

I read a very thought provoking essay by C.K.Prahalad, a respected management guru, in the recent issue of SiliconIndia (in print edition, this story is not online, otherwise I'd point to it) about corporate re-engineering to meet the challenges of true globalization. The author calls for systematic re-organization of products and services to meet the needs of the poor in countries like India, China, and Brazil. This is a brilliant strategy for large  corporations, but a true eye-opener for startups.

Some ideas from the article are contained in this document -- The Bottom of the Pyramid (pdf document)

BTW, SiliconIndia.com and Garage.com have been sending me e-mails selling seminars on How to Go Public. Are these guys out of touch? or desperate for any kind of revenue? The former even has a seminar on How to Get out of a Startup. Reminds me of the movie Breast Men -- the doctors first make money by implanting silicones, then make money by removing them.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, October 01, 2001
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

Terrorists Attack India Durable Link to this BLOG
Terrorists Attack India (again)

• Kashmir Assembly Bombed, 35 dead
Plane Hijacked

Farooq Abdullah: Bomb Pakistan (via Rediff)

Washington Post: Befriending a Terrorist

Corrections to the Kamat Calendar

I am very surprised by the number of people relying on Kamat Festival Calendar to celebrate their festivities. I must do a better job of it in the future. Some notes & corrections:

• The observance of Karwa Chauth is on October 16th
• Deepavali the festival of lights is on November 16th.
• The Dasara Festival is on October 26th.

Q: How did you determine these festival dates?
A: Very good question, because I found no two sources matching all the dates.
I have a 2001 Kala-Nirnaya calendar that I bought in India. They have a website, but (possibly to promote their products), the information is not online. I have relied on this Panchang to determine the dates.


(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Wednesday, October 03, 2001
Last Modified: 1/26/2003

Tired and Wired Durable Link to this BLOG
10:17 PM: The Kamat e-mail is back up.

The Kamat e-mail server is down, and apparently has been since yesterday. So if you sent an e-mail in the last 24 hours, I did not get it. My alternate e-address is: vikas_kamat at yahoo.com

Tired
  • Yahoo Toolbar -- ya, right, adding advertising to it will make it more useful
  • Endless self-patting of Bloggers on how they covered the Sept.11 attacks
  • Microsoft Office
  • Attack on Civilization rhetoric 
Wired
  • Google Toolbar - ain't that highlight feature cool?
  • Blogging tool vendors who are  quietly transforming web content
  • Online Office Productivity tools
  • Forceful action against terrorists, and people who support them

MSNBC: Inside the Muslim Mind -- I commend Mustafa Saied for speaking up. This is a task only the educated and the bold can undertake.


(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Thursday, October 04, 2001
Last Modified: 1/23/2003
Tags: tired

Muslim Girls and I Durable Link to this BLOG
The Muslim Girls and I

When I was twelve (in 1979), once I had to travel to Bangalore (a city) from Honavar (a small town). It was an overnight journey by bus, and my uncle had pre-purchased (reserved) a seat for me by the window.

It so happened that the two passengers who shared my seat were two beautiful, Muslim girls, barely 20, and also traveling by themselves. They were probably sisters, lived in Bangalore, and were returning after spending a long vacation in Honavar. Apparently, they were very popular. Every Muslim youngster worth his salt in Honavar was at the bus station to bid them goodbye, as if to his sweetheart. See, Muslim girls of the period in Honavar were restricted in movement due to conservatism, poverty, and just lack of recreational means in the town, so it would have been impossible for a young Muslim man to even talk to another Muslim woman unless she was a relative. (Most Muslim girls did not go to college then, although there was an open-again, close-again girls only Urdu school in Honavar during the 70s). So my thinking is that the fact that these boys could just talk to the sisters on the beach, must have been a great source of fascination.

The farewell took a long time, but the driver and conductor were glad to oblige. The sisters had to constantly refuse goodies, and promise to write letters. I had never seen so much adulation for non-film stars in India.

I sat stiff in my seat, taking caution not to touch the girl at shoulder or at waist even by mistake. I was a Good Brahmin Boy, and did not want any trouble. There was no talk whatsoever. After a couple of hours into the night, a gentleman wanted to switch seats with me. To my great surprise, the girls quipped "No way, he is with us!" It was not until many years later that it occurred to me that it was their way of keeping the unwanted advances away.

We reached Bangalore in the morning, still no exchange of words between us. As I got off the bus, the girl who had spent the night sitting beside me smiled at me -- it was a pure, beautiful, and a memorable smile. Then I looked at the other girl and received the same smile again!

I moved to Bangalore years later, and whenever I was in a Muslim neighborhood, I'd prepare to run into the sisters. Of course, I never did.

I write this today because it occurred to me for the first time, that even though I grew up in India, a country of 180 Million Muslims, the number of Muslim friends I have had is fewer than five (two of them I met after I left India), and that I have never had a conversation with a Muslim woman. The closest I got was the two girls in the bus.

This upsets me, because Muslims in India are progressive, affectionate, friendly (most of them anyway) people. Earlier generations of my family have had long standing friendships with the Nawayatis (Islamic community of Persian descent) and Daldis (Konkani speaking farmer and fishermen community). My father has photographed a number of Muslim women in the past, something that he is afraid do today.

Why are we closing communication channels between the people, rather than widening them? Don't we know what happens when there is no communication and understanding between the various communities of the earth?

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, October 05, 2001
Last Modified: 10/7/2001

Pretend Fight, Pretend Cry Durable Link to this BLOG
I Pretend Beating, You Pretend Crying

There was a poor family in my village in India, who was always under debt and financial hardships. They owed money to every merchant in the village. Every time a creditor went to their house for collection, he would find the couple in a fierce, family fight with husband trying to beat up the wife, and the wife crying for protection from the abusive husband.

Turns out that it was a clever ploy by the couple not to face the creditors. Afraid of being dragged into the family feud, the collectors would go away. The strategy worked every time!

The emerging feud between Sharon and Bush reminds me of this strategy. "Let us pretend a fight between Israel and USA for now, so the Arab nations can support the alliance."

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Saturday, October 06, 2001
Last Modified: 1/29/2003
Tags: desitale

Eventful Sunday Unfolding Durable Link to this BLOG
Eventful Sunday Unfolding

Looks like the fall season (autumn) is here in Alabama.

I met some friends I went to grad. school with, and learnt various perspectives to the 911-01 attack. I didn't know the history of the word crusade that seems to have caused som much turmoil, or the fact that Saddam Hussain was a secular ruler, nor did I know the ghastly status of women under Taliban. Of course, we talked about dot-coms and dot-nets.

My fantasy football team, the Dancing Cobras is in doldrums -- Jeff George is out, Ricky Watters is out, it was a bye week for Peyton Manning, and Chris Chandler screwed it up 8-(

We've found a major securtiy flaw in CBS Sportline's Fantasy Football Control Panel -- During the game you can change the lineup! Worse, you can change your opponent's lineup!! And don't even get me started on the poor usability of the website. I really miss Yahoo!'s Fantasy Football.

Of course, you do know that the Afghanistan was attacked by the US and British forces.

By popular demand, I am writing a tool that will allow our readers to make their own PhotoQuits What's This? using our pictures. The software should be available by next week.

Many people have asked me many questions on the Computing by E-mail Content Server I am writing with Hiryoung. I will answer them when I have them ;-- )

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Sunday, October 07, 2001
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

The Jain Center of Indragiri Durable Link to this BLOG
Indragiri
• 3347 feet above the sea level
• the monolithic statue is 57 feet in height *The ivy madhari (Gaertnera racemosa) is carved on the body of the statue. This ivy, a popular flower locally (known as kadu gulaganji) blooms in spring.
• Ganga king Rachamalla's minister Chavundaraya erected this statue 974-984 A.D. From the inscriptions in Indargiri, we can say that the statue was released for public view in 983 A.D.
• on the right hand side of the statue there is a six feet statue of a chauri bearer. The bearer is ecoaretd i the Hoysala style attire and is holding fruit in offering. A female figure of equal size and stature is carved on the elft side.
• The dwarapalaka at the left of the premise has four hands. There is a mantapa carved of stone during the early century (erected by minister Baladeva). There are nine statues --of eight dikpalas and one of Indra The outside compund was builr by the Ganga king in 1117 A.D.
• Over the years many devotees hasve erected forty three statues -- all but tow being those of Jaina teerthankaras. A merchant Basavi Shetty is said to have contributed 24 of them in 1200 A.D.
• There is a five feet statue of Aji in black marble said to have been erected by Chavundaraya at the footsteps of a Brhmadeva sthamha. *There is a monolithic great door on which Goddess Laxmi with a herd of elephants . On the either sides of the great entrance are temples for Bahubali and bharateshwara. King Bharatesh built them in 1130 A.D.
• Numerous names of Jaina gurus are mentioned here. Jaina poet Bopanna (a.k.a. Sujanottama) has described the life of Bahubali. He was the son of first tirthanaka Purudeva and a younger brother of Bharata. A feud broke out among the brothers to share the inheritance and they decided to fight it out. Bahubali wins the duel which consisted of contests of concentration, ideas, and physical duels. Yet, he lets Bharata inherit the kingdom and takes to meditation, discarding everything -- including clothes. He stood straight and medidated without moving. In due course of time the ivy grew on his body and snakes built snakehills. Eventually, bahubali became visible on to the Jains sages (or invisible to the ordinary people), and Bharata erected a statue of bahubali in the city of pandanapura that was as high as the height of 525 bows. Minister Chavundaraya could not pay a visit to this statue, and instead erected one locally. After the commisioning, Chavundaraya coronated the statue with tremendous volume of milk, and the story is that the milk never flowed though the feet of the statue. Finally, there was a devotee Aji who had brought some milk in the shell of a Gulekai fruit. As soon as this milk was poured, the whole milk flowed downthe statue as a river of milk. Hence the town is nemed Belagola. This also explains the statue of Aji.

An incomplete statue of king Bharata can also be found in Chanadragiri

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Sunday, October 07, 2001
Last Modified: 10/7/2002

Some Interesting Searches Durable Link to this BLOG
Some Interesting Searches that end in Kamat's Potpourri
(Some relevant, some not, some disturbing, some funny)

• Churchill's views on India -- Original Search on Google
• Homemade wine -- Original Search
• How to Punish Wife's Lover -- Original Search on Google
• Men's Brief -- Original Search on Yahoo!
• How to make potpourri -- Original Search on Google
• Kitchen Counter Art -- Original Search on Google
• Visual Basic Source Code -- Original Search on Yahoo!

Handy Tip You can anonymously find what people are searching for, using our Nosy Surfer (Adhik Prasangi) tool.


(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, October 08, 2001
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

Understanding Muslims Durable Link to this BLOG
Understanding Muslims

The Muslim Girls and I : Even though I grew up in India, a country of 180 million Muslims, the number of Muslim friends I have is fewer than five, and I have never had a conversation with a Muslim woman.

Oprah Winfrey: Islam is a Peaceful Religion

National Review: Holes in Oprah's Program

Tribune: Pakistan Masterminded the Sept.11 Attacks -- I believe this is true; perhaps without the knowledge of the President... We've since heard that the Pakistani President has fired some of the pro-Taliban officers from the military.

A Must Read Arif Jamal on Jihad (AsiaTimes Story)

The tragedy is that while the whole of non-Islamic world is trying to seperate senseless terrorism from Islam, the non-terrorist Muslims are not helping us. The most they have done is to keep silent. I call upon them to issue an edict against Taliban and Osama bin Laden.

For people who say Islam has always been full of violence and intolerance, I point to the life of Moghul Emperor Akbar, who built a powerful, prosperous, and righteous nation because of his tolerant policies.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Tuesday, October 09, 2001
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

Bug in Blog Calendar Durable Link to this BLOG
Kamat Blog Calendar

I personally think calendars are unintuitive way to surf the web, but everybody seems to be using them to navigate blogs. Anyway, here are the blog calendars for the months of September and October.
 October 2001
.123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031...
 September 2001
......1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829

Oops, I just noticed a defect in the Kamat Blogging Engine! September 30th is missing from action in the above calendar 8-(

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Wednesday, October 10, 2001
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

Why Kamat has No Email Durable Link to this BLOG
"Email is a wonderful thing for people whose role in life is to be on top of things. But not for me; my role is to be on the bottom of things" -- Donald Knuth on his website.
Why Kamat has No Email

My father (the Kamat of Kamat's Potpourri) has no email access. The hundreds of email messages we recieve every month to his contact address (kamats @ kamat.com) are checked for relevancy (by me) and are resolved via snail-mail (print and post), telephone, and letters.

Kamat has no email for the same reason 99% of the world's population has no email access.

Email is too expesive, too technical, and too fragile. My father has never had a vehicle, has no television, no computer, and no refrigirator for the same reasons (?) (He just has cameras, about twenty of them.)

On the other hand, I am an email junkie. If I get up in the middle of the night to go the bathroom, I make it a point to check my Inbox. I get anxious if I cannot check email for several hours. I get about fifty personal messages, and ten work related messages; I reply to about half of them. I subscribe to two mailing lists, but those messages directly go to the trash bin. My email is scattered on six different computers, in various formats (AOL, Unix, Yahoo!, Outlook, Outlook Express), and it is a royal pain for me just to keep up with the email. Email is like as addiction to me, and I look forward to being sober from it.

See Also: My other complaints about email

Note that I have decided to drop the hyphen from e-mail, at Professor Knuth's suggestion.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Thursday, October 11, 2001
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

Indian Weddings Durable Link to this BLOG
Indian Weddings

We have opened a new section on the history, mystery, and the diversity of weddings in India.


Weddings in India -- Customs, Traditions, & Varieties
Q: Why do Indians marry their cousins?

In India, a woman after marriage is considered part of her husband's family , not her father's. By this definition, maternal cousins are not part of the same family and can marry. Indians not only can marry maternal cousins, but also can marry maternal uncles by the same justification. The concept of keeping the wealth inside the family has only added to the custom.

No, I am not married to my cousin. But one of my cousins is married to my aunt's brother, who is also my grandmother's nephew (see chart -- Fun for the Whole Family)

Please Note

  • Paternal cousins do not marry in India.
  • All of the marriages among cousins are actually arranged marriages -- meaning neither the bride nor the groom have been consulted.
  • Contrary to the title of my comment (Fun for the Whole Family), most such marriages - especially among the educated, have resulted in deep resentment of elders after they realized their unscientifc, and unnatural (see the movie Angels and Insects ) unions.
  • This practice is on the decline in India.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, October 12, 2001
Last Modified: 10/11/2001

Content Rotation Durable Link to this BLOG
What is Content Rotation ?

Content Rotation is the technique by which content publishers (TV studios, magazine publishers, websites etc.,) recycle previously published contents, to reach audiences missed during an earlier broadcast. It is an effective way for content producers to get ROI (Return of Investment) on popular content that they own. In the television world it is called the re-runs, in Cosmopolitan it is called How to have Great Sex, and on MSN, Seven Stocks to Watch

The idea is same -- great content is extremely hard to produce, so sell popular old content over and over again.  

Website Content Rotation

The Internet advertising industry is the champion of content rotation, although it is the advertising banners that they rotate. The decision to show which and how many banners is decided based on sophisticated user and surfing profiles. The Web publishers can learn a lot from their experiences.

A simplistic content rotation just involves picking a random story or picture and displaying it. Picture intensive sites like Corbis do this; every time you refresh the page, you see a new picture. An arbitrarily generated number determines which picture to display. Our Kaleidoscope is implemented this way. It is an inexpensive way to amuse visitors for a long time.

But you do know that not all content is equal. Some photographs are prettier than others, and some episodes more popular. A good CMS (Content Management System) must adaptively rotate superior content more frequent than inferior or unpopular content. A sophisticated, personalized content server would actually learn (like Tivo does) a users habits to suggest most relevant content.

Content Rotation Tips

  • A publication based on news has a much smaller place for content rotation (imagine seeing last week's news on news.yahoo.com or last year's weather on weather.com !), than a website like ours where the content has much longer life-span.
  • There is danger in rotating just popular content; the users might feel stale. The trick is to blend popular content (most read pages) with quality content (editors' favorites)  that for some reason did not receive the exposure it deserved.
  • The designer should find an order in the chaotic world of random numbers (randomization is the essence of content rotation). For example, on Kamat's Potpourri I have segregated the rotations by the type of media (pictures, blogs, articles), by dates and periods (latest, other), or subject categories (theme or genre).

  • (Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Saturday, October 13, 2001
    Last Modified: 5/24/2002

Top 10 Dialogs Durable Link to this BLOG
Top 10 Dialogues from Indian Movies
(Transalated to English)

As expected, many people wrote to me about my blog on Why I do not watch Bollywood. I still stand my ground, and to further redicule Bollywood, I am listing below the English translations of some of the most common dialogues from Hindi movies.

  1. "I am going to be the mother of your child"
    ("main tumhaare bachche ki maan banne waali hoon.")
  2. "Lord, I have never asked anything from you till now.."
    ("Bhagwan mainey tumse aaj tak kuch nahin maanga.....")
  3. "Everybody stop taking law into your own hands!"
    ("Rukjao! kanoon ko apne haath mein mat lo")
  4. The villain, about to rape the heroine, "Nobody is going to come here to save your honor"
    ("Yahan teri izzat bachane koi nahi ayega")
  5. "Address me as mother once before I die"
    (" Ek baar mujhe maa kehkar pukaro beta")
  6. "Bodyguard, beat up this guy and throw him out!"
    ("Gurkha, isse dhakke maarke bahar nikaal do")
  7. "Save me from the rapist!"
    ("" Bacchhhhaaaooooooooooo.......")
  8. "Stop the wedding! This cannot happen!"
    (" Thairo! Yeh shaadi nahin ho sakti !")

Ok, I said top 10, but there are only 8. See, I told you Bollywood was shallow. Rearrange the dialogues in different order and you get the storylines of over 250 Hindi movies

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Saturday, October 13, 2001
Last Modified: 10/14/2001

What's Next Durable Link to this BLOG

Coming Attractions at Kamat's Potpourri

The following is a list of stories and sections we are working on.
We regret that we are unable to provide any specific dates/information on these than provided below.

Kamat Goes to a Cockfight!

Recently Kamat had the rare opportunity to witness an ancient custom in India; and much to the discomfort of the participants (Cockfights are illegal in India), he photographed them.

Appeasing God -- Photographic exhibition

Ever since Kamat saw Stephen Huyler's Meeting God exhibit, he wanted to his own series on the topic.

The Indian Tri-color
Patriotic India

During August of 2001, the Kamat couple had an opportunity to witness the Independence Day celebrations in a rural village in India. Heart-warming pictures on the spirits of the Real India.

Artist Naranappa
Unknown Artists of India

Kamat goes to great lengths to identify some of the great artists of India, who have largely remained anonymous.

See Also:

  • Kamat BLOG -- daily updated news, views, and amusements at Kamat's Potpourri

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Saturday, October 13, 2001
Last Modified: 10/21/2001
Tags: whatsnew

Respecting Bollywood Fans Durable Link to this BLOG
Pleasing Bollywood Fans

OK. Bollywood fans. I hear you, doesn't change my position on Bollybood, but here's something that'll cheer you up.


Zeenat Amaan in Satyam Shivam Sundaram

Many have written that since Bollywood is popular, it must be good. Microsoft Windows is popular, is it good ? Osama bin Laden is popular.. OK. I stop.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Sunday, October 14, 2001
Last Modified: 1/29/2003
Tags: bollywood

Content Rotation Durable Link to this BLOG
Website Content Rotation

Content Rotation is the technique by which content publishers (TV studios, magazine publishers, websites etc.,) recycle previously published contents, to reach audiences missed during an earlier broadcast. It is an effective way for content producers to get ROI (Return of Investment) on popular content that they own. In the television world it is called the re-runs, on MSN, Seven Stocks to Watch, and in Cosmopolitan it is called How to have Great Sex. ;-- )

The idea is same -- great content is extremely hard to produce, so sell popular old content over and over again.

A simple content rotation scheme just involves picking a random story or picture and displaying it. Picture intensive sites like Corbis do this; every time you refresh the page, you see a new picture. An arbitrarily generated number determines which picture to display. Our Kaleidoscope is implemented this way. It is an inexpensive way to amuse visitors for a long time.

• Amateur Webmaster: Content Rotation for Websites
• The Amateur Webmaster
• Check out the Content Rotator for this site. Keep refreshing till you find something interesting.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, October 15, 2001
Last Modified: 12/29/2001

Indo-Pak Conflict Durable Link to this BLOG
Taking Sides in the Indo-Pak Conflict

Financial Express: The Case for Restraint

Case for Intensification

  • Gets a lot of publicity for the Pak sponored terrorism
  • The enemy is in turmoil, the military is demoralized, and the citizens are divided
  • We are sick and tired of decades of terrorism; nothing like having a superpower to support India's cause
  • It will force Indian Muslims to take a stance. Just like USA came together, India could come together
  • India's bargaining power increases tremendously. This is a very shrewd diplomatic, rather than military move.

Case for Restraint

  • Upsets American plans and pisses off Uncle Sam
  • India's action might further destabilize Pakistan, which is very dangerous (Imagine Unlce Osama running Pakistan)
  • The guiding principles upon which India was created calls for a non-violent fight. How can we forget this?

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Tuesday, October 16, 2001
Last Modified: 1/29/2003
Tags: indo-pak

Kamat PhotoQuilter Durable Link to this BLOG
Kamat PhotoQuilter: Make Your Own PhotoQuilts

PhotoQuilts are pictures glued together to make composite pictures. Traditionally, PhotoQuilts were the fancy of the rich, but with availability of large number of digital pictures and sophisticated computer software, today it is possible to make them inexpensively.

See Some PhotoQuilts: Gandhi , Tiger

I am happy to announce the availability to such a tool to the owners of the Timeleless Theater CD-ROM.


Screen Capture of the Kamat PhotoQuilter


• Download the software - 1.3MB

The tool won't work if you do not have Timeless Theater CD-ROM.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Wednesday, October 17, 2001
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

Sixth Anniversary Durable Link to this BLOG
Kamat's Potpourri is Six Years Old

I can't believe that it's been six years since we started this website. While it has tremendously grown in content and traffic, I'd like to think that we've adhered to the basic principles on which it was started -- as a personal, non-commercial, Internet resource.

Then (November 1995)

  • Two regular visitors (myself, and my wife)
  • Main attraction was a Tour of India in Photostubs
  • Total Articles -2, Total Pictures 10

Now (October 2001)

  • Team of four
  • No commerce, no advertisements
  • Free, Original, Exclusive content
  • Team of four
  • No commerce, some banner advertisements
  • Free, Original, Exclusive Content

On behalf of the Kamat family, I sincerely thank you for your patronage. How many websites that you know are six years old?!

Many of you have asked to share more information about ourselves, so I have opened a new section: Everyday Kamats, that shows pictures of ourselves engaged in daily activities of life. We are really normal people!


• Now and Then of another kind
• Kamat Family Album


(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Thursday, October 18, 2001
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

Professionals of India Durable Link to this BLOG
Professionals of India
Travelling Knife and Scissors Sharpner
Mehboob the Knife Sharpener

For decades now, this self-employed Muslim gentleman has gone around house to house sharpening knives and sciscors. He carries his foot-operated grinding wheel, and charges Rs. 5.00 (equivalent of today's dime) for his services. "Business is not good Sir", he told Kamat, "But in Allah I trust to get by."

Pictures of more interesting professions of India at: Real Jobs - Photographic Exhibition of Hard Labor

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, October 19, 2001
Last Modified: 10/19/2001

Adobe and Macromedia Both Suck Durable Link to this BLOG
Adobe and Macromedia Both Suck (via CamWorld)

As both Adobe and Macromedia engage in a pissing contest of lawsuits and counter-law suites, I am glad that I stopped using both companies' products. Both these companies suck, their products also suck. I do not recommend their products to my friends, my family, or my customers.

Tips on avoiding Adobe, Macromedia

  • Use Jasc Paint Shop Pro -- it is cheaper, easier, and more importantly, a simpler product than Adobe PhotoShop. All the graphics on this site (and that is a lot of graphics) is done with this software.
  • Demand/provide alternate formats to Adobe Acrobat -- Use LaTex, HTML, text or whatever. Acrobat is a properietary, insecure (we know the Adobe goof, up don't we?) format.
  • Disable Macromedia Flash -- I know this is hard because the browser will keep pestering you to download the Flash plugin. The trick is to find a file called swflash32.ocx on your computer and simply delete it. The browse won't ask you again, and the your eyes will thank you for it.
  • Junk Macromedia Homesite -- It has no drag-drop, no Intellisense, and so slow to open a network drive. (Microsoft Visual Studio is a worthy substitute.)


(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Saturday, October 20, 2001
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

Water Bubbles Durable Link to this BLOG
Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Face painting, Henna art, floral decorations, the Kolam, and other temporart arts of India in a new section.

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow - The Living Arts

Arundhati Roy Speaks My Mind

Read this excellent essay Insult and Injury in Afghanistan by Arundhati Roy on MSNBC. -- "Pigs are horses. Girls are boys. War is Peace."

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Sunday, October 21, 2001
Last Modified: 10/21/2001

headline news Durable Link to this BLOG
Same Headline News: USA Bombs Afghanistan (via Yahoo)

Email from Saddam Hussein -- Now we are talking. Now someone please contact Osama.

Noteworthy Blog: ContentBlog by Anne Holland

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Tuesday, October 23, 2001
Last Modified: 10/23/2001

Upgrades Durable Link to this BLOG
Upgrades to Kamat's Potpourri

The number of pictures at Kamat House of Pictures crosses 6000!

I have made some changes to the Content Rotator. Don't like what you see? Just press F5!

Also See: Rotate a Picture

After the merger of HostPro and Interland, the sweet hosting plan we enjoyed for Kamat.com has been discontinued, so I have been looking around for a possible new webspace provider... I have experienced Interland service before, and it has been satisfactory, but HostPro was just top notch. I hate to move the site, but they simply do not have an upgrade path for me. My needs are basic, but large -- fat pipe, large disk -- help/recommendations (via email to vikas@kamat.com) are welcome.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Wednesday, October 24, 2001
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

Windows XP is Out Durable Link to this BLOG
Windows XP is Out

Microsoft's new Operating System is released for public today.

Windows XP is a a natural (as opposed to radical) upgrade to Windows 2000. The enhancements are minor, and there is no compelling reason to upgrade and become a slave of Microsoft (In case you didn't read the reviews, now you have to get in touch with Microsoft to activate the thing, like you do to a credit card; then like a credit card usage, they will keep track of you) by migrating to XP.

IMHO, Microsoft blew it. I was looking for a robust computing environment -- la Windows 3.0, that was a leapfrog. They need not have merged the desktop and the server platforms - the needs of each are different. In the years to come, Microsoft will regret the experimentation of XP. This is a folly on their part.

And what's up with this anti-piracy initiative? Believe me friends, Microsoft blew it.

I would have certainly considered XP without the policing, and cross-selling of Microsoft products (like MSN, Messenger). After all, I am a Microsoft developer !

Instead, today, the day on which I was to be upgrading to XP, I am shopping for a Linux box, and considering a Macintosh as my next PC.

The Dasara Festival

I am getting a lot of traffic (we are the first search result on Google for Dasara Festival) on the occasion of the Dasara Festival.

Send an Dasara e-greeting to a friend on the occasion of the Hindu festival.

See more pictures of Dasara in Kamat PictureSearch.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Thursday, October 25, 2001
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

Wanted Alive! World Leaders Durable Link to this BLOG
Wanted Alive! World Leaders

Today millions of people like me want to fight against the injustice, but don't know how.

IMHO there is a serious shortage of world leaders today. Turmoil is supposed the bring out the best in men (reminder - FDR, Gandhi, and Churchill belonged to the same generation), but at this time, other than President Bush no leader has shown the courage and vision the situation demands. On one side we have the aging statesmen (Clinton, Arafat, Mandela), aging religious heads (the Pope, and the Dalai Lama), but no social leaders with charisma, vision, and intellect.

Three Wannabes Who Won't Make It

Jesse Jackson, Tony Blair and Silvio Berlusconi are three of the same kind.

  • They are irrelevant, but don't know that they are
  • They are desperately trying to get a piece of the action and cheap publicity
  • The harder they try, the more pathetic they are looking
These selfish leaders are a shame to the constituencies they represent.

Chinese Name Cinema Funny Why

Look at the titles of the last four Chinese movies I have watched:

  • Iron Monkey
  • Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
  • Eat Drink Man Woman
  • Red Firecracker Green Firecracker

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, October 26, 2001
Last Modified: 1/26/2003

Programming was Fun Once Durable Link to this BLOG
Once upon a time, it was fun to be a programmer

FYI SourceForge might close down, Dot-Net is foul play, Java did not deliver (client-side anyway), Microsoft has evil plans (and should not be endorsed), Adobe and Allaire are turning evil, OpenSource movement has lost steam, there are no exciting platforms to write software to. MSN is not opening up; AOL is not opening up; wireless industry is in bigger mess.

What's up with the software industry?

Just five years ago, it was so much fun to be a programmer. Great wages, great products (Java, Visual Basic, AOL), and great platforms (Palm, Win95, the Web) enticed a whole generation of engineers to take up software development.

Many are now jobless; even more are disillusioned.

I guess, Everything has a Season (Ecclesiastes 3:1).


(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Saturday, October 27, 2001
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

Vernon Can Read! Durable Link to this BLOG
Good Morning Sports Fans!

Hopefully this NFL Sunday will bring reversal of fortunes to my hapless Dancing Cobras fantasy team.

Vernon Can Read!

Remember Vernon Jordan?

He was the powerful DC lawyer and presidential friend figured prominently in the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Turns out that he has a great story to tell. I read the excerpts of his autobiography (Linkrot detected) and listened to his interview on NPR, and it is indeed an inspiring, American story. Only in America can a boy who begins his life as a driver can scale up to grab the highest powers of the land.

Link to the book at Amazon.


(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Sunday, October 28, 2001
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

Deep Linking Durable Link to this BLOG
Really Really Deep Linking

EV (the chief Blogger)'s short note on Better Linking had me thinking on this feature, and I have a prototype of a really-deep-pointing feature for our ContentServer.

I call it as pointing instead of linking, because that's what it is. The user can specify a search term (la Google) that will be highlighted in the story. It is a very convinient way to point to the stories without paragraph level < a name tags. I personally find the paragraph level tagging distasteful (for look and feel) and cumbersome (for writers).

To see an overuse of anchors, look at Dave Winer's weblog. He anchors every sentence!

Of course, my prototype works only for the dynamically rendered content. Static Rendered websites will have to wait till a standard specification is defined, or a browser supports it via URL.

See Deep Pointing in Action

• Pointing to Pakistan on a story on RSS
• Highlight a magician's turban amidst 50 others
• Kamat's own Meeting God is coming

As you can tell, embeded within the URL is the search string to be searched and highlighted. I foresee that in the future, the search engines will be able to provide this search terms to the websites they refer to enhance the user experience. Alternately, if you have a lot of cycles, you can determine the search terms from the HTTP_REFERER to provide automatic highlighting today.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, October 29, 2001
Last Modified: 1/23/2003
Tags: CMS

E-Books are Dead Durable Link to this BLOG
E-Books are Dead. Admit it!

A recent issue of Newsweek has a feature (linkrot detected) on Questia (a company that provides electronic books and reference contents) about how well its business model is, and how good it is doing. The story is misguiding, lacks the depth required for business reporting, and is full of bullshit.

My common sense tells me that no university student is going to cough up $20.00 a month for library access. Especially for a library that is way smaller than the free one that the university provides. Would you? would anyone?

Why Newsweek decided to provide publicity to this dying dot-com is beyond me, but e-books IMHO are a solution in search of a problem. There's definite value in electronic books, but only if being electronic is of significant value to the reader. Have you noticed that most e-books actually are dumb pages not even utilizing elementary technologies such as hyperlinking, reference linking, and even color ?!

It would have made much more sense for Newsweek to cover the thriving electronic journals business (called e-journals) that has revolutionized the way researchers and scholars access and use electronic content. It is only in the area of e-journals that the dream of a wall-less library has come true.

Links to Electronic Journals Systems
(Libraries Without Walls)

• EBSCO Online
• Science Direct
• Ideal Library
• CatchWord

They are not free, not even affordable. ha ha. Now tell me who has a better business model.

But this model works agaist the spreading of content.

I remain upbeat about the role of libraries to bridge the educational and social gaps of the world. It is the Publisher-Library nexus that needs re-engineering.

I think libraries are doing a great job of distributing knowledge despite the restrictions of the publishers, who by definition are in the business of charging for that knowledge -- so the restrictions are understandable. But when a company like Questia comes along, whose interests are they representing? Questia is not a publisher, but they want to charge you money for access to content. IMHO that is an inherently flawed business model.


(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Tuesday, October 30, 2001
Last Modified: 1/29/2003
Tags: library

What is a Madrassah? Durable Link to this BLOG
What Really is a Madrassah?

These days we are hearing a lot about the Madrassahs (a.k.a. Madarasa, Madrasa, from Arabic). They are labeled as terrorist training camps that harbor hatred and intense religious fervor. Unfortunately that's what has happened to the great Islamic institution of Madrassah today.

A Madrassah is simply a traditional Islamic school of higher learning. Till the western forces destroyed (18th Centuty) the indigenous systems of education like the Gurukuls, the Ghatikas, and the Madrassahs, they were the only formal means of education in the medieval sub-continent. A Maqtab (a.k.a. Makhtab ) was a primary school in the Islamic world while a Madrassah was like a high-school or college of today. In the medieval Islamic world, there were many Madrassahs as big as the universities of the twentieth century, complete with libraries, display museums, and visiting scholar programs.

Great scholars and teachers devoted their lives in the Madrassahs for the study of  Islam, the Farsi language, and most importantly, to spread knowledge among common people. Prophet Mohammad is to have said "a scholar’s ink is superior to a martyr’s blood", and the thought of the period (10th to 18th centuries) took upon itself to propagate Islam though advancement of arts, sciences, and devotion. Royalty as well as commoners were educated in the Madrassahs.

Here is a picture of a great and historical Madrassah in Southern India.

Madrassah of Mahmud Gawan
15th Century Madrassah of Mahmud Gawan

The Madrassah was to find a renewed strength and survival in the post-Soviet Union Afganistan and Pakistan. As the inflow of foreign money dried up, the people resorted to low cost, Islamic schools where the Maulvis (clerics) shared their wisdom. As those nations turned more fanatical, and fundamentalistic, the lessons also reflected the mood of the people. Although today the Madrassahs are branded as breeding areas for hatred of the West, they are the only means of education available to a large number of Afghan, Palestinian, and Lebenese children whose lives have been torn by civil (and non-so-civil) wars.

• ABCNews: Visit to a Madrassah
• NYTimes: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Sciences Secure Site - Requires Login

See Also:

Reference: A forthcoming book on the History of Education in India by my mother.

Indya.com is Dead. Long Live India.

This just in. Indian portal Indya.com that started with mega backers, media blitz, and hype panaroia has fired all its employees.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Wednesday, October 31, 2001
Last Modified: 1/29/2003
Tags: definition

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