Friday, December 10, 2010

Searching Through 2010 : A Year Of Searches

A year in review. What the world has been searching through 2010 on Google.

Search On : Searching through 2010

Thursday, December 9, 2010

We Only Believe What We Can Believe

We only believe what we are comfortable with and what we can accommodate. Everything else is totally ‘unbelievable’. Either, we just ignore or suspect the Messenger as we think it must have been totally made up.

But truth could be totally something else, many a times.

Same thing with your own Dreams. Just like we discard that ‘incredible’ stuff, we discard and discount our own dreams too. So if you want to achieve something incredible, you must first get comfortable with the fact that it is indeed possible. Not just day dreaming. But real solid feeling that something could be done, whether you believe you may succeed in that or not.  That is the reason it’s a MUST to start working towards it ASAP.  More you spend time on that day dream, the more realistic it would become. And pretty soon, you will become comfortable and believe, “I CAN DO IT”.

It would be great if you can find somebody that went through similar cycle or have done similar stuff. But,

Do NOT let what you can not do interfere with what you CAN DO.

-- John Wooden

And if you think about, if you love Software, you have it in your Genes.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

No Regrets !!

At any moment, I make a decision that is the Best I could do at that moment. So I have absolutely no regrets of any of my decisions. Some decisions turned out to be great turning points, some luckily worked out much better than expected and some happened to be utter failures.

Good thing is that those failures remained as failures just for a while, precisely, until I realize they were failures. It is lot easier to accept failures, if you just live in the present and look out in the future. Once I realize, make my next decision that could correct or go completely in a different direction.

And then, life goes on.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Web Designers Vs. Web Developers

Cool infographic illuminating some differences between Web Designers and Web Developers.

free website builder

Source : SixRevisions

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Flipboard : Tweets to Stunning Magazines On The Fly

What an amazing concept and implementation. Probably the BEST application on iPad. The Flipboard application on the iPad can create a stunning and truly delightful magazine from any Twitter feed (or Facebook for that matter).   It looks at a tweet, access the URL and compose the original article in a beautiful magazine format. It also picks up images from the article and arranges them in various magazine formats.   If the tweet is not referring to an URL, then it nicely composes the tweet like a quote in a magazine.

A little intro to the  Flipboard for iPad.

Introduction to Flipboard for iPad

Take a look at a couple of awesome screenshots of the Magazine created from Twitter feed of @inspions.

inspions_mag_2

inspions_mag_1

Silverlight Apps : “It’s Everybody’s Business” Show

This is pretty cool online show application built  on Silverlight technologies. Silverlight streaming video, excellent typography, really cool art work,  slick animations and tons of relevant content synchronized with the video.

http://everybodysbusiness.msn.com/ 

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Content all spread out nicely.

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Future of Silverlight : Fire Starter on 2nd Dec 2010

Here is a great opportunity to learn more about Silverlight. A FULL day FREE Fire Starter Event on Silverlight on 2nd Dec 2010.  Great news is that the event is streamed online so you can watch from anywhere in the world.  Register for the event here.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Apple’s iTunes Teaser

Looks like Apple is beefing up for some announcements tomorrow, on iTunes.

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Will iTunes have an SDK too?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thought Garage Blog is Down : DDOS Attack

For the last couple of days, you may be experiencing problems in accessing Thought Garage blog as the servers hosted with SiteGround are under DDOS attack.

Hopefully it will be clear soon.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Part Time Employment and Multiple Jobs on H1B

Can an Employer offer part-time employment on H1B? Can an employee work at multiple jobs while on H1B?

Check out this latest bulletin ( VOL. XVI, no. 46; Nov 2010, week 2 Posted : 12.Nov.2010 ) from Murthy Law firm that answers these two rather complicated and frequently asked questions.

The Inspiring Story Of Nano

With the financial and business muscle Tata’s have, they could have build just any other car for the new age, but they have decided to build a Nano, a car for everybody.  Just watched this video R.A. Mashelkar: Breakthrough designs for ultra-low-cost products - R.A. Mashelkar (2009) on Active Player, where the speaker was sharing a bit of the story and idea behind building Nano. 

Engineer RA Mashelkar shares three stories of ultra-low-cost design from India that use bottom-up rethinking, and some clever engineering, to bring expensive products (cars, prosthetics) into the realm of the possible for everyone.

Source : R.A. Mashelkar: Breakthrough designs for ultra-low-cost products - R.A. Mashelkar (2009) from TEDTalks ( Feed ) via Active Player

How Buying Back Treasuries Stimulate Economy

Just watched Uncle Ben goes shopping on Active Player.

The Federal Reserve is trying to stimulate the economy by buying billions of dollars worth of bonds from banks. Senior Editor Paddy Hirsch explains how that's supposed to work.

Uncle Ben goes shopping from Marketplace on Vimeo.

Source : Uncle Ben goes shopping from APM: Marketplace Whiteboard ( Feed ) via Active Player

Microsoft PDC 2010 : Video RSS Feeds

Microsoft’s Developer eco-system is arguably one of the best and probably lot more active than others out there. And the eco-system produces tons of multi-media content. But I always cringe when I don’t see an RSS Feed with Media Enclosures that users can readily subscribe and watch or download instantly.  Its always left to somebody to help us out.

PDC 2010 web site is a nice Silverlight application.  And absolutely no HTML fall back incase somebody doesn’t have a Silverlight plugin installed.  And of course, no RSS Feed (yet) as usual.

Thanks a ton to Greg Duncan for providing a full list of Videos (with all formats available) and associated RSS Feeds that you can readily subscribe.  Visit his blog post and access either the individual list or RSS Feeds of your favorite formats here

If you want to watch those Videos on your iPad or iPhone, try MP4(low) format.

Active Player

If you don’t have a Media Player or Application that can consume those RSS Feeds and instantly playback, take a look at Active Player.  Not only it help you subscribe to RSS Feeds, it also let you take notes, bookmark those videos or even create clips of those videos for sharing or review later.  Here is a snapshot of the Active Player playing a Video from PDC2010 feed.

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Active Feeds : Create an RSS Feed of your Favorite Videos

I built a small Google App Engine app, called Active Feeds recently to create your own RSS Feed from videos from anywhere on the web and share with the world. I quickly built a set of RSS Feeds for Videos available at ASP.NET to demonstrate.  Next time, if you want to create an RSS Feed with your favorite Videos, check it out. The application needs lots of work to make it more user friendly but as of now is fully functional to use.

Free E-Books : Programming Windows Phone 7

If you are tinkering on developing .NET Applications on Windows Mobile 7, here is a free eBook from Microsoft Press by Charles Petzold, that can get you started.  The book is available in PDF and XPS formats.

Some more free e-Books for .NET Developers moving to VS 2010 here.

Your Car Could Be The Next Best Bill Board !

The next best bill board could be just your car.

If you haven’t seen enough Advertisement in any given day, well, you will pretty soon. Ads are coming to a car near you. Its called ‘Cash Ur Drive’. You can make your car a moving bill board. Read more here.

Via Springwise

Friday, October 29, 2010

Microsoft To Shut Down Windows Live Spaces

Windows Live Spaces, the Microsoft’s Blogging platform will be shutdown early next year (16th March to be precise) and is offering to migrate your current blog to Wordpress.com.

The email I received announcing this is quite confusing. The email subject says ‘Changes coming to your Windows Live Space’. I expected that it may have been upgraded with more features.  But they are simply shutting it down, and they appear to have trouble saying it.

We are very excited to announce our collaboration with a premier and innovative blogging service,WordPress.com, to offer you an upgraded blogging experience. We'll help you migrate your current Windows Live Spaces blog to WordPress.com or you can download it to save for later. On March 16th, 2011 your current space will close.

With the new release of Windows Live services, we've made a series of changes and improvements across our products. We chose to partner to provide our users with a fantastic blogging solution. However, we realize the changes will have an impact on you - this email aims to address any concerns you may have.

The team should have just said it in bold that the service will be shutdown. How can it be an afterthought that they somehow realized by chance that there is an impact of my blog on Live Spaces?

Anyways, I haven’t been using Live Spaces for years, as I moved to self hosted Wordpress.

If you try to sign up for a Live space, you will see this ‘So long Spaces!’ message. Little less round about jargon at least.

So long Spaces!

If you are looking for Spaces, this is where it used to live. If you came here looking to start a blog, you should go to our blogging partner WordPress.com to get started. You can even connect your blog back to Windows Live Messenger to share your posts with your Messenger friends.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Plight of Volleyball Courts in Russell Creek Park, Plano

I read great stories and reports about Plano that Plano is one of the best and arguably one of the most affluent cities. I wonder why City maintains these volleyball courts in Russelcreek park in such a horrible and unsafe conditions for so long.

One of our friends complained back in August 2009 about the plight of these courts. It appears nothing has been done and conditions have only gone worse since then.

Looking at these grounds, I am quite sure that no city official paid a visit to these grounds since that complaint made or made sure otherwise these grounds are maintained well and safer. Hope at least they can take a look at these pictures and do something.

Please do send an email to Plano city officials with these pictures or pass the URL to them. Hope, we will have better and safer grounds soon.

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The East Court : Hope this pole stay strong for few more days…! ( Pole on the east side)

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The East Court : West side pole. You can also see the condition of the net.

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West side court and the condition of Net.

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Condition of the Sand in both grounds; look how coarse it is.

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See how deep you have to dig in the sand before you hit this hard surface; just  about an inch or inch and a half.

Please pass these pictures and send an email or make a call to City officials. Mean time, try look for a ground that has soft sand and safer.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Designs Apart : Groupon's Unsubscribe Screen

Groupon's Unsubscribe screen asks you to ‘Punish’ a team member that recommended Email Subscriptions whenever you unsubscribe to those Email notifications.

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Nice, personal, playful and bring you back to interacting with their site, even after you decided to go away. Loved it.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The World (of Geography) As Seen In 1800s

A book published in 1825 about the Geography of the world, places, people, cultures and so on. I was quite curious to read how and what the people at that time imagined or came to know about the world and more about how they perceived it.

Put the context that it was in 1800s and you will be rather surprised and shocked to read it. I loved it. Thanks to Hemanth for sharing the link.

Link : Google Picasa Album : Geography Book

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Whole Bunch Of FREE E-Books On Programming

There is a good list of FREE books on Programming at Stack overflow here.

Since they are available for FREE, you may be tempted to download all of them at once thinking you could read any time later. You may probably never even look at them again.

So download one book at a time and read it like it matters. And Keep going. Good luck !

And one more link, just received in MSDN Flash, a collection of “7 Freely available E-Books essential for .NET Programmers and Architects” by Anoop Madhusudhan.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Oath of Non-Allegiance

I promise not to exclude from consideration any idea based on its source, but to consider ideas across schools and heritages in order to find the ones that best suit the current situation.”

-- The Oath of Non-Allegiance, Alistair Cockburn

Sold. And Signed.

Poem: Every Story Has Two Sides, Except This One

Alistair Cockburn reading the poem, “Every story has two sides..

Quote : Martin Fowler on iPad

After a few hours with the iPad, I realized that I was feeling a sensation I'd only remembered once before: back in 1995 when someone showed me the World Wide Web. There's no dramatic new technology, we've seen tablets before just as we'd seen hypertext before. But the overall package was game-changer. I don't know if the iPad will be The Device, but I do think that this kind of device will make huge difference to how we read and watch things in the future

Source : http://martinfowler.com/bliki/iPad.html

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Why India, china and brazil are recovering faster than US?

Why did China, India and Brazil all emerge so much more rapidly from the global financial crisis than advanced economies did? In a presentation in Denver to the National Association for Business Economics, Nobel Prize-winning economist Michael Spence, now of New York University, offered several reasons:

  • These economies learned bitter lessons in the 1997-98 crisis that afflicted them more than advanced economies.
  • They were in “a good initial position” with relatively low leverage, and thus didn’t get hit with the severe “balance sheet recession” that hit the U.S.
  • They hadn’t any complex securitized financial instruments.
  • They had built up large foreign-exchange reserves.
  • Their central banks responded, much as advanced countries’ central banks did, with speed and agility to the credit tightening.
  • Their economic managers displayed “a high degree of competence.”

Source: WSJ

Kindle vs. iPad : The Wealthier, Educated vs. The Younger ?

As per Nielsen report, Kindle owners are more wealthier, older and educated compared to younger and majorly male  iPad owners.

Source : Nielsen

Windows Live Writer Goes Office Style

Just noticed that with Windows Live Essentials 2011 upgrade, Windows Live Writer also gets Ribbon style interface that became so famous and productive with MS Office applications.

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If you have been using WLW for a while but haven’t used any MS Office applications that feature ribbon style interface, you are in for a big surprise and little bit of confusion. 

If you are looking for all your Picture effects, they are split into two different sections: borders and effects. Click on Image to make these Picture tools/Format section visible.

Amazon Buy-Back Offer Pricing

If you haven't noticed this "Do The Math" widget already, Amazon appears to be offering a Textbook Buyback store where you can sell your books back to Amazon. Amazon is including the price at which a particular book can be bought back and showing the effective price you may have to pay if you just want to read it once and return to the store.

Amazon Buy back offer

Quite a saver for many books that we normally read just once and ready to return.

MyFoxDFW May be Unsafe

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Microsoft Office 2010 : After 20 Years, Still The Best

I have installed MS Office 2010 recently on top of Windows 7. Thought I would share a few first impressions and reflections here. Simply put, Office apps are lot more visually pleasing in Office 2010 and greatly productive as they have always been.

If there is one functionality I would request in MS Office, it would be the ability to publish documents in to ePub format as well. PDF support is already built in, starting from 2007.

I do not know exactly when the first office was officially released, but based on Wikipedia entry, it was some time in the fall of 1990. That would mean, it’s 20 years since the first release.  Lots of things have changed since I first looked at Office applications in 1995.

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Source:  Page 50, Info World, 19th November 1990 via Google Books

Of all software applications I worked on, MS Excel is still the application I love the most for its power, functionality and brutal simplicity while note taking application OneNote comes second. Outlook is still the most used application and its new feature Social connectors looks awesome.

There are subtle changes in the interfaces that I find quite intuitive. When I first accessed 2007 applications, I had little difficulty initially in getting things done. But if you have accessed 2007, 2010 will not surprise  you at all.

For the value and productivity MS Office brings to individuals and organizations alike, I find the cost of the software is next to free. 

While many people talk down on MS Office, I haven’t come across any alternative in all these years, even any closer to what MS office does the way it does. 

I love Google Apps, but use only for very very basic things. If somebody think Google Apps can replace MS Office applications, I am sure, they may probably haven’t scratched the surface of Office functionality yet.  I prefer to use MS office applications with SkyDrive rather. For some time, I have even used Open Office, but it’s definitely not for me. I don’t hate Microsoft that badly that I have to settle myself for anything.

I recently got my first Mac with iWork apps but haven’t used for any serious stuff yet, so it would be too early to say anything.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Spice Rack Plano : Is it worth the hassle?

I have been to Spice Rack Plano (2865 McDermott Rd # 105, Plano, TX 75025), quite a few times so far. And every time I visit, I will ponder over the same question, is it worth the hassle to go here?

Short answer is, Yes. At least for now.

Spice Rack is an Indian Grocery Store + fast food center. A medium to larger grocery store in size with a surprisingly larger kitchen.  On most occasions I see more crowd at the fast food kitchen than in the grocery area. May be that would explain the larger size kitchen. And you can get most of Indian groceries, vegetables and meat (chicken and goat) as well.

On many occasions I found that groceries are relatively expensive here, so, unless some thing is essential and got no time, I won’t buy here. Having said that, almost all my visits to Spick Rack can be attributed to the fast food Kitchen.

Its more or less close to South Indian cuisine despite the presence of varieties of national and global interest. And you get a wide variety of it. Starting from traditional breakfast items like Idly, Dosas to any-time snacks like Samosas, Masala Vadas and likes. Its not all. The biggest crowd drawing factor is the availability of curries-to-go and biryanis and few other lunch/dinner items. I must say, Price point is a big attraction too.

What is Biryani anyways?

I really loved breakfast items and snacks there, (particularly samosas) but not a big fan of (oily) curries or (often tasteless pulihora) Biryanis. We shouldn’t call ‘Biryani’ what most Indian restaurants serve in the name of Biryani. Spicerack is no exception. But what make matters more complicated and worse is what they do in the kitchen when they just ran out of Biryani. They could just say, they ran out of it, but they always prepare something on the fly that looks like Biryani and taste like crap to be a Biryani. Again, this appears to be a quite common thing in most Desi restaurants.

It is like a typical Desi IT Consultant. You can never ask a desi IT Consultant what are his/her skill sets? They will always answer with a question, what are you looking for. If you ask for something, whatever it is, they ‘will find the expert in them’ in that field and give you an almost picture perfect resume.

The real hassle

The real hassle at Spicerack is not about the quality of the food. The food quality and authenticity of Indian cuisine is  comparable or little better than many restaurants in the DFW Metroplex and deserves 5 or 6 rating out of 10 on its own to be an Indian kitchen in USA. 

The real hassle is about everything else. The way they take orders. The way they fulfill orders. Kitchen often times looks so chaotic, you can’t believe they could give you exactly what you order. There is no token number system or attach a customer name to those orders. When they are ready, they just call out items in an order. You must be ready staring at them to catch that and pick your order.  If you order multiple orders, it will even be tougher. As they will not keep track of delivering everything in your order. They kept calling out item names and will keep giving whenever something in that order is ready. You must keep track of for yourself to make sure you get everything you paid for.

And when it comes to cash counter, I have no memory of niceties. Do they really have to care, when you are already at the counter checking out? It appears something like that many a times.

I believe, much to blame for their carelessness attitude and my going there occasionally, despite all of this, is the lack of alternative around this place.  And the crude but true factor that works beautifully with many of its customer base; if they keep prices relatively lower, many don’t care about the rest.

So, finally, is it worth the hassle going there? Yes, if you want some snacks from its Kitchen. For everything else, you may give it a try and decide for yourself. I would say, No, but depends on what alternatives you have.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Thinking Machine : Play Chess With One

Thinking Machine explores the invisible, elusive nature of thought. Play chess against a transparent intelligence, its evolving thought process visible on the board before you. The artwork is an artificial intelligence program, ready to play chess with the viewer. If the viewer confronts the program, the computer's thought process is sketched on screen as it plays. A map is created from the traces of literally thousands of possible futures as the program tries to decide its best move. Those traces become a key to the invisible lines of force in the game as well as a window into the spirit of a thinking machine.

-- Thinking Machine

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="Thinking Machine, thinking ..."]Thinking Machine[/caption]

Friday, August 27, 2010

What Physics teaches about Marketing

Just watched Dan Cobley: What physics taught me about marketing - Dan Cobley (2010) on Active Player.

Physics and marketing don't seem to have much in common, but Dan Cobley is passionate about both. He brings these unlikely bedfellows together using Newton's second law, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, the scientific method and the second law of thermodynamics to explain the fundamental theories of branding.

Source : Dan Cobley: What physics taught me about marketing - Dan Cobley (2010) from TEDTalks ( Feed ) via Active Player

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hotmail is Better/Faster in Safari on Mac ??

Just watched Velocity 2010: Aladdin Nassar, "Worldwide Inventory of Last-mile Bandwidths & Network Latencies" on Active Player.


Source : Velocity 2010: Aladdin Nassar, "Worldwide Inventory of Last-mile Bandwidths & Network Latencies" from O'Reilly Velocity Conference ( Feed ) via Active Player

It is totally surprising to see that Hotmail is actually better/faster in Safari browser on the Mac than any browser/OS.

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( Source : PPT )

TEDTalks : The game layer on top of the world

Just watched Seth Priebatsch: The game layer on top of the world - Seth Priebatsch (2010) on Active Player.

By now, we're used to letting Facebook and Twitter capture our social lives on the web -- building a "social layer" on top of the real world. At TEDxBoston, Seth Priebatsch looks at the next layer in progress: the "game layer," a pervasive net of behavior-steering game dynamics that will reshape education and commerce.

Source : Seth Priebatsch: The game layer on top of the world - Seth Priebatsch (2010) from TEDTalks ( Feed ) via Active Player

TEDTalks: The beauty of data visualization

Just watched David McCandless: The beauty of data visualization - David McCandless (2010) on Active Player.

David McCandless turns complex data sets (like worldwide military spending, media buzz, Facebook status updates) into beautiful, simple diagrams that tease out unseen patterns and connections. Good design, he suggests, is the best way to navigate information glut -- and it may just change the way we see the world.

Source : David McCandless: The beauty of data visualization - David McCandless (2010) from TEDTalks ( Feed ) via Active Player

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wired : The Web Is Dead. Long Live The Internet

Chris Anderson and Wired offer yet another riveting conclusion (sounds like a prediction for some of us) that the Web as we know is dead as we are getting more and more connected on the internet with apps and devices.

You’ve spent the day on the Internet — but not on the Web. And you are not alone.

-- The Web Is Dead. Long Live Internet, Wired

I agree 100%, as it is just a fact for how I consume content on the internet. Almost (99%) everything I do on the internet is done through a custom application (mostly on iPhone and iPad) rather on the web.

Active Learning Suite

In fact the applications I have been building as part of Active Learning suite exemplify the same conclusion about web.  Active Player lets you enjoy and learn from your favorite videos and podcasts without ever visiting a single web page. If a website doesn’t offer an RSS Feed, you can create your own RSS Feed of any content available on the internet with Active Feeds and help the rest of the world updated without ever visiting the web.

Its not at all a surprise!

For me, this is not a surprise. Back in 2004-2005 the whole world was drumming about going to Web for everything and predicting that apps on desktops will be dead pretty soon (smart phones are still a luxury at that time and apps on mobile devices are not yet born).  I didn’t believe that it would happen. Instead, I believed that if we want the best, then they better be desktop apps but be connected on the net.

What we need is a smart desktop application or a browser plugin or a desktop widget that is totally integrated with an online application, its data storage and an online interface.

It would be better to create the best of both worlds when user interaction need to be essentially rich and needs ability to work offline (as neither online nor offline desktop alone can not take advantage of the situation) and also need all of that an online application offers.

--Why desktop apps will stay, 9/26/2006

With iPhone released in 2007 and App Store in 2008, apps created a thriving eco-system of its own and time for apps has just arrived, again.

And that is what happened. Rather than moving everything to the web to take advantage of the internet, we are in fact bringing everything on the internet to devices. 

When Netflix started offering streaming videos online, we may have watched them on our desktops or laptops. But now more and more people are watching those movies right on their TV sets and more recently started watching on their iPads. In fact, Netflix’s streaming service got lot more popular with their iPad application.

So, welcome back to apps. Rich, lively and intuitive. And musical, of course. On the web, there are no sound effects. Be it a desktop app or an app on your Mobile phone or on a special device.

Nicholas Carr - What the Internet is doing to our Brains

Listening now: Nicholas Carr - What the Internet is doing to our Brains on Active Player.

Dr. Moira Gunn sits down with author, Nicholas Carr, to discuss the weird, new, artificial world in which we now live, through the pages of his new book, The Shallows: What is the Internet Doing to Our Brains.

Source : Nicholas Carr - What the Internet is doing to our Brains from IT Conversations via Active Player

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tweet Button : Short but Readable URLs

While posting through TweetButton, Twitter translates your URL to a short URL, say in this example, http://active-player.inspions.com to http://t.co/0toCfbl.  This is all but normal.

But a nice improvement Twitter did was instead of just posting the short URL in the tweet, it posts a readable URL while still linking to the short URL.

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It totally cool improvement and makes tweets more readable.

Compare it with this following tweet of this very post, but using Google’s short URL.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Lifecycle of a Wireframe

Just watched Lifecycle of a Wireframe by Nick Finck on Active Player. Wonderful session.

Dive deep into the process used to create wireframes, a key deliverable for user experience designers. Hear about the principles that guide this process, how to create great wireframes (all the way down to the nitty-gritty page or screen level), and how to identify and deliver solutions that meet your clients' business goals and solve their problems. Walk away with a better understanding of what delivering awesome wireframes entails - from methodology, to process, to delivery - and how to do it yourself. If you're an information architect, interaction designer, visual designer, or regular old user experience-curious creature: this one's for you.

Source : Lifecycle of a Wireframe from MIX 2010 ( Feed ) via Active Player

While we can just start with a white paper and pencil to get started with wire-frames, We could also create great wireframes right in MS Power Point itself. You may download this  MS Power Point template for creating wonderful wireframes in Power Point.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Daniel Kahneman: The riddle of experience vs. memory

Just watched Daniel Kahneman: The riddle of experience vs. memory - Daniel Kahneman (2010) on Active Player.

Using examples from vacations to colonoscopies, Nobel laureate and founder of behavioral economics Daniel Kahneman reveals how our "experiencing selves" and our "remembering selves" perceive happiness differently. This new insight has profound implications for economics, public policy -- and our own self-awareness.

Source : Daniel Kahneman: The riddle of experience vs. memory - Daniel Kahneman (2010) from TEDTalks ( Feed ) via Active Player

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Trends : C# or VB.NET

There is a heated discussion going on at LinkedIn in .NET People's group about what is the most preferred .NET Programming Language : VB or C#.  I don't want to add fuel to the fire, but just wanted to point out search patterns for C# and VB.NET on Google. As usual, interpretation is left to you.

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Design Sense : Youtube and highly trained monkeys

Look at this funny error displayed by Youtube when some thing went wrong on the servers. Is Google referring to its developers as monkeys? or am I missing some joke?

“Sorry, something went wrong. A team of highly trained monkeys has been dispatched to deal with this situation. If you see them, show them this information :”

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Trends : ASP.NET MVC Vs Ruby on Rails (RoR)

While discussing about the trend charts of .NET Versions over lunch yesterday, the discussion led to ASP.NET MVC and how does it fare against Ruby On Rails (ROR). Ofcourse, we are just talking about Search Patterns here.  So here is the search Patterns chart between RoR and ASP.NET MVC.

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It is quite a surprising chart though. Try interpreting the chart and let us know your thoughts.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Riverside School : Infecting India With “I CAN”

 

Kiran Bir Sethi shows how her groundbreaking Riverside School in India teaches kids life's most valuable lesson: "I can." Watch her students take local issues into their own hands, lead other young people, even educate their parents.

Such a simple and inspiring motto : “One Idea. One Week. One Billion lives to change.”

India’s Rupee Gets Its Own Currency Symbol

The official Indian Currency, “Rupee” (INR) got its official currency Symbol now.

You can use it now on web pages all over. Look how the symbol looks on a typical webpage  Indian Rupee symbol.svg

Picture Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_rupee_sign

Saturday, July 17, 2010

ASP.NET Vs Ruby On Rails (RoR) : Now You Know ASP.NET MVC

Listen to this wonderful conversation between Scott Hanselman, Martin Fowler and David Heinemeier Hansson happened back in 2007 before we ever heard of ASP.NET MVC. Transcript here.

Scott sits down with Martin Fowler of Thoughtworks and David Heinemeier Hansson of 37 signals and talks about beauty, making developers happen, the death (or life) of HTML, the future of Microsoft, and asks if we should care about Rich Internet Applications. DHH is the creator of the Ruby on Rails framework, and Martin Fowler is the Chief Scientist at ThoughtWorks, well-known systems architect and Extreme Programming expert.

--- Hansel Minutes 

So delighted to see such a bold and open discussion between passionate developers with completely different backgrounds and ideas.

Some how, this podcast explains a lots of things that were introduced in ASP.NET after 2007. Not suggesting that this has anything to do with that, but probably things must have been already moving in that direction, part of that led to an open discussion like this.

It is totally surprising to see no comments on this podcast. But this is one of the best of conversations out there.

TDD : Quality Software Vs Healthy Software ( Kent Beck )

Listen to this wonderful presentation by Kent Beck on Developer Testing.

Kent Beck is widely recognized as the father of eXtreme Programming and JUnit. Kent's other contributions to software development include patterns for software, and the rediscovery of test-first programming.

He is the author/co-author of Extreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change 2nd Edition, Contributing to Eclipse, Test-Driven Development: By Example, Planning Extreme Programming, The Smalltalk Best Practice Patterns, and the JUnit Pocket Guide. He received his B.S. and M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Oregon. Source : Kent Beck on Developer Testing.

Trends : .NET 1.1, .NET 2.0, .NET 3.5 and .NET 4.0 Side by Side

Wondering which .NET version is the most popular version? Which .NET version got the most traction in the industry? Which version is the most discussed in the developer circles?

Well, I am not sure if we have any public data that could answer any of those questions, particularly the commercial adoption part. But I looked at trends of search engine traffic and I found that these trends tell a story that is quite consistent with general perception.

Look at the graph below illustrating the search trends of various .NET versions, captured from Google Trends. The story I believe is quite familiar to most .NET developers.

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I am not at all surprised to see .NET 1.1 still alive even in our searches, many companies are still running on .NET 1.1 and I guess haven’t found a compelling reason (that totally justify their investments) to upgrade.

You can also see from the snapshot below, Visual studio editions follow the suit more or less closely along with respective .NET versions.

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These graphs may not tell the whole story, but on their own they are quite revealing.

On a related note, you may be interested in some thoughts I captured about yet another .NET version in a post a while back:   How Excited Are Businesses About Yet Another Version Of A .NET Framework ? .

I will leave it up to you to read those graphs and interpret based on how much you know about the whole .NET eco system. Let me know if you are surprised in any way.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Why I Love Apple Even More Now

How many times in your whole life have you ever seen individuals or organizations admit their mistakes point blank without giving a spin or excuse?

Upon investigation, we were stunned to find that the formula we use to calculate how many bars of signal strength to display is totally wrong. Our formula, in many instances, mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength.

-- Letter from Apple regarding iPhone 4

And the letter confirms that gripping iPhone 4 in a specific way could hurt its reception and thought its a design issue of iPhone. But I didn’t know that its the same way for any other mobile phone.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Google Logo For the 4th of July 2010

Google's logo for the 4th of July with a Goldberg's machine (its also Rude Goldberg's birthday).

Saturday, July 3, 2010

99.949% of Comments Are Just Spam :-(

Have you ever wondered how much spam you may be receiving on your blog? Make it a point to look at it, you might appreciate the work done by systems and people that are helping to stop this spam like never before.

I have been using Akismet to help fighting with spam right from the moment I heard about it. Thanks a ton to Akismet, otherwise, I would have to manually moderate 235,193 spam comments on this blog.

Thank you so much, Team Akismet.

99.949% of comments received on this blog are spam. I am delighted that  Akismet could kill the spam and saved me and scared at the same to see so much spam.

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It is totally unnecessary to include this pie chart here, as you can guess, you can’t miss the point.  I put it any ways in case you haven’t read those numbers above.

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Looking at this scary % of legitimate comments, I was worried and looked at Akismet website to see how my blog fares to global average of all blogs Akismet currently protects. It seems, I am getting undue spam on my website.  Global average of spam is only about 83%, while it is 99.949% on my blog.

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It is quite mind boggling to see 16B spam comments were removed so far by Akismet. You can check live Stats from Akismet’s stats page. Here is a snapshot as of now:

Live Spam Zeitgeist

16,838,141,441 spams caught so far

1,974,905 so far today

83% of all comments are spam

Source : http://akismet.com/stats/ ( as of 07/03/2010 09.47PM US/Central)

A Modern History of Human Communication

Wonderful illustration of history of human communication by Google.

To put things in context, we created this infographic to visualize some recent history of human communication and how Google Voice uses the web to help people communicate in more ways than ever before.

Source: Google Voice Blog

10 Questions For Manoj Night Shyamalan

TIME’s interview (questions collected from TIME magazine’s readers) of Manoj Night Shyamalan, one of my favorite directors.

There are movies that anybody can make, and there are movies that are just meant to be made by Manoj. Such a unique talent, I just love his style.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Computer History Museum : The History of Our Future

Its a fact of life that "Our civilization runs on software", as Bjarne Stroustrup said a few years back.

Its no stretch to say, If we have to learn about any History, it must be the History of computers then. Learn how all this civilization began at Computer History Museum.

I still remember looking at punch cards and floppies and writing my first Program in Fortran back in College. And running those programs on the latest and greatest computers then, a 386. The world of computers and software has changed at a spectacular pace since then. I am glad, I am part of it in my own ways.

The Perfection Of Imperfection

In our time, many of us have been taught to strive for an insane  perfection that means nothing. To get wholeness, you must try instead to strive for this kind of perfection, where things that don’t matter are left rough and unimportant, and the things that really matter are given deep attention. This is a perfection that seems imperfect. But it is  a far deeper thing." 

- Christopher Alexander, Iconic and Legendary Architect and Author that  created The Pattern Language

It sounds so common sense, but unfortunately some of us just don't get it.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Active Learning : In Private Beta Now !!

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. -Gandhi

iump

An application to learn. A platform to share. For those, that loves to learn and inspired to teach.

In private beta now!.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Ananda Shankar Jayant : Conquering Cancer With Shakti

Indian culture and mythology is all about Metaphors. But, its quite rare to come across somebody that apply those teachings in real life, leave alone fight deadliest cancer with that power of metaphors.

Salute to her resolve and unflinching belief.

 

Renowned classical Indian dancer Ananda Shankar Jayant was diagnosed with cancer in 2008. She tells her personal story of not only facing the disease but dancing through it, and gives a performance revealing the metaphor of strength that helped her do it.

- TED Talks

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Lok Satta’s Jaya Prakash Narayan @ Google

One of my favorites and I believe is one of the best of contemporary leaders, Jaya Prakash Narayan was recently at Google and shared his thoughts. His ideology presented in a context that most NRIs and the world could easily understand, aptly named, “19th Century Politics and 21st Century Economics”. 

 

You may follow the speech with interactive transcript feature on the youtube site.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Apple Safari Reader : Sure, its the best way to read !

Apple Safari version 5 makes it easy on your eyes to read content on websites. It smartly figures out what is real content and just shows up that. And you can easily resize content and even print the content. Printing a webpage just with content, makes it my best feature of all. Its sure the best way to read content on the web.

The best way to read on the web.
Safari Reader instantly banishes those blinking and flashing ads that distract you from your online articles. Say you’re browsing your favorite news site. Safari can tell if you’re on a web page with an article. Simply click the Reader icon in the Smart Address Field, and the article — every page of it — instantly appears in a continuous, clutter-free view. Email, print, or zoom with a click using convenient onscreen controls. And if you change the size of the text, Safari remembers it the next time you view an article in Safari Reader.

- Apple

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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Walking on Water

Praja Rajyam and Chiranjeevi : We Are Same As Congress. A Real Identity Crisis?

Everybody knows what Chiranjeevi said before the elections in 2009 about Congress Party and TDP. Now Chiranjeevi says, Praja Rajyam Party is identical in principles to Congress party, so they will work together in upcoming Elections, even though they don’t merge. He will lend his friendly hand to Congress. How hilarious? All for one Rajya Sabha seat?

It confirms the once infamous news story that Eenadu.com ran a while ago, that Praja Rajyam party will close its shop and merge with Congress.  Praja Rajyam Party really thinks they are no different from Congress, or at least they hate TDP as much as Congress do. Also it appears, these talks of merger and alliances have been going on each time there is some kind of election.

It is clear, he is struggling to find an identify for himself and the party as it has been a total disaster at the poll booth and everything he did after that.

No principles. No core beliefs. Its just dancing to the wind.

  • Before Elections, Chiranjeevi said, his party has clearly understood Telangana Issue. Believes that Telanaga has been mis-treated and undeveloped so he supports statehood.
  • When Telangana agitation started, he was with them too.
  • But once, all his MLAs ditched to support Samaikhya Andhra (United Andhra), Chiranjeevi ditched “Telangana” too and started saying he will support Samaikhyandhra too.
  • He even started a tour of meeting all people fighting for Samaikhyandhra.
  • And then he started a bus tour to give National Status to Polavaram project. I seriously don’t know what that means. Congress has already initiated the long waited project.
  • Now, he wants to contest for Rajya Sabha. Everybody knows it is just wishful thinking.
  • Most of his political life, he and his party criticized Congress party saying it is corrupt and Gunda’s party with no social justice concept as it is predominantly Reddy’s party.
  • Got an invitation from Sonia Gandhi. Chiranjeevi hoped that he can pressure Congress somehow and get one Rajya Sabha seat. Instead, Sonia told him to quit from contesting for Rajya Sabha. Totally hilarious. Even after all this, he don’t get it.

So, what is really Chiranjeevi believe in. What are principles, if there are any (any more)? Total BS.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Google Fonts : Free And Designer Fonts For The Web

Thanks to Google, now any web developer can have stylish designer Fonts on their web pages. As simple as including a <link> tag to a CSS file hosted on Google’s servers.

For a long time, the web has lagged print and even other electronic media in typographic sophistication. To enjoy the visual richness of diverse fonts, webmasters have resorted to workarounds such as baking text into images. Thanks to browser support for web fonts, this is rapidly changing. Web fonts, enabled by the CSS3 @font-face standard, are hosted in the cloud and sent to browsers as needed.

Google has been working with a number of talented font designers to produce a varied collection of high quality open source fonts for the Google Font Directory. With the Google Font API, using these fonts on your web page is almost as easy as using the standard set of so-called “web-safe” fonts that come installed on most computers.

The Google Font API provides a simple, cross-browser method for using any font in the Google Font Directory on your web page. The fonts have all the advantages of normal text: in addition to being richer visually, text styled in web fonts is still searchable, scales crisply when zoomed, and is accessible to users using screen readers

Tweet Of The Day : RoR and ASP.NET MVC

Here is the tweet of the day. I have no clue what .NET developers think of Ruby on Rails (ROR), until now. (:-))

I don't see what the big deal is about ruby on rails. It's basically a clone of asp.net mvc 

via Twitter

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Ha ha!

Ken Robinson : Education and Agriculture

Education system, like agriculture ought to be customized, nourished and organic. 

In this poignant, funny follow-up to his fabled 2006 talk, Sir Ken Robinson makes the case for a radical shift from standardized schools to personalized learning -- creating conditions where kids' natural talents can flourish.

Friday, May 7, 2010

What is the Biggest Challenge For Programmers?

This video was recorded about 6 years back in 2004 on MSDN Channel 9, where Eric Gunnerson was talking about challenges for Programmers then, around 2004. One of the biggest challenge used to be about keeping up with the pace of technology around you. Not surprisingly, I feel, nothing has changed since then. It is still one of the biggest challenges programmer face.

Ask any .NET developer what do they think about .NET 4.0 and a whole range of other new stuff released this year alone, you can feel the overwhelming anxiety. They are more confused and I should say more scared at the pace of .NET platform evolution, than before. Not surprising at all.

Link to the Video here. Don’t forget read comments on that page.

There are a couple of important aspects  in those comments. Here are some excerpts from the comments:

  • It is a good philosophical observation about the way people work when they're abstracted away from semantics, and I think we're seeing now what was originally intended; save your time to worry about the bigger issues.
  • The rate of change is indeed a problem. And it is constantly accelerating.

  • Will development become something you get into after getting your college degree and after 10 years you will have to "retire" to another profession? Or maybe the cost and effort of acquiring the necessary skills will be so high in comparison to the time you have to leverage it, that it won't even be economical - and it will all be outsourced?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Getting Real With .NET : How .NET Developers See It ?

Source : darkgreyindustries.com , thanks to Arvind for the tip

How Excited Are Businesses About Yet Another Version Of A .NET Framework ?

Just a few days back (on 12th, April 2010 precisely) Visual Studio 2010 was released along with .NET 4.0.  While most of the .NET developers are excited to see an improved version of .NET framework and itching to try the latest and greatest of all, it is totally a different ball game for businesses, for they prefer  and wish a stable framework that doesn’t change, well, forever. As every new version comes with a new set of challenges and often hit bottom lines pretty hard.

A new version is always quite an expensive proposition

Its not at all a surprising fact that even today most businesses are running their business applications on .NET 1.1 or even some still run on classic ASP. Because, more often than not, upgrading to a new version proves to be quite expensive and doesn’t offer enough benefits or improvements that justify the cost of upgrade.

  • A new version comes about once in a year. If not a new version altogether, a new SP that fixes a whole bunch of bugs and security issues. The frequency of these updates alone is a big issue to manage.
  • Though new versions are often faster than earlier versions, you may have to upgrade your hardware resources to really squeeze enough juice out of those new versions to make sense.
  • Even with the possibility of running multiple versions side-by-side, upgrading to a new version is never easy for businesses, as often new versions are not completely backward compatible.
  • If there are 3rd party libraries are used in those applications, businesses may have to upgrade those 3rd party libraries as well. New versions, often bundled with a laundry list of new features (mostly not useful at all) comes with a price as well.
  • Though, .NET framework itself supports side-by-side execution, more often that not, running different versions of tools is a nightmare. Since not every application can be migrated at once, most enterprises must support co-existence of multiple versions of these tool sets for a long time, living through one night mare by another.
  • If Businesses do not upgrade, then there is an issue of support. For instance, Microsoft and 3rd Party vendors may cede support to older versions and force to upgrade. And, it may not be easy and good on account books to find developers who can support older versions.

On the other side of the coin

Its true that a new version is may be a better one than the earlier. Some times a faster, more secure and significantly improved. Some times, a new version even enable new business models, opportunities and much better ways to solve business problems. The truth of the matter is though, most businesses have already developed systems with existing toolset itself to leverage new market opportunities.

And its not just an issue with Microsoft, .NET Framework or Visual Studio. Upgrading any software is an issue and hit bottom lines for most businesses.  Its even the same story in the consumer space. For instance, iPhone OS 4.0 will not be supported on the first generation 2G iPhone, forcing to upgrade to a newer version. Everybody is well aware of the story of Windows Vista.

It will be a tough decision for stake holders to make a call to upgrade. But as we all know, it must be done at some point. I wish, we will have a stable release, for at least 3-4 years. No SPs, No new versions of frameworks, tools or any other component.

But we all know quite well, how it works.

Cute Message : Its Probably Matt’s Fault

Trying to download a Wordpress plugin and saw this cute error thrown by Wordpress. When something doesn’t work in software, you often get annoyed and may well get infuriated some times. But errors like this immediately put a smile on your face and let you forget all the hassle you have been going through. More over, you are more likely to love the software, a bit more than ever.

Goshdarnit!

Something has gone wrong with our servers. It’s probably Matt’s fault. We’ve just been notified of the problem. Hopefully this should be fixed ASAP, so kindly reload in a minute and things should be back to normal.

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Yet another reason to love Wordpress.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Watch IPL Semifinal and Finals LIVE on YouTube Free !!

Cricket Lovers, here is a great news. You can now watch IPL semi-final and Finals on Youtube LIVE for FREE.

Willow TV’s Announcement on the Offer

As part of Willow TV's continued efforts to bring widespread exposure to the sport of cricket in North America, we have partnered with YouTube to bring the Indian Premier League 2010 semi finals and finals live on YouTube. These matches will be available live and free of cost starting on April 21, 2010, at http://www.youtube.com/ipl. The matches will be available in the same high quality streaming experience available from http://www.willow.tv. This is the first of many other such initiatives from Willow TV to popularize cricket in North America, with a particular focus on highly entertaining Twenty20 format. Please stay tuned to Willow TV for many more exciting announcements in the near future!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Thought Garage : My Books, Social and Business Ideas

Thought Garage is my personal blog featuring seemingly ramblings and dabblings, but otherwise quite invaluable insights. About software, India, technology, politics and Entrepreneurship. And a little bit about how the world could be a better place if it ever listens to what I say.

Here are some thought lines that I have been working on for some time, which are set to be released as Books:

  • The Road Not Yet Taken : My tray of Ideas/thoughts on how to make Democracy in India really work.
  • The Off-beat Investing : An accidental investor’s game plan of making sense and money using often written off investing strategies/tips/tricks.
  • In-Vested Interests: Thoughts on how capitalism influences human behavior.
  • The Silver Lining : Getting real with developing Cloud Applications.
  • Steps.NET : Strategies for Winning in the market place and realizing Career aspirations with .NET Technologies

Here are some of my social and/or business Ideas that ever sprung into life. Luckily, some of them were already realized while I am still pursuing most of the rest. Will add more information about each idea shortly so that anybody interested can pursue or join.

  • Life Style Boutiques from Amazon Products
  • Topic based community groups ( Business Week Business Exchange )
  • Cellular Life Styles with Carrier/Device based Tracking and News
  • Desi Business Exchange
  • Partyly : event management with families at heart
  • Desi Business hotline
  • Live Streaming Production Networks
  • Pervasive Notification System
  • Political Action Groups/yes to politics
  • India in Numbers : Visualize data related to India
  • India in action : How government works, system, budgets : Watch dog, documentation, video etc.
  • National Debate Club/Championships
  • National Sports League to promote a variety of sports
  • Riddler/Challenger : Facebook apps
  • Google Apps Reseller
  • Cooking Show by friends
  • A specialty TV Show that inspires generations rather than tv/soaps.
  • Face to face debates in Indian political system
  • National Opinion Gauge/Polls
  • Business Exchange for Indian businesses
  • School in a box : Video/Computer based systems with global teaching force
  • Doctor in a box
  • Personalized/Prescribed Lunch Box
  • Personalized Trainer/coach
  • Hostel for IT employees
  • Investment Group for hedge fund/VC investments
  • Help a Parent
  • Multi-media communication system for non-english speakers
  • ClipShare : create and share clips of media (Media Bookmarks)
  • Crowdsourcing of Problem solving for enterprises
  • Training capsules
  • SmartHire : Candidate Evaluation System
  • Job board with microsites for companies and candidates
  • Digital Media site like iTunes for Indian Music/Video/Movies : Legal purchases
  • Political watchdog/Economic policy watch dog/Political commentary/Issue based commentary
  • documenting resources/avenues in each state in India
  • Political talk show
  • Picture Printing in India : Direct print to homes all across.

(Sharing now, inspired from a conversation I had with a friend.)

NDTV.com : Fact or Allegation ? Just another twisted title for sensationalism

This is yet another example of NDTV.com’s sensationalism twisted titles. The title says, as if this was a fact, woman made to urinate in pub...