Kapil's Korner 


Sponsors spill over in Google

Google has always been known for their Sponsored Links which appear on the right-side column of the screen. Once a while based on the keywords they also display a sponsor bar on the top of the page before the search results start. We have seen this always. However today, when I was doing a very silly search to see if there were websites to help me make a wish list of various items I wanted to buy I made a search on "my wish list" and this is what came up on the screen besides the other search results. I tried some other keywords but didn't get to see it again. Let me know if you have seen this before.

And yes, I did manage to build a small wish list. So if you are thinking of gifting me something, please please do take a look :-)


The Sunday Punch

Sunday mornings can be so good. I was up at 9 this morning which if you know me well is very very unusual. After helping mom with the Sunday errands I logged onto the blog and ever since spent a good portion of the morning tweaking and shaping up the blog to make it more powerful. What’s new?

The 43things mania
Yes, I got hooked too. I set-up my list and I am going to be sharing my goals with others and connect with like-minded souls. A few hours of surfing makes it look like another great place to network and make new friends. If nothing else you should just go to the website and see what people would like to do. You don’t need any registration.

The name really got my attention. What does it do? It basically collects keywords from the feeds you specify and connects all the content with the common words. It also highlights keywords with greater relevance. You can see the keywords used on my blog, my 43things list and Flickr photo album – They appear on the right-side column at the end of the blogroll list. Caution: It may take a while before the list is populated.

I get better stats now
Lewis recommends Statcounter a good statistics and tracker on his blog, so I decided to get one for my blog too. Besides the page counts and unique visitors it also gives info on the keywords people used to get to your blog. I am going to monitor the results over the next few weeks and see how my blog is performing in cyberspace.

Blogroll update
Some of the blogs I read didn't get updated so often I tend to have got bored from them, so they have been out. But yet again, I got connected to some new ones thanks to Desipundit.

Time to check that plate
KhanaPeena is yet under development but you can take a sneak peek of my new blog dedicated to food, drinks and more.


Aamchi Mumbai rocks!

the climb
The true spirt of Mumbai is best depicited during the festival season. Friends, neighbours and families unite to celebrate each occasion with great joy and excitement. Be it Diwali, Id, Ganesh Utsav or even Christmas – celebrations are evident through the city.

Today Mumbai celebrates Gokulashtmi the festival of Lord Krishna’s attempt to break “handis” full of butter-milk and cream. Over the period of time band of boys have taken over the celebrations and move around the city trying to break the “handis” filled with cas rewards set-up up at various socities. It’s quite an effort for the boys to form a human pyramid to have one little boy from their group to reach the top and collect the booty.

breaking handiA colleague at work tells me that a similar feat also happens in some portion of Spain. I couldn’t find anything very intereting to read about this online but what I am going to leave you with are some glimpses of the celebrations I witnessed around my office area. Some more available at my Flickr photo album.

Understanding Security Issues

As a client servicing executive I spend a good amount of my time understanding client briefs. Earlier this morning at the end of one such meeting we decided to take the PowerPoint presentation back to our office for further review. Since I was armed with my USB pen drive, that seemed the most obvious way to have the 2MB file moved in a jiffy.

It was only when we tried to plug the pen drive did the client realize that as a corporate policy all laptops had their USB ports blocked, floppy-drives and CD-writers removed. At first seemed like an obvious way to prevent data leaks from the organization. However that myth was soon broken when the client with great ease logged into one of the many free mail accounts and uploaded the file to reach my Inbox.

On my way back, I kept thinking why disable all removable data devices of a laptop which can easily log into the many systems online and transfer files smoothly. Didn’t make much sense to me since they could easily e-mail the same out through their corporate e-mail systems also. Of course they have a 750KB cap so not much could move out. But enough to get out an important document or a VIRUS – but then their e-mail virus programs are pretty powerful enough.

A friend of mine worked with another corporate firm where they disabled all logins on web-based forms besides having the usual USB ports and other devices disabled. That made sense since the corporate e-mail was the only way to transmit files out of the system – which again didn’t support many of the popular file types like “zip & exe”. Not security at the best but I guess a good step towards it.

The disabled USB ports at my client keep me wondering, yet. Sujeet, my friend could share some expertise.


A good blog

Time to introduce my readers to a good blog. I hit upon Chetan's monologue just surfing around at DesiPundit. It's a very well-organised informative and interesting blog to feed on. If you read around you will also find that the neat template has been designed by Chetan himself.

I also managed to alert Chetan about his contact form failure, and he was kind to provide a link back to my blog. Thank you Chetan!

iPods don a new skin

I am not a application skin crazy fellow. I typically prefer using applications in their default mode. But this one really got my attention. Thanks to the team at office I found this online. This winamp skin makes the player look like an iPod player locked on your desktop. It's fancy indeed and doesn't just stop there. You can actually rotate the dial to control the volume. Neat, I would say.
Quick Download link.


Indian Railways under Attack

My friend was trying to check some train schedules at the Indian Railways website. When she logged on she was surprised to see that there was an ad banner by their (Indian Railway's) competitor placed on the home page. She knows I love such interesting details on marketing and advertising so she sent me the link and I went digging to see what's up.

And I came shocked. Indian Railways which is defined by Wikipedia as the state-owned railway company of India having a complete monopoly over the country's rail transport is now supporting Spice Jet. What is Spice Jet? SpiceJet is one of India's newest start-up private airlines. Their aim is to compete with the Indian Railways passengers traveling in AC Three tier coaches.

What was Indian Railways thinking when they allowed this banner to go online? Laluji please wake up! Before you know the competition would have eaten have your passengers sitting right on your head. Don't we have enough of a deficit in our railway budgets to afford this kind of business loss to private "airline" operators.

On an extended note, if the government does want to promote air transport and make it affordable and accessible to the common man - Why not think of linking up with Indian Airlines and Alliance Airways? Let the right hand help the left hand make some money.


Cigarettes, Dance bars & more

Somebody believed cigarette smoking should be banned.
Somebody thought dance bars should be abolished.

So it was. Did someone ever realize that corruption and violence can also be banned/abolished? Why does the government work on things which are simple and have the least impact. Human psyche, I suppose. Let’s keep the minds busy on things which are easy for us to twist. The bigger issues can be lost in the background.

Smoking. They said on-screen smoking acts by film stars promoted smoking among the youth, so let’s put a ban to smoking in cinema.
Dance Bars. They said such places were bad for the society. Created a breeding ground for criminal activities etc. So let’s abolish them. Good move. But let’s think a little extended, will they ban dance bars from movies too? How can Raghu “vaastav” bhai not go to Blue Bird for the new “chamiya”. Whatever will happen to the dance bar item songs which Mahesh Manjrekar may have planned to bring in his forthcoming movies. Does not on-screen display of dance bars create a wrong influence on the “youth”?

Oh so you are telling me Smoking kills. Dance bars don’t. There is something I have always wondered, call me crazy. Sex, love which are natural human activities towards betterment of life and sometimes even a society necessity is banned from full display on-screen. Bad influence on the youth, again. Murder, crime, rape – allowed to be shown in full glory. No influence?

I don’t want to be a society’s watchman by telling the government or rather anyone out there what should be banned and what should be not. But hey can’t the machinery work a little in tandem. Don’t the censor board and home ministry have connections which they can use to exchange information?

I am planning to watch “My Wife’s Murder” the new movie starting Anil Kapoor. The film is all about a frustrating husband-wife relationship and how the husband does / does not end up murdering his wife. Now, how’s that for influence on the husbands?


Have you found your platform?

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Today is August 15th – A day we Indians celebrate our country’s Independence Day. And like every year the countdown to this Independence Day starts with a media blast on finding the true meaning and value of the freedom this country had won many years back.

Do we uphold the values and beliefs set by our leaders then? Does today’s youth realize the sacrifices and contributions the nation had made for a freedom which has now become a birth-right for them? And more such issues come up a week before the big day and everyone suddenly is talking about love for the country, patriotism etc. Let’s remember all this in a count-down for the big day. Post August 15th we are back to our core issues – corruption, poverty, calamities and more.

Familiar yet Strange” from Outlook talks about the meaning of freedom for today’s youth. Let’s look at it this way – it’s been 50 years since we got independence. We are now in the 21st century moving towards a rapid globalization which is being supported by almost all the world countries. Are we correct in raising questions about eating at Subway or wearing Levis, yet? Don’t get me wrong, I would love to do something for this country and I believe in a little way everyone does. But can we point fingers and say “You aren’t doing anything because you are not supporting the government, you are not in the armed forces. Is that fair?”

Maybe I am making too much of a generalization here, when I would say that every citizen would like to make a difference to the development of this country and respect the true value of it’s independence victory. But tell me how many such platforms are available? How many such leaders like the ones from the freedom struggle will you find today?

Let’s not forget that although the freedom struggle was powered by the common man it was lead by true leaders who had their motives clear and their hearts set for the freedom of their motherland. Let us find such leaders in the next generation who are poised to take over the government leadership – Milind Deora, Sachin Pilot, Rahul Gandhi and more….

Meanwhile I spent the day watching a lot of patriotism themed movies. The day started with Swades which was a very interesting film indeed and that’s where the message is “Everyone one of us has it within to make a difference to this country – We just need the right platform for expression. Mohan Bhargav found his in Charanpur gaon.” Later in the evening we managed to get tickets for “The Rising” and I think after Lagaan, Aamir once again has done a splendid job on this project. Although I believe the ending could have been edited better.

And now I sleep as the nation moves into another year of its freedom.


Microsoft’s Island

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I had to see it – Couldn’t miss such a movie, which was creating so much news ever since it’s release and is on the Current US Top Ten. After last week’s cancellation I managed to catch the Saturday late night show for The Island at the all fancy Inox. Trust me, it’s a sheer pleasure to catch a flick around there. But more on that later.

Talking about “The Island”, although the movie is set in an utopian facility I think some of the scenes were far too-stretched. It’s very difficult to believe that such an underground operation had a security breach and two of it’s inmates managed to escape after a quick kick-fight with the guards. So much for high-tech security of the future?

The best part of the movie is the complete product endorsements by Microsoft. We have the Xbox fighting between Lincoln and Jordan but of course this is 2050, so it’s more realistic than just punching the keyboard. Later, Lincoln and Jordan go to Los Angeles where they use MSN Search booth to locate their sponsor. Now that would be an interesting utility to have. Most of the PCOs in India don’t even have a telephone directory next to them, forget having Internet Directory search. Truly, futuristic.

With all the Microsoft products around I assume Microsoft has survived all the legal suits and made it to 2050 with their OS and more. Which brings you to the next thought – systems are yet easy to hack. How does Laurent’s team (The security expert) manage to hack into credit card systems and track the transactions? So the systems of the future will yet be vulnerable to hackers.

And before I close, this movie is worth a watch. If you missed it at the box office, catch it on DVD whenever it does release.


Persons who are invalid

I forgot to put up some interesting pics from my flight back to India when I was returning from Malaysia. Here are some interesting ones. In particular I was amused by the first pic.
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What are they trying to say? Invalid person - Give me a definition on this one.

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Waiting can be a pleasure sometimes, but not when you have a 72 hours delayed departure for back home!

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One for the memory


Give me a brief

Hey, no one seems to be viewing my Photo Express.

It's been a crazy week, the trip to Malaysia and floods in the city have screwed up entire delivery schedules with the clients. I had to wrap up a delayed Independence Day (15th August) campaign which made me kick the butts of my design team to get the prints in process. Will see the prints soon so I will know if all the pressure actually paid off.

Meanwhile a client's brief got splashed into my face when she said "I am sorry I miscommunicated" - This after the creatives took almost 3 hours to be cracked. I mean "Hello" let's work with written briefs the next time around. PLEASE! But I guess all part of the AD world. And that's not all - thanks to this last minute mess up, I had to miss out the evening at the movies. The office gang (They didn't make it either) planned to see The Island but I guess I will have to catch it over the weekend if that too happens at all :-)

On that note, I'll look forward to the weekend.


Malaysia Photo Express

The rains have given me an extra day to rest at home - And that's what I did. I was too lazy to write the planned Malaysia Trip Report. But I could not wait till I completed that, so I went ahead and uploaded the photos from the trip, anyways. Hopefully I will manage to give some time to writing the trip report before I make another trip ;-)
malaysia 074
My Flickr: Do leave me your comments!


72 hours and more to tell

I have finally hit Indian land. After a delay of almost 72 hours I have returned back home from Malaysia. I would not want to call it a terrible journey but it has been a very stressful one. With the rains screwing up Mumbai city big time we had been stranded in Malaysia for two days before we made some arrangements to get back to India.

But right now I am busy getting updates on the terrible things which have happened to people over the past few days and how they have managed to survive it all. Meanwhile I also update my flickr with photos from Malaysia. This and more soon... online!